[You can see a PDF of this post HERE.]
The gospel is the good news about what God has done in and through Jesus Christ to reconcile sinners to Himself. The following framework, what I like to call “the gospel pillars,” presents foundational truths by which we may rightly understand and receive the promises and blessings of the gospel:
GOD. There is only one true God and He has revealed Himself to us in His word (the Bible). He is the holy and just Creator of all things, sovereignly ruling over His creation. All praise, honor, and glory are due Him
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Psalm 5:4 “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.”
Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”
1 Timothy 1:17 “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
MAN. God created man (men and women) in His image and likeness, meaning we share certain characteristics with God and manage the earth under God’s kingship. However, we have sinned against God by breaking His holy commandments, seeking to live life in our own idolatrous way. Man is therefore separated from Him, spiritually dead, and will one day physically die. Since God is holy and just, there will come a day when God will judge mankind for their sins.
Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'”
Mark 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death….”
1 John 3:4 “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”
Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
CHRIST. In light of the previous two pillars, what mankind needs is a holy and righteous mediator (one who reconciles two parties). Jesus, the eternal Son of God in human flesh, is this holy and righteous mediator between God and man. He did what we could not do. He lived in perfect obedience to God’s law, suffered and died on the cross in the place of sinners (bearing their sin, guilt, and judgment), rose in victory from the grave (defeating sin and death), and now sits at the right hand of God the Father where He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is salvation in no one else.
John 1:1, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Acts 2:24 “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”
Romans 4:25 “[Christ] who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
COMMAND. The question remains, “How does this become good news for me?” Do you recognize that you have lived a life of sin against God, thus deserving His just wrath and judgment? Are you broken over these things? Do you desire to be forgiven of your sins and reconciled to God? Then repent and believe the gospel. To repent is in essence to have a radical change of mind regarding sin and God. It’s a change from loving sin and hating God to hating sin and loving God. To believe means to trust in the promises of God as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s to believe that Jesus is who the Bible says He is and that He has done what the Bible says He has done. Believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and you will be saved!
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Acts 20:21 “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 10:42-43 “And he [God the Father] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he [Jesus] is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Romans 10:13 “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
What now? Well, if you still don’t believe in the gospel, then I would encourage you to continue to think on these things. This is a matter of eternal life and eternal death. Take it seriously. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). My prayer is that you will enter through the narrow gate, which is in and through Jesus Christ.
However, if you have believed in the gospel, then it’s important for you to start attending a church where you’ll be able to meet other Christians, learn about the Bible (God’s word), worship the Lord, and grow as a Christian. However, you need to understand that there are good churches and bad churches. What you need to find is a church that is truly committed to the Bible, to the gospel, and to God’s glory. Compare everything to Scripture (the Bible). Follow this link for help on finding such a church near you. And please, don’t wait to read the Bible and pray to God. Begin now! If you have a Bible, then start reading one of the Gospels (the Gospel According to John is a good place to start). I would also encourage you to start reading the Psalms to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the majesty and wonderful works of God.