The good news
The word gospel means good news. The gospel is the great central message of all the Bible. But this message is often distorted and confused. The gospel is not simply about having a purpose in life or being successful. The gospel is good news because it addresses our greatest need as human beings. We need to be forgiven of our sin and brought into a right relationship with the God who made us.
The Bible says that we have all sinned; we have all fallen short of God’s standard, which is absolute goodness. For this, we deserve eternal punishment and separation from God. God is not a God who lets sin go unpunished.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here’s the good news: God has provided a way for us to be forgiven and restored into a right relationship with him. Jesus, who—though it’s hard for us to grasp—is himself God and the son of God, lived a perfect, wholly righteous life on earth, but then accepted the punishment for my sins when he was executed, nailed to a wooden cross. God gave Jesus the punishment that I deserve. Jesus was raised from the dead after three days, and he now represents me to God the Father in heaven, declaring my sins are forgiven, the punishment I deserve has been delivered. And not only did Jesus accept the punishment for my sins, God counts Jesus’s righteousness as my own.
God gave Jesus my punishment, and he gives me Jesus’s righteousness! I am forgiven, and I have been given the righteousness I need to be right with God. I now and forever have a right relationship with God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This is what we mean when we sing “Amazing Grace.” Grace—God’s infinite goodness to me—isn’t something I can earn. He gives me grace and makes me his own because he loves me. Amazing!
If you can’t earn God’s grace, though, then what? The Bible teaches that you can be made right with God only by faith—by trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation. When you do this, God declares you forgiven and righteous, and he adopts you into his family. You begin a new life that will last forever with God, your loving father.