The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings. That problem is simply this: God is holy and just, and we are not. And at the end of our lives, we are going to stand before this just and holy God, and we will be judged. And we will be judged either on the basis of our own righteousness (or lack of it) or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God's law, not for his own sake but for all those who truly believe in him. Jesus has done for us what we could not possibly do for ourselves. Not only has he lived a life of perfect obedience, he also offered himself as a perfect sacrifice on the cross to satisfy the justice of God. What amazing love!
The great misconception in our day is that God isn’t concerned to protect his own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive us is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of his own Son. So infinitely valuable was that sacrifice that God raised Jesus from the dead. Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification.
So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what he has done. But it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus made our very own? How do we receive these wonderful blessings? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified and accepted by God, not by our good works or religious observations or spiritual experiences, but by faith– and by faith alone. The only way we can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by turning from our sins in heartfelt repentance and putting our trust in him– and in him alone. If we do this, God will declare us to be righteous, he will forgive all our sins, he will adopt us into his family, and he will strengthen and guide us as we begin to walk along the narrow path which leads to heaven- a place of perfect love and peace and joy in the presence of God forever!
Great is the gospel of our glorious God! And this is the gospel we love and proclaim at Ebenezer Baptist Church.