The Good News
The word Gospel means good news. But what is the good news?
The Good News…
1. Do not put any other gods in place of me.
2. Do not make statues of gods…
3. Do not bow down to them or worship them…
4. Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God...
5. Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.
6. Honor your father and mother...
7. Do not commit murder.
8. Do not commit adultery.
9. Do not steal.
10. Do not give false witness (Don’t lie) …
11. Do not long for anything that belongs to your neighbor...
If the Ten Commandments are God’s Law for us then it is easy to see we are sinners, meaning we all have broken God’s law. The Bible tells us “Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory.” (Romans 3:23). Because we are sinners, we are sentenced to death. “When you sin, the pay you get is death. ”(Romans 6:23). Notice one sin condemns us to death. This death includes eternal separation from God in Hell. The Bible also tells us that once we die we must stand before God as our judge. “ . . . People have to die once. After that, God will judge them.” (Hebrews 9:27). Knowing this, and that we have already blown our chances of being good enough to make it to heaven, brings us to the point where we realize we need some help.
That help is God himself. He loved us and so he became a living human and lived among us. His name is Jesus. The Bible tells us about Jesus’ life on earth as a sinless man in Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. In John 3:3, Jesus told Nicodemus, “No one can see God's kingdom without being born again." God loved us so much He gave His only Son, Jesus, to serve our death sentence in our place “ . . . Christ (Jesus) didn't have any sin. But God made him become sin for us. So we can be made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus had to bleed and die. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be made clean with blood. Without the spilling of blood, no one can be forgiven.”(Hebrews 9:22). “ . . .God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ (Jesus) died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus when He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God doesn’t lie, he is God.
In Acts 16:30-31, a Philippian jailer asked missionaries Paul and Silas a question: “ . . . He asked, " "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and your family will be saved." All we must do is: believe that Jesus served our death sentence in our place, was buried, and was raised from the dead by God’s mighty power. His resurrection powerfully assures us that although our body will die we too can have everlasting life!! “Some people did accept him. They believed in his name. He gave them the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12). They were born again. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13). “Everyone” includes you. “Will be saved” means not maybe, nor can, but “will be saved”. Romans 6:23 says, “When you sin, the pay you get is death. But God gives you the gift of eternal life because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.” Eternal life is a gift. Gifts are given. We cannot earn or work for a gift. We can only choose to accept or reject it.
In this next verse Jesus refers to a story from Numbers 21 when God’s people began to grumble and complain. God sent snakes among them which bit them and they began to die. Just like our sin brings us death. The people cried out to God and He told Moses to make a bronze snake and hold it up on a stick. Everyone who looked at the snake was healed. Everyone who chose not to look died. Jesus was hung on a cross as well, and like the people with the snake we can choose to look to Jesus and be healed from our sin, or to die. Here is what Jesus said:
John 3:14-21 “Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. The Son of Man (Jesus) must be lifted up also. Then everyone who believes in him can live with God forever. God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not judged. But anyone who does not believe is judged already. He has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light. They loved darkness because what they did was evil. Everyone who does evil things hates the light. They will not come into the light. They are afraid that what they do will be seen. But anyone who lives by the truth comes into the light. He does this so that it will be easy to see that what he has done is with God's help."
There is no magic in a special prayer to guarantee we will get to heaven. Salvation comes from putting your trust in Jesus. Trusting Jesus means trusting him to get you to heaven and much, much more. When we bring our problems and decisions to Jesus and ask him what we should do, we are trusting him. We trust him when we read the Bible to learn more about him and his answers for life. Trusting in Jesus means making him our King and master- not to earn our way to heaven but because He IS the way to heaven. We love him because He has already loved us (not to earn our way to heaven). This is also true for loving others. We love them to because God loves us. In the truest sense we are following Him as our leader and guide through life.
What about you?
Note: These references like “John 3:16” are from the Bible. The translation was the New Readers Version, to make it understandable for even children, but you will find the good news in every Bible version. I have highlighted a few verses to share the good news. I encourage you to go back and read each chapter or book so you can see the whole story. You can read them all at biblegateway.com or from your own Bible.