This is a post about my faith and the “Easter” holiday. As long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve written about the resurrection of Christ on “Easter” weekend. This will be my 4th post on Easter. The first one was about one of the words Christ proclaimed from the cross, “Tetelestai” (An accounting term for it is Finished – the legal debt he was paying was paid) and some of the scholars who have become Christians while striving to disprove the resurrection. The second year was about living in light of an empty tomb. Last year I talked about the temple veil being torn when Christ died and what it signified.
This year, I want to talk about the Gospel of Christ. The Good News that Christ offers the world.
The Gospel Isn’t
To get some examples of what the Gospel isn’t, I can look to what I thought it was before I was a Christian. I can look to what often hear people ask or say about Christianity. It isn’t:
- A set of rules designed to rob you joy – In fact it isn’t even a set of rules.
- Something that requires math or science skills to decipher – It isn’t a secret formula that only some can know and others can figure out. It isn’t something you have to go through an intermediary to understand.
- Scales that balance your good and your bad and having your good just tip over the bad
- Giving the right amount of money to some church
- Having someone tell you you are mostly good and well intentioned so everything is fine
- Going to the right church
The Gospel Is
The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ – the Righteous Son of God died to satisfy the punishment of our sins, rose again on the third day triumphant over death and sin. Through that death, salvation is offered to anyone who believes and trusts in Jesus and His works on the cross proved through his resurrection. There is no condemnation for those who believe – the wrath of God that we all deserve is put off through Christ’s actions.
You see. The Bible declares that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) - and you don’t have to look too hard to see that that is true. God’s law is clear and precise. Ever tell a lie? Ever look with lust? Ever get so angry that you’ve hated? Have you ever not loved God with all your heart and loved your neighbor as yourself? Then you are like me – a sinner.
The Bible then says that there is a punishment for that sin – death (Romans 6:23 Isaiah 59:2) – eternal separation from Christ. You see God is righteous and we can’t enter His presence in our unrighteous state. In fact – He hates our sin. Our sin compared to His Righteousness fully condemns us and leaves us all in deserve of Hell. There is no other place for us. We deserve the punishment that God has in store for sinners.
That’s what makes the gospel so good.. We have no ability to earn our salvation. We have no hope on our own. We can’t even want to have a relationship with God on our own without His grace leading us there. But God made the move. He sent Christ to take on our sins – receive the punishment for them (and that punishment wasn’t just the horrible physical torture – He was cursed on that cross (Galatians 3:13) He bore the full weight of our sins. The pure and spotless Lamb of Christ became a curse on behalf of a bunch of sinners (myself included) who didn’t deserve or want the gift He was offering.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible explains this:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 5:6-8
The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Answer
(Or.. What will you do with the Gospel Message?)
Who is Jesus Christ to you? This isn’t an optional question. The Bible tells us that everyone will answer this question. Ignoring the question in this life is still answer. If you choose indecision here, you’ve made your choice. Either He is the Righteous Son of God who took on your sins, who clothed you in His Righteousness and is your Savior – your Lord – or He isn’t.
That’s uncomfortable. It’s offensive to many. But it’s God’s truth. And the answer to this question isn’t just a matter of where you spend eternity – though that does ride on the answer. The answer is about your life here, also. Either you’ll live your life seeking to please God, knowing that you are not forsaken, having the hope and assurance that is offered through the acts we celebrate on Easter weekend – or you won’t.
The Gospel Message Is Still Relevant To Christians
I see a lot of Christians putting the thought in people’s heads that this walk in faith is about rules and key performance indicators. If you can answer the “Who is Christ to you?” question as your savior – then you need to step back and really get lost on the Gospel more. I can say this because I know I need to.
You see, central to this Gospel message is the fact that we cannot earn this salvation. We do not deserve it. It wouldn’t be “good news” if it was just one more way. It’s good news because a way was opened up to something that we couldn’t attain on our own.
It’s beyond that. In fact – we deserve Hell. We deserve suffering. We deserve any curse ever called out in the bible. We deserve the curse that God placed on His Son on that cross. Yes Jesus came in love, yes Jesus went to that cross in love and obedience – but that wasn’t love being poured out on Christ on that cross. That was the wrath we deserve.
Too many Christians (myself included) live “God and I” lives. We gloat about holiness, we brag about rules we follow, we seem to fall into the trap of believing that we are somehow adding something to our salvation, our assurance or our growth as Christians. And that throws people off. That makes people believe that there is some secret formula and handshake or rulebook. Nothing could be further from the truth. We didn’t add a single thing to our salvation – we didn’t even want our salvation without God’s grace leading us there. So why then, do we think we can add anything on to it after the fact? Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, the Bible tells us so. We aren’t saved because there is some redeeming trait in us that God just couldn’t live without having in Heaven. We aren’t saved because God knew that we would eventually somehow fully follow the law (which none of us can do! Go read Romans 6 a few times). Our churches are and will remain full of sinners. Even the most God honoring church is full of sinners – sinners saved by grace. We need to remember that. I need to remember that.
If you are a Christian, reflect on your salvation. Reflect on who you are in the light of a Holy God. Reflect on God’s love, yes, but reflect on just what it means to have his wrath poured out on Christ. What it means that your sins were imputed onto Christ on that cross. Reflect that the most important question you can answer is who Christ is to you. That means so much. Christ is everything to you, he is everything to me. But in this easy life we have in the Western world we can forget what that means. We have security, we are eating, we have fun, we have friends, we have relatively good lives – most of us. When we have so much we can sometimes forget about what this means. What we have been given is so precious that it can never be taken away. We didn’t earn it, we couldn’t, and we can’t lose it. If you are Christ’s and He is yours – it doesn’t matter how bad your day or your life gets.
If you aren’t a Christian. Please look up some of the verses I mentioned, watch the video below. Ask yourself what you thought the Gospel message was. So many don’t hear the real Gospel. They don’t get presented the real gospel. They either get presented some set of rules or some watered down mush – but not the simple message that Christ died for the ungodly, He was resurrected and He has the power to cleanse you from your sins and remove all condemnation from you.
This video explains the Gospel.
This site explains salvation. It is my sincere prayer that you trust Christ and that you can enjoy resurrection Sunday like you never have before.