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I pray that our hearts will be open and ready to receive and hear God’s word Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now that we have talked about what salvation is and why it is important, I bet you want to know how salvation occurs. But before we do that, let’s look deeply and fully into what the gospel of Jesus is all about. The message that saves.
What is the gospel?
The Greek word for, the gospel is, “Euangelion.”
Euangelion simply means “Good News.”
However, there is a lot of good news out there. There is false good news (gospel) and there is good news about temporary things such as getting a new car or house, graduating from school, etc.
But there is particularly the good news (gospel) that we must BELIEVE in to be saved. Every other good news will only result in heightened feelings of happiness, temporary joy but will not result in faith. The only good news that gives faith, eternal joy and salvation to its hearer is the Gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ
What then is the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Let’s look in the Bible for answers.
Romans 1: 1-4 (GNT)
From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus and an apostle chosen and called by God to preach his Good News. 2 The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures. 3 It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; 4 as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death.
Paul begins his letter to the Romans by introducing himself as an apostle called to preach the good news. He goes on to tell us who the good news is about. It is about Jesus’s Christ, God’s son. He also mentioned that the good news (gospel) was promised a long time ago through the prophets and was written in the Holy Scriptures (old testaments) even before the birth of Jesus on earth as a human.
So we are clear and certain that the gospel (good news) is about Jesus Christ.
Now, let’s see clearly what this good news of Jesus is in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (GNT)
“And now I want to remind you, my friends, of the Good News which I preached to you, which you received, and on which your faith stands firm. 2 That is the gospel, the message that I preached to you. You are saved by the gospel if you hold firmly to it—unless it was for nothing that you believed.
3 I passed on to you what I received, which is of the greatest importance: that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; 4 that he was buried and that he was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures,”
Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians writes to remind them of the gospel he preached to them and the importance of Christ’s resurrection amongst other things he wrote to them about.
He reminds them that the Gospel he preached to them and they received and believed in SAVED them unless they did not truly believe. The problem was not the gospel but their heart (We will look at this more in-depth later in this book or series). The gospel of Jesus Christ saves and saved completely if we believe it. He goes on to explicitly spell out what the gospel is for them in vs 3-4.
He says that the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ that we ought to believe in and be saved by is: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
That is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It simply tells us that Jesus is the CHRIST (Meaning: Savior or Messiah) and he has done what he ought to do to save us. All we need to do is believe it.
God gave Jesus as the atonement sacrifice through the shedding of his blood which we must receive by FAITH (Romans 3:25).
In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul says this to Timothy, his faith son,
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
A savior or messiah saves. Jesus specifically came to save sinners. All of mankind on earth by default fall under this category. So, he came to save mankind from sin and its penalty death.
And Jesus did this by dying for our sins and resurrecting from the dead signifying the assurance of eternal life.
The resurrection of Jesus is very significant and must be believed. People often listen when you talk about Jesus’ death and his burial but at the mention of his resurrection, they stumble and take offense. They can’t believe that part.
“How can someone come back from the dead,” they say.
But Jesus did come back from the dead on the third day. It is the truth and evident by history. It’s not enough to believe his death and burial. Salvation is made complete in our hearts when we believe in Jesus’ resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from death is the foundation on which our faith must stand.
If Jesus simply died for our sins and stayed dead then it’s all in vain. Why then do we bother to live a righteous and holy life?
Why are we wasting time doing good works? Why even bother to get saved, to begin with, if we will all face death anyway? We might as well just drink, party and be merry. Just LIVE as your please! (See 1 Corinthians 15: 12 – 34).
That is what makes the resurrection of Jesus significant and why we must believe in it to be saved. Because it’s our hope. Our hope that we have eternal life. Our hope that living a set apart like from the world is not in vain. We have an assurance of eternal life because of him whom we place our faith and believe in LIVES. He is alive.
I told you we were going to finish reading the book of John 3 which we started in the previous part of the series. We stopped at verse 15. So let’s pick it up from verse 16.
John 3:16 is a very popular and easily quoted verse among Christians. I do not think this is a coincidence. I believe that God intentional made the most popular Bible verse among his people and even some unbelievers the one that spells out his love and work of salvation. But I fear that many have been blinded to the significance, grace, and light in this bible verse due to familiarity and lack of understanding.
This simple bible verse (John 3:16) is very revelational and joy-giving.
John 3:16 spells out the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just one verse sums it all up.
Roll with me as the Holy Spirit takes us through, breaks down this verse and opens our eyes, ears, and heart.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
1. For God so Loved the World
If we go back to the beginning of the creation of man and woman. God gave man full freedom to do anything and eat anything in the garden of Eden except the eating/touching from/of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they did, they would die. Let’s see what happened after that.
