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Understanding the Gospel

The Creator of Your Heart

The starting point in understanding your relationship with God is realizing that He is the Supreme King of the universe. God is sovereign over the world and all that He does is governed by love. The reason God can rightfully claim this role is because He is the Creator. God made the world and everything in it, so he owns it.

This means that God made you. God created people who shared some characteristics with him. The Bible describes this as being made in God’s image. He made the first humans, Adam and Eve, and put them in charge of the world he created. We were created to rule the world, to take care of it and to enjoy it’s beauty.

However, God did not intend for us to do as we please. God’s plan and desire was that men and women would live under God’s authority, obey his commands and worship Him. That was God’s plan, and his plan was very good.

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have
their being.

(Revelation 4:11)

The Problem In Your Heart

From the very beginning, men and women have rebelled against God’s authority. We all do this, including you. We want to be in charge of our own life and we resent God’s claim to have authority over us. We demonstrate our rebellion in many ways. Sometimes we simply ignore God and live as if he does not exist. We disobey the instructions He’s given us in the Bible. None of us has lived up to God’s demands. Sin is the word the Bible uses to describe our disobedience toward God.

As you observe your world and your own life, you see that we end up making a mess of what  God created. Since all people are by nature rebellious toward God, we end up pursuing our own agendas. We act like we are god. We hurt one another in the process. All of the evil, strife and suffering in the world is the result of our sin.

The important question regarding our sin is “What will God do about it?” God loves us but he also takes our sin very seriously. God will not let our sin continue forever. God will judge all sin, and when he does, our punishment will be deserved. Everyone who remains in rebellion against God will be separated from God at death. That separation is permanent and includes an eternal existence in a place of judgement that the Bible calls hell.

There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is
no-one who understands,
no-one who
seeks God.
 All have turned away.
(Romans 3:10-12)

Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement. 
(Hebrews 9:27)

The Savior of Your Heart

Our situation is not hopeless. In his loving grace and mercy, God provided us with a plan for our salvation. He does not want us to suffer his punishment. He wants us to be in a loving relationship with him as his children. God’s plan for our salvation involved sending his own eternal son, Jesus Christ, into the world.

When Jesus came to earth, he became a man and lived as a man. But unlike us, he obeyed God perfectly. He never committed even one sin. He always did exactly what God expected. Although Jesus could heal the sick, raise the dead back to life and perform many other wonderful miracles, he allowed himself to be killed. Jesus did not deserve to die and he did not deserve to be punished for sin, because he had no sin. Jesus died as a substitute for us. This is great news for sinful men. Jesus took a punishment that he did not deserve so that you could be free from punishment. God offers you full forgiveness for all of your sin because Jesus was punished in your place.

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
(1 Peter 3:18)

God considers the death of Jesus as payment in full for your sin. The evidence that God accepted Jesus is that God raised him from the dead. Jesus is now back in heaven with God, ruling over the world that he created. The Bible tells us that one day, Jesus will return to this earth and when he does, he will accomplish two things. First, he will bring all of God’s people home to heaven with him. Second, he will bring judgement to God’s enemies.

God offers you new life in Jesus. Your sin can be forgiven. God’s just punishment can be avoided. Heaven can be your eternal home. You can live your life as a friend of God, and enjoy fellowship with him and his people. You can experience the joy of a new relationship with God.

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
(1Peter 1:3)

The Response Within Your Heart

You must make a choice. You can continue to live in rebellion against God, but in the end, you will get what you deserve. God has the right to your obedience and continuing in rebellion brings God’s wrath. Or, you can turn to God for mercy.

If you believe what the Bible says about Jesus and what Jesus did for you, and if you appeal to God’s grace and forgiveness, everything will change. God promises that everyone who puts their faith in Jesus finds forgiveness for sin. God accepts Jesus’ death as the payment for sins. Those who place their faith in Jesus are no longer considered rebels against God. God considers them his adopted sons and daughters.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains
on him.

(John 3:36)

Take A Next Step

If you don’t believe you really are a sinner, don’t believe that God will judge you, or don’t believe the Bible’s teaching about Jesus, a good place for you to start would be to get a copy of the Bible and start reading for yourself. (Reading the Gospel of John and the book of Romans would be a good place to start.)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(Romans 3:23)

If you do believe that you are a sinner and in danger of God’s judgement,
there are three things you should do:

Step 1

Cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness. Admit to God that you are a sinner in need of his forgiveness. Acknowledge that you deserve his punishment but that you want his mercy instead. Tell him that you believe that Jesus died for your sins, and on the basis of what Jesus did for you, you are placing your faith in God for your salvation. The salvation God offers includes Jesus being the king of your life instead of you, but you need his help to overcome your sin.

Step 2

Start living like you are a child of God. There are many areas of your life that need to change. Ask God to help change you. You can’t go on living in rebellion. As you read the Bible and come to understand what God wants from you, begin living it out. This will take you the rest of your life. You’ll never completely stop sinning until you are with God in heaven. But, God’s promise to forgive your sin stands, and he will continue to help you obey him.

Step 3

Continue to trust and rely on God, even when circumstances around you may be difficult and seem hopeless.  You will fail at times, but God will always forgive. You will need his help and encouragement, and he will give it to you. Study God’s Word, seek to know all you can about him, trust him every day, rely on his forgiveness, and grow as a child of God. Practicing these disciplines daily will lead to a life filled with peace that can only come from God.