Sunday, 6 March 2011

What is the gospel?

Q: What is the gospel?
A: The good news that Jesus died on the cross for us.

Well, that was easy! *dust hands off*. Job well done, question answered, mystery solved!
Hold on a minute.... I know this is the stock-standard answer to this question, but is anyone else out there left asking themselves 'what does that even mean?!?!!?'
This simplistic answer is not incorrect, it just lacks the communication of a deeper understanding of what exactly the gospel is, or why the gospel is the primary motivator of Christians across the globe.
And so, in order to answer this question, I would like to add another question.. looking a little sum'n like this:

Q: What is the gospel?
A: The good news that Jesus died on the cross for us.
Q: WHY did Jesus HAVE to die on the cross for us?

We are sinners. God made the earth, and made people to live on the earth. He made us with a set a rules to live by, rules that were good for us. These rules are known as the ten commandments- maybe you have heard of them? To be a sinner is to break these rules that God asks us to live by. And, as no man or woman has ever been able to keep any of the ten commandments since the beginning of creation (other than Jesus, but we will get to that shortly), we are all sinners.
Hold on just a minute there! You can't be talking about me? Im a pretty good person, Ive lived a good life, I havent really hurt anyone or done anything really wrong- I cant be a sinner!
Well... how about we check out some of the ten commandments and see....?
- Have you ever told a lie?
- Have you ever stolen anything? Even something really small, like a pen from work?
- Have you ever wanted something someone else had, or been envious of someone?
- Have you ever felt hate towards someone? The bible says that to hate someone, is to murder them in your heart!
These only cover 4 of the 10 commandments, and I am sure that you answered 'yes' to at least one of them!
If you are still thinking that you have kept these... how about this one?
- Have you always put God first in your life?

So now we have established that all men and women are sinners.... so what? Who cares if you are a sinner? Whats the consequence of that?
Well, the bible says that the consequences of sin is death... that is an eternity in hell.

So if you died tomorrow, and were standing before God, would you be able to say that you had kept Gods commands?
If you answer NO- your punishment is an eternity in hell.
If you answer YES- you are lying, as no man is able to keep the 10 commandments, so your punishment is an eternity in hell.

So, If I have already sinned (broken Gods commands), and the punishment is an eternity in hell, HOW DOES ANYONE GET TO HEAVEN?

This is where the gospel... the good news, comes in.

Imagine this: that you, for whatever reason, killed someone. The police arrest you, and you are brought before a judge. The judge asks 'did you break the law and kill that person?'- You answer yes.
The judge tells you that the punishment for your offence is a lifetime in prison with no chance of parole.
At this moment, a man walks into the courtroom. He says to the judge:
'This man does not know me, but I know him, and I love him. Please, let me take his punishment- let me spend MY life in prison so that he may go free'
This is what Jesus did for you- THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL- That Jesus, who is Gods son, and who lived a perfect life on earth, and broke none of God's commands took the punishment that you deserve.
Jesus died a gruesome and horrible death on the cross- taking the punishment that was meant for all of us sinners upon himself, so that we would not need to spend an eternity in hell, but instead can spend eternity in heaven. 

Here is another question: If in the scenario of the courtroom, you were able to walk free while another man took your punishment of lifetime imprisonment, would you then go and kill another person, or out of gratitude to the man who recieved your punishment, would you not do the same thing again?

None of us can get ourselves to heaven. We have all sinned and deserve hell, and none of us can 'make it up to God', make ourselves good enough to go to heaven. The only way to heaven is through believing and trusting that Jesus died on the cross to recieve the punishment that you deserve, and turning from your sin out of gratitude for what Jesus Christ has done for you!

Whew... slightly longer than the stock standard answer, but way more awesome!
And this is why I am writing this blog... to throw out there the thoughts of a young woman who lives life through the lens of the good news of Jesus Christ... to live a life motivated by gratitude to the one who has saved me from an eternity in hell. To live a life 'CROSS-EYED'.

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