What is the Gospel? It is the good news that Christ has died for sinners so that we may be reconciled with God in His Kingdom.
How is that 'good news'? Because there is the bad news - that man has committed high treason against He who has created all things and given us life. Every breathe you and I take are borrowed from God, yet we live a life as though we put ourselves on the pedestal. As the creation, we have sinned against the Creator. All we deserve now is hell.
But I'm a good person! How can I deserve hell? By what standard do you label yourself good? By your own standard? By society's standard? Or by God's standard? First two are subjective. But God has described what is good plainly through Scripture. Take the 10 commandments: Have you lied? Have you stolen? Lusted after another person you were not married to? Used God's name in vain? Just knowing that you've committed at least one of these is already enough to know that you are not good in God's eyes.
But wait. God is love, right? Won't he forgive me? God is love. But God is a just God as well. Think of someone you really love, and think about them getting murdered by a criminal. Would you think a judge would be loving by dismissing that criminal and saying he is free to go, regardless of the wrong he did to you and your loved one? Just the same as how we deserve hell for doing wrong to God.
Then how can one go to heaven?? Jesus Christ. Back to the first question, Jesus Christ came down and paid the price that you and I rightly deserve. Instead of you and I receiving the wrath of God, Jesus Christ came down as a man, who was pure and sinless, and took our punishment instead. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
So, does that mean I'm set for heaven? Am I now saved from God's wrath? Understand that this is not some kind of flu shot, that you can just take and go. The state of your life and the things that Christ has done for you and all of us is not something to take lightly.
You deserve hell. I deserve hell. But Christ died and took the wrath that you and I so rightfully deserve, so we won't have to go to hell. His crucifixion demonstrates His love for us, that while we deserve nothing but hell, He gave His only Son so that we may have eternal life. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Now how do you respond to that? When you grasp the magnitude of love and grace that God has provided for us, you can't go on unfazed. When you start looking to God, you will begin to practice repentance and faith towards him, and when it is evident in your life - when it is a reality - then you may be assured of your salvation.
Wait a second. Practice repentance and faith? So I have to earn my way to heaven? Not at all. You can not earn your way to heaven. You and I will always fall short because of our sinful nature. All other religions tell you to work work work, but the reality is is that there is no way we can atone our own sins. That's why Christ came down, and took your place instead because He is the only one who can pay the full price. You will practice repentance and faith, not because you want to be saved, but because you are saved. You do this out of love of Him that you hold precious. The grace from God does not excuse our effort. It fuels it.
I'm still confused. Can I ask you a few more questions? Of course! Feel free to message me here on gaia.
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My name is Elaine. People call me Lain or Grace. I'm 25 years old. I seek God and really try to stay in His Word. Message from God is my husband Joseph, and we both live in Maryland in the DC area. I'm also a web developer.