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What Happens When You Die? »« Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes by Leif Hetland

What is the Gospel?

An important part of God’s mission is for us to communicate some of the basics of the Christian gospel. In conversation it is right to explore the area together and not give people a monologue but I think it is worthwhile thinking through some of the basics ourselves. So I’ve just scribbled down this quick outline of some of the main points.

What is our situation?

God has revealed to us that he created the world. God created humanity to know him. But we chose to turn away from God in rebellion. The result of us rejecting God is that our society has been spoilt. It is filled with evil, pain, anger, injustice and heartbreak. But that doesn’t stop God loving his creation or desiring a relationship with us.

We are hopelessly lost and confused. When we feel lonely or feel that there is something missing in our lives perhaps that indicates a longing for that relationship with himself that God intends. God wants to save us and heal us from this malady that separation from God brings both in this life and in eternity. Left to ourselves humanity would only get worse. That is why God needed to send Jesus.

God's Love - Our Sin - His Forgiveness - Your ChoiceWe all know that life can be hard and can damage and hurt us. It might be through our own poor decisions or it might be through what others do to us. How can we ever be restored to the perfection that God intended for us? How can we be free? What can we do about the desperate situation we’re in? The really good news is that God has made a way.

What is the good news?

‘God loves you!’ might sound clichéd but the fact that God loves us even in our rebellion and sin is central to the gospel. It was because of this love for the world that God sent Jesus. Through his life and teaching and through his death and resurrection Jesus brought grace, truth and hope into the world that can never be defeated by iniquity.

Jesus Christ came to us as the perfect God-man, taught about God’s kingdom – God’s rule on earth – and was executed as a criminal. He died willingly out of love for us suffering the punishment for our sins. But on the third day he rose from the dead and eventually returned to heaven.

God then sent the Holy Spirit to empower his disciples to spread this gospel or ‘good news’ of the kingdom that we can be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

How should we respond?

God invites us to turn from our old way of living to follow a new way – to become one his disciples and so receive salvation, to come into that relationship with God that he intended from the beginning. This is not about being a better person. This is not something we can earn or achieve. God out of his grace and love gives us this freely.

But how can we do that?

Repent

First we need to repent. Repentance is admitting that we fall short of God’s requirements. We realise that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favour but with God’s help we can turn away from sin and ask him to forgive everything we’ve done wrong.

Believe

We also need to believe. Faith is putting our trust in Jesus and his free gift to us through his death and resurrection. In repentance we turn from sin – in faith we turn to Jesus. We trust in him. We become his disciple and God gives us a fresh start.

Be baptised

Having repented and believed we have received salvation. God then asked us to be baptised by immersion in water. Those of a different Christian tradition may choose to omit this step but actually I think it is essential to make the break with our previous lifestyle and fully embrace all that God has for us.

Receive the Holy Spirit

God then promises us that we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He comes to live inside of us by his Spirit. It is God’s response to our repentance, faith and baptism. We just need to ask. The baptism with the Spirit is an experience of God that equips us for the dynamic Christian life.

What then?

As a follower of Jesus we can talk with him and learn more about him as he speaks to us through reading the Bible and through his Holy Spirit.

But we can also learn more and achieve more by joining with other believers. There is much God wants you to do together. Jesus rescues us and begins the process of restoring us to wholeness so that we can be useful.

Jesus came to save individuals and he also came to transform the world into God’s ideal. You too can take part in God’s mission setting people free from sin, fear and condemnation and being a God-influence on your culture. Joining with others we can work together making the world more like God originally intended.

What do you think?

Of course that is just a brief outline of the gospel and I’m sure others would express it differently. Perhaps there’s something you don’t agree with? Perhaps I could be clearer? Perhaps I am missing something? How would you summarise the gospel? I’d be interested to know.

More information:
What Does “Born Again” Mean? – a short online Global Horisons video
Not really religious at all? – an outline of the gospel by David Matthew

Related Posts:
Understanding Atonement
Justification: Has Wright Got it Right?

October 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm
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