Are you confused about the gospel message? Do you hear people sharing a different gospel? You’re not alone.
The gospel means “Good News,” so what is the bad news? We’re sinners who need Jesus Christ’s atonement for our sins. You may ask what that means and why. Let me explain.
Adam and Eve, the first humans, chose self-will (disobedience – sin), and the devil/serpent’s lies over obeying God when they ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Because God is all righteous and just, they were cursed along with the Earth (Genesis 3:1-24).
As a result, we are born into sin and cannot get into God’s Kingdom through any works of our own. Even if we think we are good, our motives are sinful and self-seeking. Even if we break one biblical law, we are guilty “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all“ (James 2:10). “There is no one righteous, not even one; there’s not one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11-12). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“ (Romans 3:23). You see, God is the most Righteous, Perfect, and Powerful Being in existence, and there is no deceit in Him! (1 Peter 2:22)
Because God hates sin and is just, there must be punishment for our sins. Like a judge on Earth would place a criminal in jail or prison, Jesus Christ is the ultimate Judge, even about the sins in our hearts. But we cannot meet God’s standard of holiness on our own, and the wages of sin are death and punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:14); (Romans 6:23); (Revelation 21:8).
Jesus Christ described the punishment of Hell fire. He spoke, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me; it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:42-44 KJV) He also said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewish perish”(Luke 13:3 KJV)
Christ was explaining how serious it is for us to repent or there will be punishment. Christ came down in the flesh to pay the punishment for the sins of those who trust in Him! This is the good news, but it does not mean that once we are saved we can keep on willfully sinning! We must keep with repentance, and we can only do that because the Holy Spirit helps us! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believeth on [H]im should not perish, but have eternal life.“ (John 3:16 ASV).
The Bible says to “believe on” Christ. You may want to know what that means. The Greek transliteration behind the word “believe” in the Bible is “pisteuo,” which means to trust. So, “believe” means to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When we do this, we trust every word He spoke, as well! We know what words He spoke because they are recorded in the Bible also called “The Word of God” or “the Word.”
Jesus Christ is also called “the Word” (John 1:1-5, 9-14, 17), and He has always existed. He is God and One with the Father (John 1:17), (John 10:28-30), and He’s the only way to the Father. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7 KJV)
Because we are not good enough to earn our salvation, the Father sent Jesus Christ (and Christ agreed (John 10:18)) to pay the punishment for the past, present, and future sins of all those who trust in Christ, repent (turn away from self-lordship) in their hearts, and agree to follow Him!
Also, what He said below demonstrates the need for us to repent, trust, and follow. “Then said “Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 KJV)
If you seek salvation, begin by asking the Father for your salvation and for help reading the Bible, and pray in Jesus Christ’s name. A good place to begin reading is one of the first four books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). (John 14:13). “At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you.“ (John 16:26) “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” (Luke 11:13)
It’s also important to know that the Bible is the source of truth by which to measure all doctrine and be sanctified. (John 17:17), (John 8:31), (John 5:39), (2 Timothy 3:16), (Hebrews 4:12), (James 1:22), (1 Peter 2:8), (2 Peter 1:21). We need to read, study, and replace lies with the truth in God’s Word, as some false teachings and influences distract, teach us a false gospel, and put us into spiritual bondage. Humans are fallible and can all fall into biblical error. So, we read the Bible to “examine the Scriptures daily…to see if these things were so.” “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.“ (Acts 17:11 ESV).
It is also important to be in a true bible-based church and bible study group, but self-study alone with the Holy Spirit is necessary. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Truth, and He, along with biblical truth, sets people free from the slavery of sin and eternal death (John 8:32)!
So, saving faith (trust) is not only believing in Jesus Christ’s existence, as scripture says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder“ (James 2:19 ESV), and not only believing that He died for our sins, but genuinely trusting in Him, and His words, coming to repentance, and agreeing to follow Him instead of ourselves. God helps us do this, as faith and repentance are gifts. Once we receive the Holy Spirit, He helps us follow Him! Born-again Christians seek to keep with repentance, and the Lord helps us do that, as well!
Through saving faith (trust) and repentance, Jesus Christ’s righteousness is declared to us, and our sinful debts are paid in full because of His suffering and dying on the cross as the punishment for our sins. The Lord delivers us from the slavery of sin and transforms His followers by baptizing us with His Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us. (Mark 1:8). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:“ – John 10:27 KJV; “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour.“ (John 12:26 KJV)
Also, while I was suffering tremendously, I had wanted God to take away all my dire circumstances. I initially sought Him with all my might so that He would relieve me because I had already thought I was saved at times, but once I opened the Bible, Jesus Christ’s words that we are to seek Him and His righteousness first sunk in.
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:31-34 KJV) [Emphasis Added].
So, again, the good news is to repent from self-lordship (which encompasses all sin) and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! Your sins will be forgiven, you will be delivered from the slavery of sin, made a new creation in Jesus Christ, receive the Holy Spirit, be reconciled to the Father, and receive eternal life! So much takes place during this beautiful passing from spiritual death to spiritual life!
We are not perfect, but true inward transformation happens while we are living here on Earth. We are born again at the moment of salvation, which is the moment we receive and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (Ephesians 1:13)!
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” – John 3:3, 7 KJV; “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23 KJV)
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38); “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19); “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30)
Some More Words on Reading the Bible
Again, reading the Bible is the only way to know about the real Jesus Christ and to ensure we’re not trusting in a false Christ being preached. Jesus said people would deceive many by saying they are Christ and teaching false doctrine. “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many“ (Matthew 24:5). So, we seek to know His character in prayer and through His Words recorded in scripture.
The next question may be, “Well, can I trust in the credibility of the Bible? Yes! You can trust scripture more than any human! Jesus Christ’s words are recorded, and they are life! Because He is God, His words trump any contradictory man-made teachings or traditions that oppose what’s recorded. Some churches teach a false gospel, only memorize a part of the gospel message, or teach people to follow self instead of Jesus Christ. Some do so because they’re ignorant, deceived, or purposely trying to prevent people from finding and knowing Jesus Christ. The Bible is the source of truth by which we measure all doctrine. A great book about the credibility of the Bible, and examining the truth about Christ, is More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell. A free PDF is available: http://www.voiceofthewatchman.org/warriorsofgod/More_Than_a_Carpenter-Josh_McDowell.pdf.
The Greek transliteration behind the word “believe” in the Bible is “pisteuō,” which means to trust in Jesus Christ. If you trust Him, you will want to follow Him, and He will help you do it, and so takes scriptural steps and do it!
“Lexicon :: Strong’s G4100 – pisteuō….
Pronunciation pe-styü’-o (Key) ….
“Part of Speech
Root Word (Etymology)
From πίστις (G4102)
Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
πιστεύωpisteúō, pist-yoo’-o; from G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.” G4100 – pisteuō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (KJV).