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We are currently on the second week of a four-post series all about the gospel! Here is the first post that gives a little bit of an introduction if you would like to read that before continuing this one.
But if you’re ready for part two, today is all about the who and what of the gospel. Let’s dive into it.
Who does the gospel involve?
The short answer is E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. You, me, our friends, our family, our neighbors, and all the strangers we come into contact with every day. The Bible makes it clear that no one is righteous on their own, no matter how hard we try.
as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.Romans 3:10
That is a huge problem for us humans, with very weighty consequences. Depending on what we do with that truth, we can either be set free or we can remain in bondage.
I don’t want to tell the gospel as if it’s just another cute Bible story you hear in church–because it’s not. This is real life. No matter who you are or what you have done, the gospel is a message that you can choose to accept… or choose to ignore.
But since we are taking a look at the who of the gospel, let’s introduce some of the people involved.
Introducing the Main (and Central) Character
We have to start with God, because everything else started with Him too.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1
God is the only being Who has never had a beginning, and He will never have an ending. He created everything that we see and know today. He is the reason that life exists. Which is why, apart from Him, a whole lot of things don’t make any sense.
God created the world, and He said it was good. He said His creation of humanity was very good.
So why is our world today so very not good?
Enter: Humans and Sin
Now, I don’t want to turn this series into a debate about creation vs. evolution, or trying to prove history or science. That isn’t the point of this. But I Googled “who was the first human,” just for the fun of it, and the search results were not anything at all like I anticipated. It reminded me that the majority of the world does not believe what I do. They disregard all that the Bible says.
However, ignoring something doesn’t make it any less true or any less real. It just makes us ignorant. And believe me, that isn’t always bliss.
I just wanted to put that out there.
But back to the reason for this article…
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.Romans 1:25
We chose to turn away from what God intended for us, and to worship gods of our own making. And thus sin entered the world. And it continues to spread like a disease to all parts of God’s once-perfect universe.
That is why the world is no longer good.
Because of us.
Not only them or those people. But everyone.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.Romans 3:23
God gave us one “don’t”–don’t eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But we couldn’t even handle that much on our own. Ever since then, we have found so many other ways to disobey God and to make the world all about ourselves.
The Bible says the worker is worthy of his wages, but our sinful works never earn us anything but death. That is the price to be paid.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23
You’d think all was lost… God would get frustrated and leave us to fix our own mess. We have debts to pay. Penance to serve. But that is the exact opposite of what He did and what He asks of us.
Then Came Jesus
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. For God did not send His son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.John 3:16-17
God did the absolutely most unthinkable thing–He stepped down to our level and became one of us to endure the effects of sin with us. He didn’t go off to Mars to start another more perfect set of humans, or even laugh in our faces and say “I told you so.” He chose to meet us right in our mess.
Before we ever said we were sorry.
Before we ever understood the weight of our mistakes.
Before we ever tried to make it right, clean ourselves up, or prove to God we could do better.
Before we did anything in the direction of forgiveness, God sent Jesus to pay the price.
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!Romans 5:8
Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death–even to death on a cross.Philippians 2:7-8
If We Accept Him, We Are Made Holy Again
Why did Jesus have to die the most excruciating death that existed? I’m personally not sure why, beyond fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that “anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23), and Jesus had to take on the full wrath of God in order to set us free from it.
Because here’s the thing…
He didn’t only have to die just as it is appointed for all men to die once. He also had to endure the full wrath of God.
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!Hebrews 10:31
Because while love is God’s heart, judgment is His necessity. He must judge and punish sin because He is holy. A holy God cannot welcome sin into His presence.
But Jesus paid it all. He endured God’s cup of wrath so all we have to do is look to Him and say, “Yes, I believe You did that for me.”
Then He rose again to prove He had defeated death. Not just endured it, but also defeated it.
If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame,Romans 10:9-11
If we accept the gift of God–for it truly is a gift, not a result of our own works (Ephesians 2:8-9)–then we are made holy and can rest assured we will never be separated from God’s presence again.
Right Around Back to God
Our story started with God as our Creator, then we brought sin and death into the world, God came to earth to redeem our errors, and we can choose to accept His gift to be made holy again. But the story doesn’t end with us.
He is the central character, and everything always goes back to Him.
We so often make the gospel about us, and even worse, use it to our personal advantage. But I love what David Platt says in his book Radical:
We are not the end of the gospel; God is.Radical : Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
We now have the privilege of living our lives for His glory. And yes, that is a privilege.
Because the crazy thing is, God always wants us involved in His story. Even though we keep messing it up, He always invites us back. He always gives us a mission and a purpose to fulfill.
Just as God involved Adam in the beginning by assigning him the tasks of stewarding the garden and naming the animals, so now He has given us the great task of spreading the gospel that the world might be reconciled to Him.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’2 Corinthians 5:20
Make no mistake–God doesn’t need us. He does perfectly fine without our help. But the beauty of the gospel is that God wants us. He desires us and nothing pleases Him more than a person who’s willing to give Him their heart and say “Here am I. Send me.”
He wanted to dwell with us, so He did what it took to buy us back and welcome us into His presence again. It breaks His heart when we live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.Philippians 3:18-20
So that’s the who, and that’s the what.
Lord willing, we’ll get more into the when and the where next week.
I hope you’ll join me again!
Until then, I encourage you to think about the verses I’ve included in this article, and maybe do a little reading on your own. The whole book of Romans is a really great place to start.
And if you have any additional thoughts, the comments are open, as well as my email through the form on the “contact” page.
May we seek God this week!
In Christ now and always,