The word gospel literally means “good news.” When Jesus was born, the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 9:10) What is this good news that was so important God sent an angel to announce it?
The Bad News
Have you ever been afraid that if someone really knew you that you wouldn’t measure up or be good enough? There is a still, small voice inside of us all that acknowledges our sin. Romans 3:23, it states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin dates back to the Garden of Eden when God gave Adam and Eve one simple command: “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will die.” When they chose disobedience, sin entered the world. Each of us will someday die a physical death because we all have the “sin virus” that has been passed down since the very first people chose to disobey God. Not only are we doomed to physical death due to sin, but we each have chosen to sin.
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
We are physically going to die, but we are also already spiritually dead (or separated from God). There is a great divide between us and God. We don’t like to look at our own wrongdoings, but we have caused this separation. We may long for a God who is close and loving, but our sin has created a divide between us and God. This divide will leave us feeling empty, hopeless, insecure, and ultimately – it will lead us to believe lies about ourselves and God.
The Good News
Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” A wage is something we earn. When we go to a job, we perform a task and earn a paycheck. The Bible uses the same term to describe sin. Our sin has earned us death and eternal separation from God.
Then comes the miracle. Despite what we deserve, God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to take the punishment we deserved on His shoulders… Jesus took our place (John 3:16). He came as a baby to be born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, so that he could live the perfect life that we never could and therefore, be the only human worthy of Heaven. He was God in flesh and lived a sinless life so he could take our punishment on the cross. Then he did exactly what he said he would do and rose again, conquering death, on the third day.
When we die, we will be judged based on our own merits. The standard is perfection. That is, unless you accept the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. A gift is something you receive free of charge. You can’t earn it. You can’t pay it back; otherwise it wouldn’t be a gift. If we try to avoid our sin problem, we are doomed. We can pretend that if our good outweighs our bad, then we will be fine. We can pretend that religious traditions can save us, but they won’t. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
Contrary to popular belief, Heaven isn’t full of good people and Hell full of all the bad ones. Heaven is full of people who confessed their need for Jesus and asked for forgiveness. Hell is full of those who never saw their sin for what it is and never surrendered to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
All it takes to move from death to life is accepting His free gift. In Romans 10:9 it says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus loves you so much that He gave His life to bring you back to Him. Will you cry out to the Lord and ask Him to save you today?