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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

God's Good News

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."1

The word "gospel" means good news—the Good News of God's salvation, without which mankind would be doomed for eternal damnation and separation from God, the author of all love and life.

But why is the gospel God's Good News?

First, the gospel is not a message about religion but a message about God's eternal love and purpose for all mankind. Religion wants to fix us from the outside in. God wants to fix us from the inside out. The first can become an impossible burden. The latter is what brings freedom.

Also, it's important to realize that no matter what we have ever done or have failed to do God loves us with an everlasting love and has a wonderful purpose for our lives—for this life and the next! As Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."2 And again, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."3

Second, the gospel is a message about sin, something we are all guilty of. As the Bible says, "We have all sinned and fallen short of God's standard."4 Sin, however, is not only doing harmful acts. It is anything that falls short of the standard of perfection that God envisioned for us. This includes unforgiveness, pride, jealousy, mixed motives, etc. Most of us, too, are guilty of sins of omission; that is, not doing what we know we should and could do.5

However, a common misconception about God is that he is out to punish us for our sins. The fact is we bring sin's punishment on ourselves because sin has its own natural consequences. If we try to break the universal law of gravity, for instance, we can't. It will break us. Neither can we break God's universal moral law. When we try to, it breaks us. And besides its painful effects in this life—suffering, sorrow, sadness, sickness and spiritual death—its ultimate and tragic consequence is eternal death and separation from God.6

Third, the gospel is a message about God's remedy. Because sin has separated or disconnected us from God, we have been left with a "God-shaped" vacuum or spiritual emptiness within. As St. Augustine put it, "You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you." The world's many religions are all evidence of man's endless search to find God and fill this vacuum. However, because God loves us so much, he sent his own sinless son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our predicament.7 Christ did this by dying on the cross in our place to pay the consequence of and ransom price for our sins—death. Thus, Jesus Christ is God's only provision for our sin. He is the only way back to God and the only door to eternal life.8

Finally, the gospel is a summons to faith and repentance. If you were found guilty of a serious crime and were condemned to death, would you accept a free unconditional pardon, if offered? Because Jesus Christ died on the cross in our place, God now offers you complete acquittal, forgiveness, and the gift of eternal life. All you need to do is confess and repent of your sinfulness, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for your sins, and invite him into your life as Savior and Lord.

The following prayer will help you do this. "Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs I have done. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me for all my sins and I invite You, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Savior and Lord. I commit and trust my life to You. Please give me the desire to be what You want me to be and the desire to do what You want me to do. Thank You for dying for my sins, for Your forgiveness and free pardon, for Your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

If you prayed this prayer and genuinely meant it, please let us know by clicking on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php and we will send you a free copy of the eBrochure, How to Grow.

NOTE: This article is condensed from, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian (without having to be religious)" on our ACTS web site at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.

1. Romans 1:16 (NIV).    2. John 3:16 (NIV).    3. John 10:10 (NIV).    4. Romans 3:23.    5. James 4:17.    6. Romans 6:23.    7. See Ephesians 2:8-9.    8. See John 14:6 and Romans 5:8.


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