The word gospel literally means “good news,” and this is exactly what the message of Jesus is, it is good news. The specific news that the gospel refers to is the message about what Jesus, the son of God, has done for us through his perfect life, atoning death, and miraculous resurrection. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul explains the essence of the gospel message.
Everyone is Broken
The gospel is all about what Jesus has done to provide salvation for the world. We need salvation because we're all broken people. And Jesus has made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin and to have fellowship with God. Jesus wants to fix our brokenness. The Bible explains that everyone in their natural state is a sinner and an enemy of God.
Friends of God
Though we are broken, God loves us. And though we are naturally enemies of God, and our sin has separated us from God, Jesus came to earth to die an atoning death so that we could become friends of God rather than enemies.
The Gospel is Better Than Religion
The Gospel is different from religion. Religion is all about what we do for God, but the gospel is all about what Jesus has done for us. Religion produces guilt (if we can't measure up) or pride (if we feel we're doing pretty good). Conversely, the gospel is not earned, but is offered to us as a gift. All we need to do is receive this gift by faith in Jesus. The truth is, none of us could never do enough good things to earn salvation, so God says "Just believe."
You Don't Have to Clean up Your Life
Receiving Jesus by faith is more than just an acknowledgement of the facts of Jesusʼ life, but a decision to turn over your life to Christ. Accepting the gospel means letting Jesus take control of your life; it means letting Him be Lord.
Furthermore, letting Christ be Lord means that we must confess our sin and repent of our previous way of life. We do not have to clean up our lives, or get everything "right," we must simply be willing to admit that without Jesus our lives have not been pleasing to God. If we accept Jesus, then He will come into our lives and begin the cleanup work. Jesus doesn't want perfect people to embrace His gospel. Perfect people donʼt exist! Jesus wants us, sinners, to embrace His gospel and be saved.
Calling Upon Jesus
All that is required to become a Christian is believe and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. So, Pray! Even if it's the very first time you've ever prayed. All you need do is:
Acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of a Savior—this is to repent (turn away) from Sin
Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead—this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my Sin
Claim Jesus as your Lord and God—this is to surrender control of your life to Jesus
Receive Jesus as your Savior forever—this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what he promised
Here's a sample prayer to help you get started:
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.
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