What is the Gospel?Questions that Matter
Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures… he was raised the third day according to the Scriptures.
— 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Can you think of anything more important than knowing your Creator and that he is pleased with you?
Did you know that your Creator has placed demands on you?
Did you know that he holds you accountable to him?
Did you know that you are responsible to obey him in all things?
Did you know that for disobedience to God you will be condemned?
These hard realities of life are faced and addressed fully in the gospel — the happy message about Jesus Christ.
We have all sinned against God our Creator, and for these crimes we already stand condemned. Sentence is not carried out in this life, but we are already condemned. This is what God tells us in his Word, the Bible.
“The wages of sin is death.”
But the good news is that God has made a way for us to escape judgment. Jesus Christ, God the Son, came into the world as a man. As a true human being he became subject to his own law, and he lived under that law perfectly. He never transgressed it at any point. He always did all that the law of God requires.
Then he offered himself in sacrifice to God as the sinner’s substitute. That is, he died in place of sinners, paying in full the penalty they had incurred by their sin. In his death on a Roman cross of execution he was forsaken of God, bearing the curse of sin. As a true human being he stood in the place of sinners. And as God his sacrifice is of infinite worth. Although he had never sinned, he offered himself to God in behalf of sinners and died as the sinner’s substitute.
Then he was buried. And on the third day he rose from the dead having exhausted sin’s curse.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
“He bore our sins in his body on the tree.”
(1 Peter 2:24)
“He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification.”
And this is the good news — Jesus Christ is the sinner’s savior!
How then can you be rescued from your sin against God? God tells us that it is only through Jesus Christ, for only he has lived perfectly before God, and only he has paid the penalty of sin.
Did you know that there is nothing you can do to make yourself acceptable to God? That’s right. You have sinned, and nothing can change that fact. If you would reform your life dramatically, this fact would remain — you are guilty before God. There is nothing you can do to make yourself acceptable to God. It’s too late.
The fact is, you need help. You need someone to rescue you from your sin. You need someone who can stand before God on your behalf. And this is precisely what Jesus Christ came to do — he came to take the place of sinners so that they might be saved. You, the sinner, can never please God. But Christ has done for us what we can never do for ourselves.
But this rescue is available only on his terms. But do you know what those terms are? These are the terms: you must humbly receive it as a free gift. That’s right. It’s free! There is nothing you can ever do to earn it. The Lord Jesus Christ has done all the work himself. Salvation from sin is now offered freely to those who will come humbly to the Lord Jesus and receive it freely from his hand.
The Bible calls this faith. We come to God trusting only in Jesus Christ, not ourselves. We do not come to God pleading our own virtue. We are sinners! Coming to God pleading our virtues, we will never make it. We may come to God only as we renounce all self-help and trust only in the Lord Jesus, the only savior for sinners.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on him.”
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord
shall be saved.”
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —
not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Now of course this faith in Jesus Christ has implications. When we come to him to be saved from sin, we must turn away from our sin. The Bible calls this repentance. God does not tell us that we must become sinless in order to be saved. But he does tell us that we must renounce our sin and trust in Christ. He will not save you so that you may sin freely. No, but he will save you from your sin.
“Except you repent, you too will perish.”
Please consider this carefully, because many are tripped by the simplicity of the gospel offer. Instinctively we seem to believe that we must contribute somehow to our own rescue. We assume that our own merit or virtue must somehow come into play if we are to be saved. But no, the good news is this: all that God requires of us has been done for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. We may be saved freely if we will turn from our sin and humbly rest in him — and in him alone.
Have you been rescued from your sin? Did you think you could rescue yourself? Did you think you could do something to help? Did you think that you would survive the day of judgment on your own?
The gospel of Jesus Christ offers you salvation freely in Jesus Christ. Turn away from your sin, and trust in him today.
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God!”
(2 Corinthians 5:20)