“Gospel” means good news. When the Bible talks about the gospel, it’s talking about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Our Reality

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1 (ESV)

God is the Creator of the Universe. We are not here by some happy accident, but there is a purposeful design to creation and to all of life. God creates in the very beginning, and everything was good. He creates mankind in His image, and put us in a garden. There was no sin, no pain, and no death, only peace and joy.

But that’s not a picture of the world we live in today. So what happened?

We decided to switch places with God. Rather than trusting Him and His definition of right and good, we decided He was lying to us, and that we could have a life of greater joy, satisfaction, and significance apart from Him. We sinned. We cut ourselves off from God, who is the source of life, and all we are left with is death.

Sin always brings death: death to trust, to relationships, to joy, to peace, to marriage, to families, to our bodies, and, ultimately, to our souls.

Jesus describes our situation in the parable of the Prodigal Son:

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. – Luke 15:11-16 (ESV)

The son here is saying to his father, “I don’t care about you, I only want your stuff. It doesn’t matter to me if you were dead.” And as awful as those words are, they are the words our hearts speak to God every time we sin.

God’s Plan

That is our reality, and we see the truth of it in the world and in our lives. But God doesn’t want to leave us alone in our suffering.

Perhaps one of the strongest objections to God comes in the form of a question: If God is so good, why does He allow suffering? In other words, why doesn’t God do something about all this? The good news is He has. He sent us a Savior, His own Son.

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. – John 3:16 (ESV)

Jesus is the Son of God, and was sent into the world to save us. But our salvation requires a sacrifice – the penalty for sin is death. So Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins in our place.

Then, three days later, He rose from the grave, appearing to more than 500 eyewitnesses who went out declaring what they saw with their own eyes. Jesus’ resurrection shows His victory over Satan, sin, and death, and it is why we can be confident of the promise of eternal life.

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. – Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)

Jesus takes every sin of ours and washes it away in His righteous blood. He nailed our sin to the cross in His own body, in the greatest act of love in all of history.

And this is all a free gift for us, completely independent of our own works or efforts. If we place our faith in Jesus, trusting in His sacrifice for us to forgive our sins, we will be saved. Jesus will give us a new heart, and we’ll be indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

When we turn ourselves back to God and humbly admit our sin to Him, we don’t have to fear that He will be harsh with us or turn us away. Instead, He runs out to meet us with open arms. He so loves when we return to Him, and He is constantly inviting us to do so. We see His heart, again, in the story of the Prodigal Son:

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:17-24 (ESV)

The purpose of the gospel is not to improve our immediate circumstances – it’s to rescue our eternal souls, and ultimately to redeem all of creation. The joy of the gospel is in receiving the powerful, perfect love of God.

His love has the power to redeem us. He redeems us from suffering, sin, and death, and invites us into peace, joy, and eternal life.

If you would like to become a Christian, or you have any questions at all, please reach out to us at info@revivenj.org or come to a Sunday gathering. We’d love to talk and pray with you.