The Gospel

  The Gospel  
God Created All Things.
 
The Bible teaches that God is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-3), and when He finished His work of creation He pronounced it “very good” (Gen. 1:29), that is without sin - both among the angels and man. God also reveals to us that He created man “in His own image, male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). Therefore, man was set apart from all the rest of creation and uniquely made to reflect God’s glory by displaying God’s character of moral holiness (1 Pet. 1:17), exercising rule over creation (Ps. 8), and with the wondrous ability to know God personally (John 17:3), glorify Him through obedience (John 14:15), and thus to have a relationship with Him (Rom. 8:15). 
Man Rejected God as Creator. 
 

     God gave man a command, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). The purpose of this command was so that man could exercise obedience and trust in Him; the consequence of disobedience was death - separation from God. 
 
     Man rejected God’s way and chose to go his own way, walk in his own wisdom, and be his own authority. Just as Satan became proud and was thrown out of heaven (Is. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:13-18), so man committed the same sin by rejecting complete worship and submission to God, who supplied them with every good thing, and instead sought to serve themselves.
Man Chose to Believe a Lie, and died.
 
     Satan first deceived man by casting doubt on God’s Word, “God did not really say ... did He?” (Gen. 3). Next he simply denied God’s Word as not being true, “You surely will not die!” (Gen. 3). Finally, he introduced the death blow of deception and said, “God knows that in the day that you eat of it you shall be like God” (Gen. 3). Man believed Satan’s lie, was seduced by his own lust to be equal with God, disobeyed, and so introduced sin and death into the world (Rom. 5:12). Man began to die physically (Gen. 5:1-32), died to God spiritually (Eph. 2:1-3), and was in danger of death eternally (Rev. 20:14-15), separated from God forever. Perfect fellowship with God was over (Gen. 3:8, 23). 
 
God’s Wrath Now Abides on Man. 
 
     Now instead of enjoying and glorifying God man is born with a nature of sin and rebellion to God and seeks to live his life outside of God’s glory and God’s authority. The same creation that reveals God’s glory (Ps. 19:1-3) now acts as condemnation against men for their failure to honor and glorify God. Now God’s favor does not rest on men, but His anger,“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” It is not that man cannot understand, or that God has not made it clear, it is that man is so enslaved and committed to their sin (“ungodliness and unrighteousness”) that they “suppress the truth” and seek to ignore it and hide it so that they can hold onto their rebellion. 
 
     “Because that which is known about God is evident within them ... for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what had been made, so that they are without excuse.” Every person alive is accountable to God and “without excuse” for not honoring Him as God the Creator, to whom they should submit. Every day of experiencing God’s stay of wrath while living in rebellion is only increasing the guilt and judgment (Rom. 2:4-5)
Man’s Religion shows Their Rebellion. 
 
     But what about all the religions in the world? Don’t they prove that man is really trying to know God? The answer is, “No!” Actually, religion does not show how spiritually perceptive man is but how rebellious they are! “For even though they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools ... for they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever” (Rom. 1:21-25).  
 
     Man’s religion simply proves that they know God exist, but they choose to re-define Him, according to their own image; according to their own foolish imagination. Instead of honoring God, acknowledging His glory in creation, looking to him for grace because of their sin (Rom. 2:14-15), we make Him like us; but instead of submitting to Him they redefine Him to fit their own foolish imaginations. For this reason, God’s wrath abides on men all men who suppress the truth because of their love of sin. So religion cannot make a person right with God.
 
Man’s Good Works Show Their Rebellion.
 
But what about being good and doing what is right, even trying to obey the Ten Commandments? James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” If for arguments sake you lived a perfectly sinless life - never sinning even once - and then committed just one “little” sin you have become guilty of breaking the whole thing! Why? Because God is absolutely holy, and even one sin is an attack on His perfect purity and holiness (Habakkuk 1:13). 
 
Galatians 3:10 tells us, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” Therefore, Jesus Christ said, “you are to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).  If you want to get to heaven by being good enough, then you have to be as perfect as God, even Jesus Christ Himself! God will accept nothing less. Good works to be right with God is self-deception and rebellion because it rejects God’s perfect standard and creates a new one - a false righteousness (Rom. 3:10-13; 10:1-3).
God Hates and Punishes All Sin. 
 
