God does have a plan for our lives; for eternity, and concerning our relationships with others. The answer comes in the form of the Gospel, or Good News.
In order to understand why the Gospel is Good News, we need to take a look at the Bad…
The bad news is that man has a problem. The Bible calls this problem sin. Sin is disobedience to God. The Bible says that because we sin, we deserve death. (Rom. 6:23) Not only do we deserve it, but we receive it physically and spiritually (Heb 9:27).
One test to see if you’ve sinned is to look at the Ten Commandments:
- Have you ever lied? (Ex. 20:16)
- Have you ever taken anything that did not belong to you; no matter the value? (Ex 20:15)
- Have you always honored your mother and father? (Ex. 20:12)
- Most likely you haven’t murdered anyone, (Ex. 20:13) but Jesus said, “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matt. 5:21-22) We may not physically murder someone, but we do so in our hearts.
- Have you ever looked at another person with lust? (Ex. 20:14-“You shall not commit adultery”) Jesus said “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28)
You may be thinking to yourself, “Everyone has done at least one of these!”
This is why the Good News is so important! Jesus said, “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not have life, but will remain under God’s punishment.” (Jn. 3:36)
There’s more bad news…
Since all have sinned (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Rom. 3:23), and do not reach God’s standard of perfection (remember, it’s His standard we look to not our own-otherwise we’d have 7 billion standards!) we deserve death.
Romans 6:23 says the “wages of sin is death.” Since we’ve sinned we actually earned and deserve death. Eternal punishment and separation from God.
10 out of 10 people die. We all do. When this happens, we will stand before God and be judged. Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for men to die once, then the judgment.” Outside of Christ, all have earned and deserve hell.
People tend to use many excuses at this point:
- “God wouldn’t send me to hell; I’m basically a good person.” According to God’s standards we are not good people, but lawbreakers.
- “I believe that a good and loving God would never send anyone to hell.” Belief and truth are two different things. Whose belief matters, yours or mine? It doesn’t matter what we believe to be true; only what is true. Those who say God is “good and loving” usually agree that He is also “holy and just.” Since He is “holy and just,” He can’t allow lawbreakers to enter heaven. Would the state judge be “good and loving” if he allowed a guilty person to go free by appealing to his good nature? Of course not. Because the judge is a good judge and loves those he is charged in protecting, he executes justice that the law demands.
- “I’m not as bad as other people.” According to you, where does the line get drawn for how bad you have to be to go to hell? We are all bad. The Bible says that even our good deeds are like “filthy rags” before God. (Is. 64:6)
The bad news is that ALL PEOPLE are in the same boat. The person who gave you a gospel tract isn’t picking on you due to your religious background, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, or sports team affiliation!
There’s even more bad news…
There’s nothing you can do about it on your own.
People try all the time by trying to reach God in their own way. They say things like this:
- “I’m a member of a church.”
- “I’ve been baptized as a child.”
- “I pray every night and read the Bible.”
Notice how all these things start with “I?” The truth is that we simply aren’t good enough to o earn our way to heaven.
We need God to do something for us! We need Good News!
There’s Good News For You!
The Good News is that even though you and I deserve to be punished for disobeying God, He shows His love for us by providing the payment for the punishment we deserve through His Son. He is both just and loving in doing so!
- He is just because sin demands punishment. The only sacrifice that God will accept is the one the He provides for Himself. The perfect sacrifice of His sinless Son, Jesus Christ.
- He is loving because He provided something that we could not on our own.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
What do I need to do?
You need to be “born again.”
John 3:3 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
You become born again by repenting of your sin and putting your faith in Christ alone.
Mark 1:15 “Repent, and believe the gospel.”
Repentance is more than saying you are sorry. Of course a guilty sinner is sorry. To repent, you need to not only be sorry, but turn from your sin toward Christ. He is the payment for that sin.
Being good, baptism, or church membership does not save us. It is a gift from God that we cannot earn.
Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
To be born again, you must repent (turn from your sin) and believe the gospel (the Good News that Jesus died for your sins).
Would you like to do this today? Pray to Him in your own words that you repent of your sins and are turning to Christ for forgiveness. Psalm 51 is a good chapter to read. It describes how King David felt when he’d sinned against God. If you’ve turned to Christ or need more information, please contact me. I’d love to share more information with you.
I’ve been born again, what’s next?
If you’ve been born again, God now resides within you in the form of the Holy Spirit. You’ll want to:
- Start reading the Bible and praying daily. Begin with the Gospel of John and start with praying to the Lord at mealtime. Each time you eat, you’ll be reminded to pray.
- Find a more mature believer to walk with you as you discover your faith. This is called discipleship. You’ll read, pray, and share your faith together.
- Find a Bible believing church to attend. You’ll have a desire to worship and study with other believers.
- Share the gospel with others! God saved you through the gospel message; now you’ll want others to hear as well.