Genesis 3: 1-5
“3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Notice that the serpent basically told Eve that God lied to her and she should not believe him (God) because he deceived her. But you see all God has always wanted from man is man’s total faith and belief in him. Satan knew that and he triggered the sin of unbelief in Eve’s heart. She doubted the truth God told her. Rather than believing God, she believed Satan and this birthed a sinful desire for the fruit.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
“You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” Said, God.
God did not lie. They did die.
You might say no, they didn’t.
But yes they did. Physically, they didn’t die immediately but eventually but immediately they sinned, their spirit died.
Adam and Eve died a spiritual death immediately they disbelieved God.
The moment they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and believed a lie instead, a sinful desire was birthed, they acted on it and their spirit died. They became trapped and dead in their sins and trespasses.
Because man disbelieved God, sin, and death entered God’s perfect and good creation.
This is why the greatest sin is the sin of unbelief.
Every other sin stems from this sin. This is why every man that is born into this sinful world gradually develops a heart that is bent away from God. The world is sinful. The woman who bore the child has a sinful body and flesh. Hence, the offspring is also born sinful with a perishable, sinful and dead spirit.
Man has a heart that does not yield, belief and trust God. And when we do not believe God, we disobey him and sin. Our heart is hostile to God. And no-one is righteous. Even the “good” man is sinful and unrighteous (Romans 3: 10 – 18).
But “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD”
God loves us so much. And he wasn’t going to just allow Satan to win. Besides nothing surprises God. He wasn’t caught unaware when man sinned. He foreknew it all and He already had a predestined plan for man’s salvation, restoration, redemption, and reconciliation.
2. He Gave His Only Begotten Son
The prophecy of the giving of Jesus was laid down and said by God himself in Genesis after the fall of man. When God cursed the serpent in Genesis 3:15, He said,
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
The offspring of the woman that God was referring to here was Jesus, the son of the living God who was going to be born as a human from a woman (Mary). God here hinted at the restoration, salvation, and redemption of man.
Robert Morris said it best, “When man fell from God’s created goodness, he sent Christ so we wouldn’t fall from his infinite goodness.”
This is God’s love for us.
God finally gave his son so many years (yet at the perfect time) after this initial sin and countless other sins that man went on to commit. God was indeed grieved by the sin of man and Genesis 6:6 says, “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”
He regretted. But he also loved and still loves us.
And his love is patient and longsuffering. He patiently waited for the right time to bring to fruition his predestined plan for the salvation of man.
He favored a young virgin woman called Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit. The child was called Jesus. He walked his earth revealing and teaching us about God. He came to give us grace and truth. And when it was time for God to GIVE him up for our sins, he used some wicked men to carry out the plan. They didn’t kill him. Jesus simply laid down his life because his father GAVE IT for our sake.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
He became sin for us and the offering of sin for us. The penalty of sin is death. Only death, specifically the shedding of blood can cover sin. Hence in the old testament, the high priest would kill a lamb for the atonement of the people’s sin. But this was never going to fully save man and spare him from the penalty of death. It only temporarily covered sin and made man outwardly clean. Man’s conscience was still tainted by sin.
In God’s infinite love, he provided us with an eternal lamb, Jesus whose sacrifice took away our sins forever and saved us from the claws of sin and death.
It was a once and for all sacrifice.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
3. That whosoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life
After God gave his son. He was buried and God did not allow him to see decay, so he was resurrected on the third day. This signifies that Jesus overcame and conquered death. He died on our behalf the death we should have died for death is the penalty of sin. And he didn’t stop there because if he just died then that’s it. We will also die and just stay dead. But he resurrected, he conquered death. He resurrected to die no more. We also have an assurance of eternal life and resurrection from the dead if we die before the second coming of Jesus Christ. So Jesus did his part, God did his part and what is required of us is to simply BELIEVE in Him (JESUS).
It is finished! Said Jesus before he died on that cross over 2000 years ago.
What was finished? Your salvation. Your reconciliation to the father.
All you need do is Believe (have faith) in the finished work of salvation. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
“WHOSOEVER BELIEVES in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE.
1 John 5:11-12)
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Every man who has not believed in the son of God is a living dead. Such a person is just existing and not truly living.
Jesus said in John 10:10: “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
He came so we may have life and have it in full.
Why will he come to give us life if we were already living? I mean we consider ourselves alive right?
It is because we are NOT living. I mean our body and mind are alive (temporary to die someday too) but the most important part of us is dead. Our spirit.
Our body (flesh) is very perishable. The body will return to the dust where it came from. Our spirit, however, was designed and created to live forever. But when sin entered the whole, it died. And it can only live again eternally and inherit the kingdom of God when we believe in Jesus Christ and are made alive in him.
This is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 15:3-4) And whosoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
In the next part, we will answer the question, “How do I get saved?”
You are Eternally Loved.