When we talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ, we're talking about the good news about Jesus.
But what makes this good news? And why is this news something no one can afford to ignore?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of salvation from God's just judgment and wrath. And it demands a response.
The bible teaches (and creation declares) that there is an eternal God who is totally holy, completely good, and just to the uttermost. God created the heavens and the earth and every creature that dwells therein over the course of six days (Gen. 1). As the pinnacle of His creative work, God created man and woman in His own image so that they could give Him glory and enjoy his presence forever, serving as His representatives in creation (Gen. 1:26–27). When God finished His creation, God deemed all that He had made “very good,” seeing that it was without evil or darkness (Gen. 1:31).
But if God created everything to be very good, why is the world the way it is?
Because of us. See, God gave the first two humans complete freedom to do as they pleased with one exception: that they must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made it clear: if they ate of it, they would surely die the day they did (Gen. 2:17). But Satan deceived them by telling them they would actually be like God if they ate of the tree’s fruit (Gen. 3:5). Instead of trusting and obeying God, they took, ate, and in so doing, brought sin and death into the world (Rom. 3:23; 5:12). This isn't only a physical death but a spiritual and eternal death, which is the just punishment for sin committed against a holy and eternal God (Rom. 6:23).
When humanity sinned against God, we became alienated from God and the whole creation fell under a curse. Because God is completely holy, in our sinful state we can no longer dwell in God’s midst (Ex. 40:35). Even our best efforts cannot restore the relationship we were designed to have with God (Isaiah 64:6).
Thankfully, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, from heaven to earth, as a human being, miraculously born of the virgin, Mary. In so doing, Jesus added humanity to His divinity, making Him fully God and fully man (Col. 2:9; Heb. 2:14–18). Even though Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life, never once succumbing to temptation, He would be betrayed, falsely accused, unjustly tried, beaten, mocked, and executed on the Cross at the hands of lawless men.
Though Jesus' execution was the worst injustice in history, it was actually a willing sacrifice on His part (Matt. 20:28). In dying on the cross, Jesus died not for His own sins, but for ours. This is the greatest act of love the world has ever known: “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).” Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God, which is the just punishment due our sins.
But death had no claim on Jesus! Three days after His execution, He rose from the grave as living proof that the sacrifice of God for the forgiveness of sins was sufficient, and that death itself and the one who has the power of death, the devil, have been conquered (Heb. 2:14). Jesus then ascended to the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3), where now He rules as King of kings and Lord of lords and continuously intercedes on behalf of believers (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Rev. 19:16).
Jesus Christ lived a perfect life earning the righteousness required for sinners to be reconciled to God (Hebrews 4:15). He died a substitutionary death in our place, and He rose again for our salvation, so that all who would repent of their sins and put their faith in His person and work might be saved from the judgment that is to come (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Both repentance and faith are the free gift of God, initiated by a work of God’s Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer (Ephes. 2:8–9; Titus 3:4–7). Repentance is confessing our guilt before a holy God and asking for His forgiveness, and then actively turning away from that sin. Faith is believing in the person and work of Jesus Christ and calling upon Him as one’s own Lord and Savior.
When a person repents and believes, Jesus’ righteousness is credited to their account. This is what’s known as the “great exchange.” The believer is treated by God as if they lived Christ’s perfect life, because He was treated by God as if He lived the believer’s sinful life. “For our sake, He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).”
In light of these things, what will you do? You are called to repent of your sins and believe upon Christ for the salvation of your soul. This decision is not without sacrifice. It will cost you your whole life (Matt. 10:34–39). But it is worth it. Consider what you have to gain: reconciliation to God, adoption into His family, union with the Body of Christ, power over temptation and sin, and eternal life in His presence. Will you repent of your sin and put your faith in the One who loved you and gave Himself for you?