Dear fellow disciple-maker,
The word gospel means "news." It is a term that distinguishes the Christian message from that of other religions. The term gospel was news of a great historical event (such as a victory in a war). That explains why Christianity is centered on the gospel – the good news of the greatest event in history – the day that Jesus Christ, God's Son was born into the world.
The good news is simply this: God has entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a salvation that we could not achieve for ourselves. The gospel is the news of what God has done to reach us. It is not advice about what we must do to reach God.
One of the very first references to the historical event of Jesus coming into the world came from an angel to a group of ordinary shepherds on Christmas day: And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).
The gospel is good news in three important ways. First, the gospel is good
news of gracious acceptance. The gospel changes the way acceptance by God is
achieved. Many people (perhaps most) believe that God accepts people based on
their moral character, decency, commitment, or performance. The truth is all
people are flawed and sinful. Thankfully, we are loved and accepted because
Jesus came to live the life we could not live and die in our place on the cross.
The gospel declares the good news that we are simultaneously flawed, yet
accepted. Only Jesus makes that possible.
Second, the gospel is good news of changed lives. The good news is that God
not only gave us his Son, he gave us the Spirit of his Son to live in our
hearts. We are changed from the inside out because the very Spirit of God is now
real and here. Jesus lives in us! He is the one who changes our focus, our
values and our motivation. Although personal transformation is a slow process,
the Spirit of Jesus has the power to change us from what we are to what He is.
Only God can change human nature.
Third, the gospel is the good news of a new world coming. The plot-line of
the Bible is this: 1) God created the world, 2) The world and humanity fell into
sin, 3) God sent Jesus to redeem the world and create a new humanity, and 4)
Eventually the whole world will be renewed and God will create a new heaven and
a new earth. That future day has not arrived yet, but when it does there will be
no more sin, suffering, sickness or death. That is good news!
The good news of the gospel began on Christmas day and was fulfilled at the cross, when Jesus died for the sins of all people. His payment for our sins achieved for us a relationship with God that we could never achieve on our own. There is no greater proof of the love of God than this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).photo courtesy of Hillary Kladke
Let your celebration of Christmas this year be based on the good news that Jesus has come, died, raised from the dead and is now glorified in heaven. The battle is over! Jesus has won! The penalty of our sins has been paid! It is finished! God loves and accepts you just as you are. What a relief!
There is no need to keep on trying to be good enough so God will love you. The truth is we are all more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted that we ever dared hope. Believe the good news and have a Merry Christmas.
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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