The Gospel has three primary aspects and many secondary and even tertiary aspects. In this post, though, I will be focusing mainly on the three primary aspects which include that there is a problem, a solution, and a response.
We will go in order.
The root issue with, well, everything is that people are wretched. See, originally there was only God. Now I must divert from MY primary focus, the Gospel, and do some explaining.
We know that originally there was only God because there are really only three possible options. So, either something came out of nothing, material things always existed, or something immaterial (God) existed and created material things.
Something came out of nothing? From the beginning we have known that from nothing nothing comes or ex nihilo nihil fit. This is very simple and is not hard to wrap the mind around, it just makes sense.
Material things have always existed? As far as you can go back in time, you will continually ask: “What about before that? What caused that?” Because everything has a cause, we would go backwards in time infinitely if we chose to take this to its course, which of course would take forever. However, if you have done any research, you know that no one of high standing position, even among atheists, would take this position. This means that there was a beginning.
Something immaterial (God) existed and created material things. The only way that there is a beginning is if there was a sudden cause. An uncaused cause. An immaterial uncauseable cause. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3. As you will, hopefully, begin to see, the Bible answers every question. So, God is the immaterial and uncaused cause of materials.
Now that that is taken care of, let us move on.
Now, back to the Gospel which is of utmost importance (I Corinthians 15:3). So, now that we have creation and specifically the creation of man, we have the problem. The only way there could be sin (disobedience to God) is if there was something to disobey and without something to obey, there is no obedience to God, only existence. Therefore, God gave ONE commandment to Adam and Eve. He gave them complete freedom aside from one thing: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16b-17. Think about it, if someone tells you, “look, I don’t really care what you do. Do whatever you want. Oh, and by the way, don’t eat this or you’ll die.” Your first thought is going to be to question that. You will wonder why you will die and will most likely want to try it. Now, I am sure that Adam had that temptation but he remained sinless until the snake (Satan) told Eve that the only reason God told them that was because the fruit from that tree would make them like God. Naturally, she and Adam, who was right beside her, ate of the fruit. Now fast forward to the present, here we are, just as stubborn and selfish as our original parents. Their temptation is so familiar to us. We want control, we want knowledge of everything, and we definitely do not want those to be taken from us. So, the problem is in that we all, from that point on, have been born into this sin (“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23). Everyone sins because not a single person is perfect. Now, if we take the idea that Romans 3:23 cuts right through and read it from beginning to end, then we have the solution.
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith." Romans 3:21-25. See, John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.") is the most common scripture in the world. It seems that we have become numb to the weight of this. You see, God made us perfect. We were with Him and enjoyed His presence for a time. We then rebelled. We did the only thing God asked us not to do. So, what is God’s response? He decided to forgive us. There is a catch though. Once we were contaminated, we could not enter into God’s presence because God is perfect. We would contaminate God’s presence. So God decides to send His only Son, His beloved, to earth to live with us. Jesus was not born into sin like us because of who His Father is. So begins the life of Jesus. Jesus was tempted by all that we were tempted with (Hebrews 4:15), yet remained sinless. Before Jesus, there were animal sacrifices that would be done in order to ask forgiveness from God. This form of atonement was only temporary and because the animals were animals, they could never be adequate in forgiveness of sins. So, Jesus lived a perfect life, died bearing the sins of each of us, and then was raised from the dead by God, thus defeating sin’s stranglehold on humanity. An important aspect of this is presented in Luke 22:39-44 when Jesus prays in the garden. Here in the garden Jesus sweated blood. He asked God is there was another way for salvation before submitting to God’s holy plan for His life. Jesus was so emotionally drained from the thought of what was about to happen that he sweated drops of blood. This is a real phenomenon that only happens under immense stress and fear. The following day Jesus would be beaten beyond human semblance (Isaiah 51:14) and unjustly suffer an excruciating death on a cross. But get this: He was not afraid of that. Jesus was afraid of the wrath of God, His Father. Jesus was so terrified of the wrath of His own Father that He sweated blood. Jesus knew what it was like to be in real communion with God and He knew how invaluable that treasure was. He also knew that He was about to lose that. So, we have Christ taking the punishment for our sins (propitiation). Many, many people have fallen victim to the notion that Christianity is a mixture between karma and the Gospel. They believe that if they do well, Christ’s death will atone for the areas they failed. This is simply not true. As I have shown, scripture tells us that we have all fallen short and that falling short means hell. The exception is not that we can do well enough to avoid that but that we can realize our helpless state and BEG for forgiveness. The main point of this section is Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
How do we identify with Christ in order that we may be saved? John says, “…whoever believes in Him should not perish…”. Now, what does it mean to believe? Believe does not mean what we think it means. The word actually used in the original text meant to have some sort of action behind the belief. Not only are we to know in our heads that Christ was wrongly murdered for our sins, but we are to be compelled to trust in God for forgiveness of sins, then allow Him to change us out of our love for Him. To believe is to live. James 2:19 tells us that the demons “believe” and shudder. Clearly, the word here is different from the word in John 3:16. I have met many people, though, who are convinced that they are saved because they “believe” that Jesus died for them and has forgiven them when in reality, they are stuck in that knowledge and have met to actually submit their lives to God. The appropriate response to the Gospel is that we would be humbled by our sin, in awe of God’s grace and mercy, beg for forgiveness, and then live in the freedom that is Christ. One vital truth of the Gospel that people often do not realize goes as follows: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. This is unbelievable. Not only are we forgiven for every single time we have fallen short of perfection, but we also are forgiven for those times that we have yet to fall short. When Christ died, He took my sin. Now get this, if He had just taken my sin away from me and forgiven me for that, I would be in no better place than where I started. He, however, not only took my sin, but replaced my sin with His own righteous perfection. Think about what that means. Now, please read this carefully. Even when I am currently sinning or am deep in sin, I am no less perfect than when I feel close to God. Now, let’s read that again. Even when I am currently sinning or am deep in sin, I am no less perfect than when I feel close to God. So, as a result, there is no condemnation. I am free to live in Christ and finally do what I was made to do. I am able to glorify God by abiding in Christ. The main point of this section is presented beautifully in the whole of Romans 8. I would suggest reading that right now. If you do not own a Bible, the internet can provide that if you just Google Romans 8.
And that is the short version of the Gospel. God made us. We messed up. We still mess up. God made a way through Christ. We must accept Him to reunite with God.
I am getting really excited just thinking about this whole concept, and I hope that it encourages or convicts you as well. Feel free to write to me for any questions or concerns that you may have. I would love to talk to you. If you don’t believe what I wrote is true, then tell me why so that maybe God will use me to answer some questions that you may have. There are more answers out there than most people are willing to look for so please don’t go on in the dark because you are unwilling to find answers. Just ask. I’m praying that this message means as much to you as it does to me. This momentous event has given me a reason to live. If not for God, then for what do you live your life? There is no meaning aside from the Lord. Thanks you reading, everyone! I’m praying for your hearts to be softened.