The Gospel

The Gospel » The Bible » The Bread & Wine

Many people today have no hunger for the message of the gospel. This is because the “modern gospel” tells people that Jesus will repair their broken marriages, remove their drug problems, and satisfy the longing of their hearts. Which, while gloriously true, severely limits the gospel’s field of influence. For if people think the message of the gospel is only for those with broken marriages, drug problems, and feelings of emptiness, then many will never see their need of the Saviour until it’s too late.
In truth, the gospel tells us we are sinners in need of forgiveness, law-breakers nearing a day when justice will be done. As such, the gospel is for those with broken marriages and those without broken marriages, those with drug problems and those without them, those who want to believe in something and those who don’t. Once you realise your need for God and the joy that he can bring, the gospel will be the greatest news you’ve ever heard!

the problem…

God created human beings to be free, thinking agents. However, most of the time, our freedom is used only to rebel against God’s Laws. The Bible calls this sin (1 John 3.4), saying that,

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” (Isaiah 53.6)

Today’s society prides itself on the ‘freedom’ it offers people. However, the sad and regrettable truth of the matter is that our societies are filled with clinics for every kind of vice imaginable: eating too much, not eating enough, sleeping too much, not sleepin enough, alcohol addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction, and even chocolate addiction. You name it, we run a clinic for it. Just as the Bible prophesied, we have become “lovers of our own selves” (2 Timothy 3.2). And sadly, much of modern day psychology only worsens this problem via its introspective focus. The Bible, however, gives us God’s diagnosis:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
“Whoever commits sin becomes a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)

Maybe you find this statement offensive. But stop and think about our history, with its wars, tyrannies, and constant failure to learn. Think about the number of times you’ve done the kinds of things you hate seeing other people do. Think about the general appetite of our society these days: the contents of the average soap opera (with its lust, adultery, jealousy, and deceit), the themes of the average computer game, the kinds of films people like watching. Think about the kind of music people like listening to and the way the people who make this music behave. Then think about the fact that 50 years ago, the actions of Elvis Presley were regarded as ‘outrageous’. Think about the kinds of things people like reading and gossiping about. Then try to imagine what life would be like without all these things. We like to distance ourself from some of the things that go on in the world around us; however, the truth of the matter is that we live in a world that has rebelled against God’s law and God’s word, and to a greater or a lesser extent we are all part of the problem.

the consequence…

The Bible is right when it refers to man as a ‘slave to sin’ (John 8:34). Yet the Bible warns us that the pleasure of sin is momentary, and its ultimate consequence ‘death’ (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 11:25). And ‘death’ in this context means not just physical death (separation of the soul from the body), but spiritual, eternal death (separation of the soul from its Maker).

justice…

The question, then, is the following: What does God think about all this, about what man has done to his creation? Should God tolerate man’s sin, or sweep it under the carpet somehow? Hardly. For what kind of judge turns a blind eye to crime, or associates with criminals in his spare time? A good judge ensures that sin is punished; and the better he is, the more thorough the job he’ll do. The Bible states the fact of the matter in an uncompromising way:

“No fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Eph 5.5-6)
“Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God…and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” (1 Cor 6.9-10; Rev 21.8)

On the face of it, this is desperately bad news. For who can claim that the descriptions of sin in these verses somehow pass over them? After all, how many murders does it take to make someone a murderer? One, right? So, how many lies does it take to make someone a ‘liar’? And how many acts of adultery does it take to make someone an ‘adulterer’?

Yet despite our failings, the Bible tells us that “most men will proclaim their own goodness…for the way of every man seems right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 20:6; 21:2). Even now, your wounded ego will probably be trying to find a way of justifying itself, of explaining why lying is OK in certain situations, or why there were special circumstances surrounding your particular acts (or thoughts) of adultery, or why stealing time from your employer doesn’t really count as theft, or why your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, etc. Yet the Bible warns that,

“He who exalts himself will be humbled, [whilst] he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23.12)

Tragically, pride will exclude millions from the Kingdom of God, for many would rather rely on their own goodness than to trust in God’s.

the solution…

The gospel, however, is good news. Specifically, it is the news that, in Christ, God came down to earth to save us from our sin. If you want to find out more about how Christ’s death on the cross can save you from your sin, please see take a look at our bread+wine page. Meanwhile, here are some promises of scripture for you to mull over:

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame…[and] whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10.9-13)
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…For [God] made [Christ], who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5.17-21)
“Whoever drinks of [the] water [of this world] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…[for it] will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4.13-14)
“My peace I give to you, not as the world gives [but as] I give…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 14.27, 16.33)