Saturday, February 6, 2010

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel and why is it important? The word Gospel means, "good news". It comes from the Greek word, 'euangelion', which is where we get our word for evangelism. Evangelism is preaching the good news. If there is good news, then there must first be bad news, or else the good news really would not be good news, would it? Well, before we figure out what the good news really is, lets talk about the bad news. Throughout history, God has been revealing Himself to human beings and His workings are recorded in our Bible. Throughout the time period of what we call the 'Old Testament', God made promises to mankind about someone He would send to us that would redeem us. God tells us what He is like and what He expects out of us. The problem is that we could never reach that expectation. When Moses was living, God gave him what is known as the 10 Commandments. Actually, there were about 613 laws that God gave to people at that time, but we will focus on the 10 Commandments. They help us to understand about God's character and nature. For example, God tells us we should not lie. God cannot lie. Well, it would be pretty hard to find a person who hasn't lied, or been deceitful at some time in their lives. He tells us not to commit adultery, or murder. We cannot covet (desiring things that other people have or their status, etc.). How about taking God's name in vain? God will not hold that person guiltless if he or she has taken His name in vain (using it without any purpose or as a cuss word). How about God being our first love and priority 24/7? That's what the first Commandment is about. Have we always loved God perfectly all the time, throughout our lives? What about creating an idea of what we want God to be like, or making a god to fit our own desires and preferences? That's covered in the second Commandment. And then there is the Commandment that tells us to honor our father and mother. Who has done that perfectly all his or her life? If that isn't enough, we find in the book of Proverbs some things that God considers abominations, like pride, murder and lying lips. Then when we go to the New Testament, Jesus expounds on some of the variations of breaking the 10 Commandments. One of them has to do with committing adultery. He said that if we look at a person that we are not married to, with lustful intent, we have committed adultery in our hearts. He covered slander, hatred (which is considered murder) and pride, along with several other things that make us unclean. Jesus also made it clear that each person will give an account of every idle word that he or she has spoken. What we say reveals what's in our hearts! We could go on and on with this, but here is the point; every day we live out our lives and we fall short of God's glory each day. God calls this 'sin'. Breaking a Commandment is sin, but also failing to do good and right in every situation is sin. Sin requires a payment. That payment is death. Whenever we sin, something has to die. In the days of the Old Testament people, they would offer a sacrifice, usually a lamb, to cover their sin. How many times would you have to offer a lamb because of your sin? This is really bad news. The priest who was in charge of the sacrifices was continually at work because people always had to bring sacrifices to cover their sin (note: this covering did not take away their sin. More on that later.) The sacrifices that were required are a picture of what God was going to do about our sin. Many prophecies were made about a special person who was to come. He would give sin a death blow and would win over Satan, the one who is always tempting us into sin. This person came about 2000 years ago, and did exactly what the Bible said He would do. He came and lived a perfect, sinless life. He never broke any of the 10 Commandments, which made it possible for Him to become the Lamb of God, that was offered one time for our sin. When He was on the cross, God the Father put all of your sin and my sin on Jesus. He died a terrible death. Not only was it physically painful, but the pain of being separated from His Father was unimaginable. But this would have to be in order for us to be able to be pardoned for our sins against a holy God. Notice how many times Jesus is referred to as the Lamb. Now we don't have to sacrifice lambs when we sin. That is good news! We can trust in God's only Son, and what He did on the Cross to pay for our sin. The payment has been made and now we can go free. Of course, we can know all about this and still die in our sin. That would be terrible. God calls us to repentance, which is turning from our selfish ways, and letting go of our sin, and He also calls us to trust in Him. We turn from our sin and turn to God. The good news is that we don't have to die in our sins anymore. The Bible tells us that the person who has the Son has life. The person that doesn't have the Son doesn't have life. Also, the person who believes in the Son has life, but the person who rejects the Son does not have life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Please consider the Gospel and put your trust in the Savior. He rose from the dead on the third day after he was killed, and will come back to earth to take those who belong to Him to be with Him forever. The people who are left on earth with suffer without any more chance to repent and be saved. They will be judged for their sins and will pay for them eternally in hell. Now we can understand why this is called the good news! Please consider the good news that I have shared with you. If you have any questions or if you don't have a Bible, please let me know.