The Gospel Message
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
If all our good deeds, the best and finest we can do on our own, are like filthy garments before God; what does the rest of who we are and what we do look like to Him?
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
What is sin? Sin is anything that separates us from the grace of God. Sin poisoned creation when the first man and woman willfully disobeyed God. Sin is the current condition of our existence in the world.
Sinning is going against the will of God and manifests in detail as sinful activities. The driving frequency behind all of the moral, ethical or legal wrongs of any given culture or society is sin itself manifesting in and around us.
We are born into a sin stained, fallen world; we are poisoned by sin. It is in our very nature to sin. By design we were made to commune with God, our Creator. Through our sin nature and by sinful living we reject God and turn away from that communion. We have fallen short of God's intended purpose for us. God made us to know Him; to receive His love and to love Him in return.
The result of sin is that we are lost—separated from God.
For the wages of sin is death... (Romans 6:23a)
Wages are just payment... due reward... what one has coming because of labor. The just payment for our sinful living is death. Notice that Scripture does not say “the wages of sins (plural) is death”. Scripture says that the wages of sin (singular) is death. We are poisoned by sin. By design we were made to commune with God, our Creator. Through our sin nature and by sinful living we reject God and turn away from that communion. We cannot work our way out of sin on our own. Left to ourselves to stand before our Creator we are helpless and defenseless.
How are we to escape the penalty of sin?
...but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord… (Romans 6:23b)
How can God remain true to His holiness and forgive unholy sinners?
God’s solution is His son, Jesus Christ.
…whom God displayed publicly as a propitiatory sacrifice by His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness… (Romans 3:25)
God’s justified anger needed to be appeased before sin could be forgiven. God, in His love, sent His Son as a willing sacrifice to satisfy God’s Holy anger against sin.
…for the demonstration of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)
In this way God demonstrates that He is holy in His justice.
The penalty demanded by His law is not removed but is paid for by Christ Jesus.
God is the one who declares people to be in right standing with Himself.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For God so LOVED... holy love — not human love
...so loved THE WORLD... The entire world. Not just America, or Western civilization, or Baptists, but the entire world. That means the Chinese, Japanese, Australian Bushmen, black, white, brown, yellow, red people, and even people in Los Angeles. And with a holy love that was before anything we know even existed; a love that stretches back through the past, to the present and onward into the future; non-time and space-bound love — holy love, indeed.
...that He GAVE... What does He give? A gift, that's what. You didn't earn it, you don't deserve it.
...His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON... Jesus Christ, God incarnate. His life, teachings, example, and atoning sacrifice. He paid our sin debt and shows us how to mend the rift between God and ourselves.
...that whoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Jesus rose from the grave to conquer sin and death for all who receive Him as their Lord and Savior.
But remember God’s warning:
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
How can you receive God's free gift of love and life?
...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; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
...for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
A person receives God's free gift of love and life by placing faith in Jesus Christ.
To “confess with your mouth” is to publicly speak your faith in Jesus Christ.
To “believe” is to take God at His word and “believe in your heart” that Jesus is God's Son who died for our sin on the cross and rose from the grave to live in us as Savior and Lord.
To “call on the name of the Lord” is to ask in prayer.
To “believe in your heart” is to be genuinely repentant for your sins.
To repent is to turn away from sin and turn towards God.
You must love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.
But you must not hold back anything. It’s all-in or not-in with Jesus.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Romans 5:1)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that salvation is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God… (Ephesians 2:8)
This is the promise of God:
• The gift of salvation, given by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is freely available to all who give themselves to God through faith in Jesus.
• If we place our faith in Jesus Christ and ask Him for forgiveness with all of our heart, all our soul, all of our mind, and all our strength; then the Holy Spirit of God will come inside us and we will be saved.
• If we believe and abide in Jesus Christ, if we surrender ourselves to Jesus as our Lord and Savior; then, at the time of our mortal death, when we stand before Holy God, Jesus will stand beside us as and pronounce us “not guilty” before God.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Jesus said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Think on these things in your heart and remember that here on earth:
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)