God hates sin and cannot allow it into His presence. Sin attacks God’s holiness. Sin is lawlessness, hostility, and rebellion against God, and would seek to dethrone God Himself if it could, just as Satan tried to do and now even fallen man attempts to do (1 John 3:4). Therefore God will punish every sin ever committed in a place called hell; this is the second death. God describes it as a place where the “smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever” (Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:11-15).  It is utter separation from God, a place of eternal torment where every unrepentant sinner and fallen angel is condemned to suffer forever - time without end - for their rebellion to God and refusal to submit to Him. How great is God’s wrath against sin? So great that only an eternity of pouring it out on unrepenting and unbelieving sinners can satisfy Him. 
God Punished Another - God the Son. 
 
This is the future of all men in their natural condition apart from the work of God. But then what can man do to be right with God? Nothing. Man can do nothing at all to make himself right with God (Rom. 3:10-12). But what you cannot do, God did by sending His Son, eternal God, second member of the Trinity, who took on human flesh, “who although He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He humbled Himself and took on the form of man, and being found in appearance as man He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). 
 
Just as the Holy Spirit said, through the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before Christ came to earth, “He was pleased to crush Him, if He would render Himself as a guilt offering ... as a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:1-12). Jesus’ death and suffering satisfied God’s wrath against sin; Jesus Christ’ righteousness satisfied God’s requirement of holiness. This is why Jesus Christ is the only way and no one can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6; Acts); because He alone satisfied God’s wrath against sin, and He alone has the perfect righteousness that every person needs to stand before God without judgment. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we may become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). 
 
The price Jesus Christ paid for the debt of sinners was not just physically dying, it was that while on the cross He actually bore all of God’s righteous anger and wrath against every sin of every sinner who would ever repent. What happened on that cross is in some ways an infinitely profound mystery, but what can be known is that it was enough to satisfy God’s wrath against the sin of all who come to Him with repentant faith. God’s wrath will be satisfied. Either in hell for eternity on all the unrepentant, or it was satisfied on the cross by Jesus Christ, for every one who comes to Him burdened by their sin and desires to know God, no matter what it cost. 
Why Did God Do It? 
 
Did God the Father crush the Son to show how valuable we really are? No! He did it “to demonstrate His own love, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:6-8). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ does not show us how valuable we are, just the opposite; it shows us how incredibly merciful and gracious and glorious God is; it puts the greatness of His holy love on display precisely because we are so profoundly wicked and unworthy. The gospel is about the glory of God (Rom. 11:33-36). Praise be to God through Jesus Christ! His love is perfect, complete, and available to all who come to Him, burdened with their sin, and desiring eternal life and eternal fellowship with the one true and Living God (Matt. 11:28-30)!
What Is Your Eternal Existence Worth? 
 
He then goes on to say, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Picture this: you can have everything this world has to offer - the sum total of everything in this world is yours - sex, money, popularity, power, influence, ease of life, comfort, anything you can think of, without limit. Then you die and you stand before a personal, infinite, and perfectly holy God and directly behind Him is the entrance into eternity; it is right before your eyes. You are only seconds from entering your eternal state - the place where you will consciously and physically exist forever. Your eyes are starring directly into the black abyss of hell and the bright joy of heaven. What, at that moment, would you give in exchange for your eternal soul and forgiveness of sin? You would give up everything; and that is exactly what Christ calls for and now is your chance. 
 
When you die, and you will die (Heb. 9:27), and stand before God with eternity before you, and you will stand before God - at that moment just described, it is to late. Your eternity has already been decided. You will have no second chance. This is why God says, “If today you hear His voice, do not harden your heart,” for you do not know that tomorrow will come. Now is the day of salvation. This very moment is the time of repentance. God is giving you a gracious warning and the opportunity to repent, and that opportunity may not come again. 
What Do I Gain? 
 
But what will you gain? Heaven. Forgiveness of all your sin - past, present, and future. The promise of living forever with Jesus Christ worshipping Him with every other person who has ever repented of their sin and trusted in God’s promise of grace. “For by grace you have been saved by faith, and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not a result of works lest any man should boast.” You gain the assurance that when you stand before God you will be found “blameless with great joy,” because you will be found covered in the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ! You gain eternity of perfect joy, perfect peace, worship of God in His presence absolutely unhindered by sin, enjoying Him and loving Him and experiencing the lavish riches of His grace forever and ever (Eph. 2:7). 
 
You gain everything. You gain Jesus Christ. You gain God and a perfectly restored relationship with Him that can never and will never change! It is a relationship that begins now when you turn to Him to trust, love, worship, and serve Him in faith. You get the first taste of the joys of salvation that will be perfectly realized after death when you stand in His presence, forgiven, blameless with great joy. This is the good news. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.