Sometimes I take for granted that everyone reads what we put up on our Learn section, knows and understands the gospel. I think we even sometimes assume that all that participate in helping serve a need understand the gospel, so I thought it would be a great thing to explain.
We are sinners. Romans 3:23 says that we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Psalm 51:5 says that “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”. God gave Moses a moral written law known as the ten commandments. These commandments were established as God’s moral perfection standard which has served as a mirror to reflect our failure to live up to this standard. In Romans 5:20 it says “the law was brought in so that the trespass might increase…”.
All through the Old Testament we see Israel, as God’s chosen example, falling short time and again of this moral standard. The Law condemned everyone. It stood as a beacon of a perfection standard that no one could live up to. This was understood by the Jewish people. David writes in Psalms 14:3 “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one”. Romans 3:10-12 reiterates this verse. Even when you and I hold the ten commandments up to our own morality, we fail miserably!
When was the last time you have told a lie? When was the last time you coveted something someone else had? When was the last time you committed adultery? No… maybe not that one… well, Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 that whoever looks at someone lustfully has already committed adultery with that person in their heart. What about murder? In Matthew 5:22 Jesus likens anger as murder! We are guilty!!!
What is the penalty for guilty sinners like us? Romans 6:23 tells us that the penalty for sin is death! Death simply means “separation”. When we die our souls become separated from our body. This is the “first” death, but there is another death where we become separated from God for all eternity. God is all things good… gravity, health, comfort, longevity, etc., When we are separated from all that is good, we are now joined with everything that is not good and cast into a lake of fire. This is the “second death” that is referred to in Revelation 20:14.
How can we pay this penalty and be pardoned? Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. This is why every year, the Jewish people had to offer an “atonement” sacrifice through the high priest. This sacrifice showed by faith, that God’s future promise to send a redeemer would be the sufficient sacrifice one for all, but until the Messiah came, they had to continually offer the spotless lambs.
Why paint this picture so black you might ask? Think of it like this. When examining a diamond, a precious jewel, what is the first thing the jeweler does to showcase that diamond? He places it on a black cloth and then shines light on it. The diamond becomes resilient on the black setting and the light draws your eyes to it.
We've placed the black cloth, now let’s cast light on the precious stone of the gospel message. To finish the passage in Romans 5:20 where the law was brought in so that sin might increase it says “… But where sin increased, grace increase all the more”. In Romans 5:8 it says that God demonstrates His love to us that while we are even still sinning, Christ died for us. God sends Christ as the perfect blood sacrifice to satisfy God’s justice and wrath that was stored up. Instead of allowing us by perfect justice to take our own penalty, Christ takes that stored cup and drinks it down! Not only satisfying the payment, but staying the execution. Three days after finishing this, he arises and conquers the grave to return as our advocate!
Just imagine for a moment, you stood in a courtroom guilty of a crime. You know you're guilty, the jury knows it, the judge knows it, your lawyer knows it… you are guilty. The judge hands down a fine and a sentence… 100 million dollars and you will die by lethal injection. There is nothing you can do at this point, but a man walks in. He gives the judge a briefcase with the money and then goes to the lethal injection room in your stead. He takes all those drugs into his veins and dies. He satisfies your payment and receives your execution. The judge turns to you and says “You are free to go, this man has paid your fine and assumed your judgement”. What would you do? Would you accept this gift and leave the courtroom? Would you deny that the man ever did anything on your behalf? Would you assume arrogance and defiantly say “No way! I can pay my own way!”.
Hopefully, being a rational person, you would fall to your knees in brokenness, amazed that someone you have NEVER invested in or knew, assumed EVERYTHING you deserved? Would you not tell everyone what this man did for you? Would you not try to learn why? Would life not be CONSUMED with trying to understand the goodness that would be inherit in someone to offer such a sacrifice on your behalf?
This is what Christ has done for us! Our response should be of brokeness, repentance and belief in His ability to satisfy God's wrath (faith)! Would you continue in the life that led you to that point? Would you deny in unbelief what that man had done for you? God calls us to repentance and to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Belief equals a change life (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
My friends, this is the gospel… Lost, hopeless, guilty sinners redeemed by a God that loved us even while we were still sinning and us responding in repentance to it and faith in Jesus. You were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Know the story of redemption; know YOUR story of redemption!