What is the Gospel?
Man’s Need for Salvation
If you died today, and upon meeting God...
...He asked you why you should be admitted into heaven, what would you say? Let us explore the Bible’s answer to that question.
In the beginning, man was good.
Man was created by God in His own image as the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning, man was good and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice, man sinned against God. Every person afterward inherited a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. As soon as they are capable of moral action, they, too, become sinners and are condemned. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Salvation -- How God deals with sin
Salvation is God’s way of forgiving sin and providing a means for man to receive eternal life now and in heaven. Salvation, by definition, means to be delivered from evil. In this sense, salvation is deliverance from sin and its penalty. On the cross, Jesus Christ made the once-for-all sacrifice for man’s sin and its penalty, which is death. The Bible says, “Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12).
This salvation was and is offered to everyone on God’s own initiative, as an expression of His love for sinners. His offer of eternal life is not a life that only begins after death. It is that quality of life that is eternal, beginning at the moment one believes in Jesus and continuing into eternity. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Eternal life is a free gift.
Eternal life in heaven is a free gift that is based on the grace of God. As a free gift, it cannot be earned or deserved. Man cannot save himself by good works or any other means. God loves you and wants you to have this free gift of eternal life in heaven. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
How do I receive this free gift?
You must have saving faith in Christ. What does saving faith mean? Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and confessing Him as your personal Lord and Savior. God, in turn, responds to this commitment by forgiving all your sins by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
Consider this suggested prayer to help you express the desire of your heart:
“God, thank you for your gift of eternal life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. I am willing to turn from my sins (repent). I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died for my sins on the cross, and that He rose from the dead. I now put my complete trust in you alone, Lord Jesus, as my Savior and for eternal life. I invite you to come into my heart and life. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
How can I be sure that I have eternal life?
You may wonder how you can be assured of eternal life. If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Gospel in response to God’s invitation, the Bible says you can know that you have eternal life. Do not trust in your feelings, but trust God now because of His absolute integrity, the righteousness of His character, and the truthfulness of His Word. The Bible says, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13).
What do I do now?
You may wonder what comes next now that you are a Christian. First, God’s Word instructs you to find a church that teaches the Bible where you can learn the Word of God and fellowship with other Christians. The Bible says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together ...” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Also, you should be baptized in obedience to Jesus Christ and as a testimony to your faith. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).