What is the Gospel? Part 4: Response
God created all things for the fame of his name and for all to worship him. He created us to be in relationship with him which brings us ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction. This was covered in part one of this series. Part two discussed that when man rebelled against God and worshiped the created instead of the creator we had the avalanche of mankind into sin (Genesis 3; Romans 1:25). We then talked about how God did not leave us in this helpless state—he came to earth (John 1:14)! God came to pay our penalty! God died in our place to bring us back to him. This is amazing news! Well we call it good news, but I think it is amazing, mind blowing news! The question then is how do you and I trust in Christ as our substitute? How can we be put right? How can we accept the death of Christ on our behalf and thus be in right relationship again?
The answer: Faith in Christ!
If we believe that Christ lived the perfect life, died the death we deserve and rose from the grave victorious over our sins we can be forgiven. The Bible says if we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth we will be saved and that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9, 13). We need to trust in Jesus and live for him by faith. If we have this faith we are assured that our relationship with God is fixed and we get to spend eternity with him (John 3:16).
“By faith” means there is not anything we can do (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is not our works that save us but the work of Christ alone (Ephesians 3:28). It is not that we just have to try harder and we will be saved. We need to know that we cannot ever try hard enough to save ourselves and that Christ was the one who was able to bear the punishment due to us.
Sheep like repentance
This faith is often seen as repentance. There is a story in the Bible about a shepherd who had 100 sheep (Luke 15:1-7). He lost one of them and he left the herd to go and find his lost sheep. He worked so hard to find it and when he did he rejoiced and brought it into his herd. This is what God does.He searches for his lost sheep. All the sheep can do is listen for the shepherd’s voice and respond to his call. This is true repentance; to just long to be found and want to be found and brought back with the shepherd. If the sheep is found there is much rejoicing. In the same way God calls his people to him.
If God is calling you and if you feel a longing for this forgiveness and reunion with Christ, respond! Do not wait. This is life or death. Your sin will be punished. The wrath of God will be poured out either on you on judgment day or, if you trust in Christ, on him 2000 years ago on the cross for you!
Do you want to be put right? Do you want this restored relationship? If you accept Jesus as your savior and Lord through faith there will be no condemnation (Romans 8:1). This is glorious truth. This is God’s great display of love that he would die for us on the cross (Romans 5:8). Trust in Jesus today. This is not just a prayer or logical conclusion or magical phrases we say. It is a life surrendered to God. When we have faith in the saving work of God we get the greatest reward: Restored relationship with Him. We can trust that one day we will be fully restored to him and free from the trials and bondage of this world, enjoying him forever.
If you have this relationship with Jesus but still seem to have doubts I would recommend reading Am I Really a Christian by Mike McKinley. This last Sunday our pastor Todd Olson preached on responding in faith.
David received a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from University of Northwestern–St. Paul and is currently working toward earning his Master of Divinity from Bethlehem College and Seminary.
David is the youngest of five, with four older sisters. He met his wife, Kelsey, in Austria through Shamineau International. They were married in 2010. David enjoys the outdoors in all seasons, from swimming on a 90 degree day or camping when it is -40 degrees. When he is outside he loves cycling, running, hunting, fishing, camping and reading a book with a cup of coffee watching the sunrise. He also enjoys woodworking and making stuff with his hands.
David loves people and spending time with anyone. Anyone who joins him on the dock fishing and will talk about the glorious grace of Christ!