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What is the Gospel?

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I just received bad news.

About an hour ago, I received the news that a good friend’s grandmother passed away. In a few days, we’ll be celebrating Easter starting with Good Friday. Good Friday is good news. The Son of God passed away – but how can that be good?

Let’s start from the beginning, because that’s where it all begins. The bible starts with: “In the beginning God”. God started this from the beginning. He owns everything because he created everything. From the beginning, God has had a plan for this world, and for you and me.

Believe it or not, he also had a plan to save his people. But save his people from what? And why are they his people? The answer is because we stopped being God’s people in the third chapter of the bible. The head of humanity and his wife rejected God, and chose to be their own gods. Not just that: everyday we also reject God, choosing to be our own gods. This is called sin.

The consequences of this are huge. Because God is the creator, he is the source of life. With ourselves as gods, we cannot have life. Without the true God, we have death. This world is twisted and corrupt because we all try to be gods, when in reality it only works when there’s one God.

But from the first humans comes a nation called Israel, and God provides for them. He gives them prophets so they can learn about him, priests so they can have their sins cleansed, and kings to rule God’s kingdom. However, we see in the first half of the bible (the Old Testament) example after example of this nation failing to meet God’s standards. Because they are filled with sin, they cannot truly be with a sinless God.

This is why God planned a way for his people to be saved from death to life. God’s own Son was to be the way. His Son, Jesus, would come and save God’s people. And these people were not just Israel, but from the whole world. In the New Testament, we see that the Son of God came to be the true prophet by speaking God’s truth in all truthfulness. He came to be the true priest by defeating sin once for all, and he came to be the true king by ruling God’s kingdom forever.

Because we couldn’t go to God, Jesus, the Son of God, came to be a human so he could be with us. Unlike us, Jesus lived a perfect, sin-free life. He lived and taught the truths of God; until we killed him. Humans didn’t like that he was so God-like, for we have always rejected God.

On Good Friday 2000 years ago, Jesus died. What was God doing? Didn’t he have a plan? Did it fail because his Son died?
No. This was the plan. You see, the price of sin is death. Choosing death over life will plainly result in you receiving death. The only way Jesus could properly make a way for sinful people to be with a sinless God is to take away their sin. And this is what he did, by taking the punishment on himself.

Easter Saturday is not often talked about, but it was a grim day. Then Sunday came, and God rose Jesus from the dead. The life-giver gave life to Jesus, and he lives. His initiation ritual into kingship was his death, so that he might rise and conquer the final enemy that no king could defeat.

He then ascended back to heaven, where he still works as the true prophet, mediates as the true priest, and rules as the true king. This is what he’s doing right now, but he’s promised to come back and set things right. Think of the third movie from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, titled ‘The Return of The King’. This is what we’re waiting for. The series is not yet complete. The king of the universe is coming back to save his people from sin and death.

Who are his people? The bible says that the marks of someone inside God’s kingdom are faith and repentance. Faith is trusting that this is true, and following Jesus as the king. Repentance is sorrow over your sin, and turning to life instead of death.

We can be part of God’s kingdom now, but not yet. Jesus will take us to his father’s kingdom, heaven, but for now we are waiting with a secure promise. How secure is this promise? As sure as Jesus died and rose, we will not stay in sin and death but rise to the kingdom of heaven and be with God.

As we live in this fallen world awaiting his return, God has given us his Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a sign and seal that we are part of God’s kingdom. He helps us follow Jesus and live as part of God’s kingdom. When Jesus returns he will judge the world, and that includes you and me. Those in his kingdom he has paid the price for, and those outside of his kingdom will get what they want. If you know and love this Jesus, he promises to have already taken the punishment for all your sins. He promises that on the last day, you will enter the kingdom of heaven with the rest of us.

The gospel is good news because through the horrific death of God’s Son, God will adopt a family of children. God’s adopting of us into his family isn’t based on who we are or what we do, but on who the true Son is and what he has done – once for all. This is the gospel of grace.

Are you a part of this family? What’s stopping you from entering God’s kingdom? What’s your alternative to Jesus?

We hope you join us on this journey. For now, we’re travelling home.

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