The Gospel matters most. It shapes our identity and dictates how we live. The Gospel is the starting and ending point for all things in the Christian life. If we get this wrong, nothing else matters. This is a brief explanation of the Gospel. We hear the Gospel explained and applied each week through liturgy, song, and preaching. Listen to sermons here.
What is the Gospel?
The word “gospel” literally means good news. It begins in the beginning, when God created everything and said “it is good!” The first man and woman, however, decided to rebel against God by disobeying Him. Ever since then, every person that has ever lived has rebelled against God. In order to bring people back into relationship with Himself, God sacrificed Himself, paying the price for our rebellion in our place. Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, came to the world, served people, was nailed to a cross though He was completely innocent, was placed in a grave, and rose up from death to life. When it is time, Jesus will come back to rescue His people, judge the world, and make all things new. Jesus suffered the punishment that every person deserves for their sin. However, that is not all that Jesus did.
He didn’t just take the punishment for sin through His death on the cross, but before that, Jesus lived a perfect life. He met the standard of perfection that God requires of us. So Jesus did not only come to pay for our imperfection through His death on the cross, He came to be our perfection through His sinless life. He did this so that we would not suffer the condemnation and punishment for our sin, and that we can receive the credit for Jesus’ perfect and righteous life, thus being reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is only through Him that people can be reconciled to God.
The good news, then, is that we can have an eternal relationship with God through Jesus. Salvation is given by grace (we can’t earn it), through faith in the person and work of Jesus. Every person was created to have a relationship with God. Unfortunately, sin inherited from Adam and committed by every person, changed every person’s relationship with God. Sent on a rescue mission, Jesus came to earth to live a perfect life and die a criminal’s death in the place of every person who trusts in Him. Through Christ’s atoning work and resurrection, people can now have a right relationship with God. Through faith in what Jesus has done, believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit until they are one day united with God through death or Jesus’ second coming.
How should I respond to the Gospel?
Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and a leader in the early church, proclaimed the Good News to a crowd. The audience responded by asking, “What should we do?” Peter directed them to “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). You, also, should respond to the Gospel in this way.
First, you should repent of your sin condition. Repent simply means to turn back, away from, or towards. The proper reaction to the Gospel is turning away from your sin and toward God. Repentance is then followed by baptism.
Baptism should be offered to a confessing believer of Jesus Christ and involves full submersion of the believer into water. It represents death, burial, and resurrection and associates the believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism follows salvation, it does not impart salvation! Baptism is performed in the context of a local, Bible-believing, Gospel-centered church.
The New Testament commands Christians to be involved in a local church after conversion.