What is the Gospel?

Writing Prompt: In your own words, explain the Gospel to a non-believer.

This was more difficult to complete than I realized! Despite my experience in children’s ministry, I stared at my blank screen in discomfort. How can I put this in my own words? It was a thought-provoking exercise to write it out, then spend time in God’s word making sure what I was Biblical accurate. Here is the result of my inadequate, late- night meanderings!  

The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sin, but what does that mean? The Bible is the Word of God revealed through His Holy Spirit, so it contains no mistakes. The truth found in scripture can be seen in the world around us and is evident throughout history! To me, God’s Word gives the best explanation for our origins, gives life meaning, dictates morality, and reveals our destiny.

God is the only supreme, Holy entity outside of time, and He created the universe and everything in it. He created human beings in His image, higher than the animals. Because He is triune (Father, Son, and Spirit), He is relational, and we were created for perfect communion with Him. All creation was perfect, with no death or pain. He gave the first humans (Adam and Eve) free will. He placed the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden of Eden and commanded they should not eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Satan, the fallen angel, tempted them to eat of it anyway so they could gain the knowledge of God. With their free will, they willingly gave into that temptation. This was the first sin- disobedience toward God. When sin entered the world, a curse covered on the universe. Death and pain became the norm. Perfect communion was broken between God and humanity. Since then, every human is born under the curse of sin. No person’s innate nature is good, and our punishment is eternal separation from God.

Because we are created in God’s image, any human is capable of contributing good and beautiful works to this dark world. However, these good works are not good enough to pay the penalty and lift the curse. This is why after Adam and Eve were cursed, God immediately gave a promise that He would one day send a Savior for humanity. The Old Testament is the story of how God interacts with His chosen Jewish people, teaches them the moral law, and foreshadows the coming Messiah Savior. The prophecies detail how all humanity would have the opportunity of salvation through the Jewish Messiah. The New Testament shows us that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He was 100% God and 100% man, the “second Adam.” 2,000 years ago, He was born of the virgin Mary, God in flesh. He lived a sinless life but died a torturous death by crucifixion to pay the penalty for sin: past, present, and future. He conquered death by resurrecting 3 days later and appeared to many witnesses. He later ascended into heaven and reigns on the right hand of God the Father to this day. Jesus will return one day to restore this broken world and defeat Satan forever. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to live inside all who confess their sin and believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has allowed all humanity to accept his salvation and lordship. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation, it is a gift freely given and undeserved. Even though we are born selfish, born into rebellion against a Holy God, He loves us and wants to restore communion with us. If we die without repenting (turning away) from our sins and accepting that gift, we will forever be separated from God in eternal hell.

Romans 10:9 ESV says “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Jesus was a real person, God in the flesh. During His life, he claimed to be God, claimed to be the promised Messiah. You either believe He was who He said He was, or you think He was a madman. You cannot believe he was “just a good teacher.” You cannot try to “balance the scales” by doing more good in your life than bad and trust that “whatever god is out there” will accept all people who try to be “good.”

Humans are made in God’s image, so we are triune in a way: body, spirit, soul. Once you accept Christ, your sin is forgiven and your soul is sealed for eternity. You cannot do anything to make Him change that. However, we still live in a broken world and your spirit and body are capable of sin. As the Holy Spirit guides believers through life, our spirit is constantly sanctified (becoming more like Christ.) Our bodies are subject to the curse of pain and death, but one day he will redeem our physical bodies by giving us new, sinless ones. Jesus says in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

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