This is for a special person in my life. I will outline the gospel message as best I can in one post.
Let’s start off with the premise that all we see in the material world is far too complicated to have come into existence by chance. Something must have created the natural world. If something created all this, then something created us. Is it then reasonable to think that our creator tries to communicate with us? It would seem so. But, how?
Could the bible be the method? It is reasonable to think so. First, there is no historical book like it. No other book has so many virtually identical copies that date so close to the time that the events occurred. Since the time of Jesus, the manuscripts in their original language are astonishingly similar with no material variation. One interesting source on this is Lee Strobel, particularly his book, “A Case for Christ.”
Probably the most compelling reason to consider the bible is fulfilled prophecy. In it, we find specific predictions that have come to pass. Specific events like wars, famines, and rulers – even specific names! We find a prophetic record of Jesus’ death and resurrection that is astonishingly detailed and accurate. No other book has a proven record like this.
Most people brush this book aside without giving it serious consideration. Why? Because they don’t like the message. Let’s take a look at that.
The Human Condition
The gospel message tells us that all of creation started out good, but something terrible happened. Humans violated the only rule they were given. Since then, mankind has been doing its own thing. God calls for a changed of heart and return to him, but man refuses. Certainly, people are religious, but not towards the one, true, and living God. Despite warnings from people that God has specifically sent, man refuses to listen. God even gave us a specific set of rules to prove our disobedience, the most well-known being the Ten Commandments.
Here’s the thing. We turn a blind eye to our sin. Take this simple test. Have you ever lied, even small, white lies? What do you call someone who lies? A liar. Have you ever stolen anything, no matter the amount? What do you call someone who steals? A thief. Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? What do you call someone who does that? A blasphemer. Have you ever committed adultery? Jesus says that if you even look at another with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart.
Assuming you have said yes to all these (because I have), by your own admission, you claim to be a liar, thief, blasphemer, and adulterer. The bible says that none of these shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In fact, the bible teaches us that none seek after God, that none are righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10-18). Furthermore, because God is holy, no one that is unholy may be near him. Indeed, as the bible says, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Most people ignore all this. Some even laugh it off, but, surely, it is quite serious. The bible tells us there indeed is eternal punishment for all wrongdoing (Revelation 20:15). It’s no joke.
There is hope.
Almost every religion, including most Christian denominations, teach that you can get out of this mess by doing good things. That’s not what the bible teaches. The bible teaches that our hearts are desperately wicked and any good we do is for selfish, polluted reasons (Isaiah 64:6-7). Indeed, our situation is dire. If we can’t earn our way into heaven, then we need someone to do it for us. This is the gospel message.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
For reasons God knows and is his privilege to have, there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. Don’t ask me why, but that’s the way it is. So God sent his son to shed his blood for us, for those who believe in him, so that our sin may be forgiven. Jesus was proven to be this sacrifice and atonement for our sin through his resurrection from the dead. He is God in the flesh, the Lord of lords, and King of kings. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. All knees will one day bow to him (Philippians 2:5-11). At that day, he will separate the saved from the unsaved, as one separates sheep from goats, with the the saved entering his kingdom and the unsaved to eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:31-46).
By faith alone.
Eternal life can be obtained only by faith, not by anything you do. This is the gospel message. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). With it comes a whole new attitude, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Sin no longer has the appeal it once did. This doesn’t mean the believer no longer sins; it means s/he is troubled by it like never before. The believer repents from his/her previous life and turns from it. The believer is “born again.”
One cannot fool God about this. Either you are all in or you are all out. Others may be fooled, but eventually bad trees will produce bad fruit. You cannot climb over any fences to get into heaven. There are no other ways, no other gates, no other paths, not other gods. Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Jesus is God’s only means of heaven.
We are without excuse.
Whether you have heard of Jesus or not, all humans know enough about God through nature itself to be guilty of not honoring him or giving him thanks. We are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Our only hope of salvation is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Incredibly, most will reject it to their peril. Our sin is so deep and our hearts so wicked that we refuse to listen. Not so to those who believe.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:20-21
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. John 10:27-30
This is my attempt at the gospel message. If you are reading this, I beg of you, be reconciled to God. For more on this, please check out a previous post of mine.
Father, I pray for that person in my life. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers