Gospel means “good news,” and it is the good news of God’s mighty work in bringing about peace with sinners in and through Jesus Christ. Although God made all things good (Genesis 1:31), the goodness of God’s creation was corrupted by the entrance of sin through our first parents, Adam and Eve. Since Adam served as a representative head of all mankind in the relationship that God had established with him, due to Adam’s sin — a breaking of God’s word/law — all of mankind is now born into an environment of sin and with a nature of sin. We are “by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). Our sinfulness calls for God’s judgment; for God is a holy and just God. As the Scripture says, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You” (Psalm 5:4) and “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).
That is the bad news that gives understanding to the good news and makes it all the more glorious. The good news is that God has not left us to our sins and sin’s condemnation. God is also good and loving. God demonstrated His love by sending His Son into the world, “born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4b-5). Jesus accomplished and mediates salvation through His perfect life, substitutionary death (He bore the sin, guilt, shame, and punishment of sinners upon Himself), and resurrection (defeating sin and death). Christ did this freely and joyfully. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Again, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
Though we come into this world in relationship with Adam, our first parent, a relationship characterized by sin and condemnation, God calls us into relationship with His Son, established in His crimson blood on the cross (Romans 5:18-21). In response, then, God’s word tells us “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Be sorrowful over the sins you have committed against your Creator and believe in this good news of forgiveness of sins in Christ. There is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12).
The first Q/A of the Heidelberg Catechism is a wonderful explanation of the hope that one has in Christ:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
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