Godspell: God’s Good News, Part 2
Yesterday we noted that the gospel, God’s good news, is not a message about religion but, first of all, it is a message about God. Second, it is a message about mankind’s weakness; that is, his sin.
Third, the gospel is a message about Jesus Christ. God is not only a God of absolute holiness, but also a God of perfect justice. Because of this, all sin has to be judged, and as God’s Word says, “The wages [penalty] of sin is death,”5 which, as already noted, is not the cessation of one's existence, but eternal separation from a holy God, the creator and author of all love and life, in the place the Bible calls “hell.” The reality is that if God didn’t judge sin—all sin—he wouldn’t be just, and he wouldn’t be a holy God.
Mercifully for us, the gospel is not only about God being a God of absolute holiness and perfect justice, but also about God being a God of infinite love. Because of God's infinite love for us, he gave his own Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty (wages of sin), which is death, and he did this for every one of us.
To do this, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, temporarily laid aside his “external garments” as it were, and came to earth in the form of a man, and willingly died in our place on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for all our sins. Furthermore, because Jesus was without sin, he was the only one qualified to die to pay the penalty for mankind’s sins. Had there been any other way to save mankind, Jesus would not have had to die for us.
Fourth (and finally), the gospel is a summons to faith and repentance. The really good news is that God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life is available to all who will accept it. Here's how to do this:
- We need to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"6 declares the Word of God.
- We need to confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness. God's Word also says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."7
- We need to repent. That is, we need to turn from sinful and selfish ways to follow God and his ways. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news."8 That is, we need to turn from sinful and selfish ways and make a commitment of the will, with God's help, to follow God and his ways.
- We need to receive Jesus as our Savior. God's Word says, "To all who received him [Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."9 God's Word also said, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."1
Admitting and confessing your sins, believing that Jesus died to pay the just penalty for all your sins, inviting Jesus Christ into your life to be your Lord and Savior, accepting God's forgiveness, and turning from sinful ways to live God's way is what makes you a real Christian. This is what Godspell—God's good news is all about!
Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door [of your heart and life] and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."11
If you have never invited Jesus into your heart and life, asked for God's forgiveness, and made a commitment of your life to him, I would like to give you that opportunity today. The following prayer will help you to do this:
"Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the sins and wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Please forgive me for all my sins. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life and will to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be, and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, Amen."
1. Romans 1:16 (NIV). 2. John 3:16 (NIV). 3. John 10:10 (TLB). 4. Romans 3:23. 5. Romans 6:23. 6. Acts 16:31 (NIV). 7. 1 John 1:9 (NIV). 8. Mark 1:15 (NIV). 9. John 1:12 (NIV). 10. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV). 11. Revelation 3:20 (NIV).