The Gospel of Jesus Christ
Everybody knows about the Gospel, right? Everybody has heard about Jesus and knows the details of His birth, life, death and ressurection, yes?
No! Close to 2 billion people have never even heard His name. Billions more consider Him something of a holy man who lived and died 2000 years ago.
Roughly one third of the world’s population recognize Him as The Son of God. Most of these believe that He is actually one with God, the eternal Father and creator and yet he is also the Son of Man. But what do Christians specifically believe about Him and why?
There are many worldviews that include the belief that there is a reality beyond the physical world. Some estimate that there are over 4200 religions or belief systems that find expression in our world. Why, then, is Jesus of Nazareth different. What makes Him stand out? Why is news about him called good news?
What Christians Believe
Christians believe that the Holy Bible is the record of God’s communication with men and women from antiquity. It is authoritative and flawless in its original form. It is the source for the knowledge of God and the standard by which we may discern truth and is the pattern for our conduct.
This record contains promises and predictions concerning God’s remedy for sin. He promised a savior to our first parents and predicted how and when He would appear. There are over 300 prophecies in the Holy Bible that were literally fulfilled by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which prove that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
The biblical record contains four eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus. These accounts record many of His teachings and quote Him extensively. They have been studied for centuries and have been proven to be authentic despite attempts to discredit their testimony.
He is risen! And He shares His life with us!
Most people will admit that Jesus lived and died over 2000 years ago. What they can’t accept is that Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man is literally alive. Everything depends on it. The Bible makes the resurrection of Jesus the pivotal test of the validity of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul says that:
“if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
God’s Way of Reconciliation
The Bible lays out the condition of Man as that of hopelessly flawed and separated from God by sin (deliberate disobedience to the known will of God). God Himself has provided the remedy for sin by sending His Son (who is the brightness of His Glory and the exact representation of His being) to taste death for everyone of us, thus making reconciliation possible. That reconciliation is open to all who repent and believe that Jesus, the eternal Son, was sent by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the savior of the world by being born of a virgin, living a sinless life, being put to death for sinners, and being raised to life by the glory of the Father.
God Wants Us to Believe “Into” Jesus because He ever lives to make intercession for us.
The Good News is that Jesus not only paid the penalty for our acts of sin, He united Himself to mankind in such a way that in God’s eyes the entire human race died with Him. The Bible puts it this way: “we are convinced that Christ died for all, and therefore all died.” Because of this we are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. We do not simply believe “in” or about Jesus, we believe “into” Jesus. We know that He has taken us with Him in death and resurrection. We know that no amount of trying to suppress sin will ever work. We must count on His life to be exchanged for our life. Now that we are united with Jesus we can say “no” to sin and “yes” to God since there is no sin so strong that we are compelled to practice it and there is no temptation so strong that we cannot resist and refuse it. God says that “sin shall not have dominion over you”.
Therefore, we present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and well pleasing to Him. We hate what is evil and cling to that which is Good, and seek in all things to have our minds controlled by the Spirit of God. This will reproduce in us the life of Jesus as we take up our cross daily to follow Him. We will become partakers of the divine nature by believing God’s great and precious promises. He promised us forgiveness for sins and deliverance from sin. He promised us that He would live in us by His Spirit and make His home in us. Thus, we will become imitators of God as beloved children. We shall ever love and serve Him in unending fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus through the Eternal Spirit. Amen.