Over the next several posts, we’ll be looking at how the gospel is revealed in every text of Scripture, and then we’ll consider how we can properly respond to such revelation. However, before we examine these beautiful realities, it would be best to give a clear definition the gospel.
In short, the gospel is the good news of God’s saving grace toward sinners.
God created the world to be a trophy-case of His glory, to show off the beauty of His incredible greatness. Since God’s character must express itself, He created the world to experience the fullness of Himself. For example, in order to love someone, there must be an object upon which to express your love. God, being immeasurably glorious, created objects upon which He might extend the expression of His glory. And for their enjoyment, those creatures would have the unique privilege of reflecting His glory back to Him. You see, God was fully self-satisfied without creating mankind, and yet the glorious joy of His character compelled Him to express that in an overflowing manner so that His glorious joy might be enjoyed by others. Thus, God created all the world to reflect the beauty of His glory, and mankind was the pinnacle of God’s creation. It was precisely in this embodiment of God’s glory that mankind experienced ultimate joy and purpose.
Mankind was created in the image of God as a tangible, finite representation of His infinite glory. Mankind was given the amazing privilege of being the caretaker of creation, as a vice-regent of the Cosmic King. In caring for the Garden of Eden as God specified, mankind would experience perpetual intimacy with God; they being the recipients of His love and satisfaction and He being the object of their worship. Yet, as we all know, mankind rebelled against God by ignoring His counsel and serving themselves. Mankind was not content to worship and obey God, but instead sought to exalt themselves and lean on their own understanding. As a result of their sin, mankind experienced separation from the Holy Creator and experienced the pending wrath of a Righteous Judge. The sin that alienated man from God brought fallen-ness and death upon the entire created world. Mankind no longer had the essence of life and had no ability to restore all that had been lost. That same reality that plagued mankind from the earliest days of sin has continued to each one of us who have followed-suit by living self-centered lives of our own.
Christ, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh to live in our fallen world amongst fallen people. He came in the world, not to condemn the world but to save it. While being tempted in every way that we are, He overcame sin. He lived a life of perfect obedience and was without sin, and died a sinner’s death, becoming the curse for us. He lived the life that we should have lived and died the death that we deserved. He bore the weight of our sin and endured the Father’s wrath that we so aptly deserved, and offered to us deliverance from sin and death through our faith in Him.
The only saving response is to run to Christ for salvation. Jesus called sinners to repent and believe. He told them to turn from their sin and the horrible consequences that it so rightly deserved, and to instead turn to Him for salvation by putting complete trust in Him to save them. Instead of trusting in their own imperfect works or clinging to the things of this world, they are to put their trust in Him as their only source of hope, security, and satisfaction. He, as the Son of God, is the only adequate object of our affection. Through loving Him as our greatest treasure, God has promised eternal life and unending satisfaction in the life to come. The heart longs for something more, something greater, something lasting… Jesus Christ is the only person in whom our greatest longings may be fulfilled. He is the only person by which we might escape the coming justice due us because of our trespasses against our Creator’s law. He offers us an opportunity to find amnesty through our union with Him. The King shows mercy to those who honor His Son, and welcomes to His table those who otherwise had no entrance to the feast. Those who refuse to respond to God’s offer of salvation will experience an eternity of His wrath. And the rest of creation will once again be restored to a beautiful reflection of His beauty and glory.
May you recognize God as the cosmic authority, yourself as a great sinner, Christ as a great Savior, and your need to turn from your sin and put your trust entirely in Christ to save you. By those means alone, will you experience salvation from sin and death as God saves you and changes your heart to be more reflective of His.