The gospel or “good news” about Jesus Christ starts with the reality that the one true and living God, who created all things, designed human beings particularly for his glory. We were made to reflect the likeness of God and live in relationship with him. Since God made us, he has the right and authority to set the agenda for our lives, and we will only find our deepest purpose and satisfaction in living according to his wise design.
However, on our own, we have not honored God as we should. Beginning with the very first human beings, we have all rejected God’s intention for our lives and sought our fulfillment in things other than God. This perversion of God’s design is what the Bible calls sin. Sin is an affront to the majesty and holiness of God; it’s like a slap in his face. Therefore, God is angry with human sin and rightly condemns us for this rebellion. We are under his wrath and deserving of eternal punishment.
Nevertheless, God has mercifully made a way for us to be saved from our sins and restored to a right relationship with him. And he has done so in such a way that preserves his justice. God the Father sent God the Son into this world to be born as a man. This man, Jesus of Nazareth, revealed to us what God is like, lived a life without sin, and died on a cross in the place of sinners. In his death, Jesus took on our sin and bore the wrath of the Father. He paid the penalty for sin we deserved to pay.
Three days later, to vindicate all of his Son’s claims and show his approval of Jesus’ sacrifice for sins, God the Father raised him from the dead! Jesus later ascended to heaven, where he now reigns as the Lord of the earth.
The good news for us is that forgiveness for all our sins and eternal life and fellowship with God are freely offered to all who repent of their sins and believe in the gospel. If we turn in faith to Jesus, God will count Jesus’ perfect righteousness as our own and forgive our sin. We were once his rebellious enemies, but we can be at peace with God through faith in Jesus.
And this salvation is a gift to be received, not a wage to be earned. We can’t do enough good deeds to earn our own righteousness before God. Apart from faith in Christ, we’re guilty and without hope. But because of what Jesus has done for us, we can be saved through faith in him!
This is the good news we preach at Bethel Baptist Church. We want our community and the farthest reaches of the world to hear and believe this gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation. The gospel is a message to be proclaimed, understood, embraced, and treasured. It is a message to live by; it is a message to share.