Knowing God – The Gospel
What is at the core of Christianity? What must one believe in order to be a Christian? What makes Christianity so different from all other religions?
These are valuable and important questions. Christianity is not about what family you are born into, nor what culture you come from. To be a Christian, each individual must decide for themselves to believe the Gospel and thus accept it as truth.
What is the Gospel? I’m glad you asked.
The originally Greek word “Gospel” simply means “good news.” Christians use this term to describe what God did to provide a way of salvation for us.
I will briefly explain the Gospel below. If you want to learn more I will include some helpful links at the bottom of the page.
The Bible speaks of how God created the world. He made it perfect, spotless, whole. Among all He created on earth, humans were the chief (Ps. 8:3-6). God gave them the ability to have a sweet relationship with Him, their Creator. Adam and Eve, the first two humans, enjoyed that beautiful relationship with God, but then Satan stopped by for a visit.
Indeed Satan is titled the father of lies for good reason. He convinced Adam and Eve to eat of the one tree God had forbidden them from eating of. This disobedience resulted in a severance of their relationship with God.
The word “sin” in the Bible describes any disobedience to God, regardless of how small. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, human nature itself became tainted. A bend toward sin because preinstalled in every human being since.
[side note: Did you know the word “sin” is also an archery term referring to missing the mark?]
The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Rom. 3:23). Every one of us has sinned and therefore cannot attain a right relationship with God.
We also read in the Bible that “the wages of sin is death”(Rom. 6:23a). That is to say, the penalty for sinning, even for the tiniest little lie, is that we must die. This is not just physical death, but eternal separation from God and thus all that is good.
Because of this brokenness and our sin, an insurmountable chasm exists between God and ourselves. There is no way we can cross this gap to regain the relationship with God He had designed us for. No amount of good works or earnest prayers can fix the chasm.
God, however, was grieved by this break in relationship between mankind and Himself. He decided to do something about it.
God knew that the penalty, or wage, for sin must be paid. Someone had to die for it. Therefore, God sent His own Son Jesus to live on earth. Jesus was fully God and fully man – the only person to ever live without sinning.
Because Jesus lived a spotless life He was able to take the death penalty for us when He died on the cross.
Three days later Jesus rose from the dead showing His power over death.
But how do we step into that right relationship with Jesus? What do we have to do?
When Jesus died on that cross roughly 2,000 years ago, He extended a gift – the gift of salvation and a right relationship with Him. This gift of salvation is extended in exchange for the wages of sin we deserve. We must reach out and receive this gift.
Many have tried to use good behaviour to earn this gift, but a gift cannot be earned, it is given freely by undeserved grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
To receive it, first you must realize and admit that you cannot earn this gift. In fact, you must understand that you are a sinner in need of saving.
Then by faith, that is, by believing that Jesus truly died to save you from the wages your sin deserves, you receive this gift. Yet this belief cannot only be lip service, it must be a choice you make with your whole being, then your life will be transformed as you learn to walk in your new relationship with God.
In review: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 CSB).
Growing as a Christian
Have you chosen to believe in Jesus and all that He did for you? Then welcome to the family!
As you begin your relationship with Jesus, here are a few tips. In deepening any human relationship, time and energy must be invested. The same is true of your relationship with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is very clear that we are saved by faith alone, not by our own efforts (Tit. 3:5a). However, if you desire to grow in your relationship with Jesus and experience the full abundance of life that He desires to give you, God has given us certain tools which are immensely helpful.
The Bible is God’s Word written for us. It is useful for guiding us through each day (2 Tim. 3:16-17). I strongly encourage you to read it, study it, and memorize it. Ask God to speak to you through it.
Spend time in prayer. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God. Tell Him about your thoughts and feelings. Ask Him when you need something. (Ps. 62:8)
Spend time with other Christians. Ask them questions about God and seek answers together in the Bible.
Find a church where the whole Bible is taught and held as the authority. (If you need help finding a solid church in your area, feel free to contact meand I will try to help you do some research.)
Want to learn more?
If this brief explanation of the Gospel has left you curious to learn more, check out some of these links. Also, take a look at my Christian resource page.
- Why Is Christianity Right? – A logical intro to the facts surrounding Christianity
- The Bridge Illustration – A classic straight forward explanation of the Gospel
- Know God – A website with discussion of common objections to becoming a Christian
- The Gospel in Three Minutes – A simple telling of the Gospel using drawings
- G.O.S.P.E.L – The Gospel expressed using spoken word