What is the Gospel? The word "gospel" means "good news," and "the Gospel" is not just good
news (or even great news) - it's the best news!
When you entered the Christian section of my site, you saw a quote from the apostle Paul from
his first letter to the church of Corinth. In case you don't remember it, I will put it here
to refresh your memory:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
1 Corinthians 15:17-19
What exactly do these verses mean? They mean that if Jesus didn't raise from the dead,
the Christian faith is useless, and that Christians are worse off than everybody else.
It would be easy to dismiss Christianity as out of touch with reality (or even nonsense),
but it would be tough to prove. Why? Because Jesus really did raise from the dead - there's
no other way to explain the last 2,000 (approximately) years. Since He really did raise
from the dead (and he's the only person to conquer death), then we need to take Him seriously.
Fortunately for us, he has given us a way to conquer death as well. In addition, we get to
spend eternity with the God of the universe.
There's a few issues to grapple with when it comes to believing the Gospel, and I will try to
deal with them as briefly and concisely as possible. There are many web sites and books that
explore in great depth the many theological issues out there, so if you are looking for more than
what I have here, I'm sure you can find what you're looking for on the web, or even in a library!
We're all sinners.
I know that this is not a popular notion, but all that it means is that we've all missed the mark
of perfection that God originally intended for us. In other words, we're not "good" in the eyes
of God. If you don't think this is true, then measure yourself against His standards: have you
ever stolen anything, or told a lie? That's what I thought - and those are just two of the
commandments God gave to the Israelites! That should give you an idea of how high God's
"For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Jesus is God (not "a god," but "THE GOD").
As you can imagine, this is a very important fact. Jesus was not just a guy with good ideas.
In fact, when you read about Him, you will realize that if He was just a guy, he was either
deceitful or insane. But if He was God (which He was and is), then everything he says and does
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)
Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins.
For us to be approved by God and to be able to go to Heaven after we die, we must be sinless
(in other words, perfect). You and I know that neither of us are perfect, so how can this be
done? By the blood of Jesus, my friend. God realized that none of us are worthy to be in
His presence, so he gave us a way out (or in, as the case may be). God came to earth in the form
of a man in order to live a sinless life (yet suffer all of the trials and temptations that we
deal with every day) and to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. That means that
when we believe the Gospel, God sees us clean and pure.
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us
to God..." (I Peter 3:18)
Jesus raised from the dead to give us all eternal life in Heaven.
When Jesus died on the cross, he paid for our sins. On the third day after His death, He rose
from the dead so that we may all have eternal life with Him in Heaven. When we die, we do not
cease to exist. (I know that this is one of the "BIG" questions of life, so forgive me if I
come off too confident - I just know that what I believe is true). After we die, our soul
leaves our body and goes one of two places. I know that this is another one of those areas
that people don't like, and I don't like it either - that's why I'm putting this up here! I
want everybody to be with me in Heaven. If you don't want to believe in Hell, then you have to
throw out Christianity altogether, because even Jesus talked about Hell. But remember, just
because you don't believe something doesn't mean it's not true! Anyway, back to
eternal life . . . after you die, you can either spend eternity with God or without Him, the
choice is yours.
"By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also." (1 Corinthians 6:14)
What's this about repentance?
To repent means "to change your mind." When it comes to Christianity, it means to change your
mind about God, Jesus, the Bible, etc. In other words, you go from believing the Bible is
false to believing the Bible is true. When you believe that the bible is true, then you must
believe that you're a sinner, that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, that He rose
from the dead to give you eternal life. It is common to find that to repent means to change
your evil ways, but the reality is that you won't be able to do it in a lasting way (or even see
the reason for doing it) until after you believe the Gospel.
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of
refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19)
God loves you!
You were made in the image of God, and He cares very much about you. In fact, He loves you so
much that He gave you the free will to accept or reject Him. He also loves you so much that
He sacrificed His Son so that you could have a relationship with Him and be with Him forever.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Life is so hard!
I am sure that by now you have realized that life can be difficult. Maybe you've tried to find a
way to make life easier (with such things as money, power, possessions, food, alcohol, drugs,
sex, pornography, etc.) and have found that nothing works. My guess is you haven't tried
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
There is no other way to God.
We live in a time when more and more people are believing that there are many ways to God.
I have heard many people say that "all religions lead to the same god." This is a nice thought,
but the reality is that all religions exclude other religions, so not all of them can be true.
In fact, only one religion/belief system can be true. Have you examined the evidence to find
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
So, to sum up, what does it mean to believe the Gospel? You must . . .
"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." (Romans 10:9)
- Recognize that you are a sinner.
- Believe that Jesus was who He said He was and is who He said He is (God).
- Believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins.
- Believe that Jesus rose from the dead to give you eternal life.
Now that you have read all of this, do you believe it? Do you think I am just making this up?
Maybe you're saying to yourself "I can't believe this, it seems to good to be true." Of course
it seems to good to be true - but it isn't. That's why it's called the GOOD NEWS!
It is my hope and prayer that you believe this is true!
You may have seen or heard of the "sinner's prayer" and you may have heard that
you need to pray it, or something like it, to be a Christian. Although I think
it is a good idea to pray to God that you believe the Gospel, it is the
belief/faith that is crucial. Praying will follow.
You may have heard that you need to be baptized to be a Christian, but that is not required
also. However, it is a good idea to be baptized as soon as possible AFTER becoming a believer.
All that is really required is that you believe!
If you have just come to the realization that the Gospel is true (which is sometimes referred
to as "accepting Christ" or "receiving Christ"), please CLICK HERE!
If you are still struggling with this, please e-mail me so that I can pray for you.