What is the Gospel?
We believe, as the church, we have been called to sacrificially serve our neighbors by working for their good and loving them in word and deed. While we will faithfully work for the well-being of all individuals and society as a whole, the greatest way we love is by proclaiming the gospel, as the ultimate need of every person is not temporal but eternal. As the gospel is paramount to what we do, it is imperative we are clear about what the gospel is.
So, what is the gospel? The gospel, as taught in the Bible, can be expressed as God, people, Christ, response.
The Bible, God's Word, tells us God has always existed. He is perfectly holy and righteous, completely unstained by sin and it is impossible for Him to sin. It is this perfect, all-powerful God who created the universe out of nothing and who continually sustains it.
That means we did not end up here by chance, but were placed here by God as a part of His perfect plan. He is the Creator; we are His creation. We are His. He causes our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe in air. Everything in the universe is His and depends on Him.
Not only was the human race created by God, but we have been created in His image with a specific purpose for our lives: to live in unbroken fellowship with Him, worshipping and obeying Him for His glory.
Although our first parents enjoyed this intimate relationship with God, ultimately they chose to rebel against Him, disobey His command, and live for their own glory and purposes. But this could not go unpunished. God clearly said the punishment for that would be of the worst kind. It meant death, as sin corrodes everything, life itself, and sin cannot be in God’s presence.
This first couple chose sin and themselves over God and His Word and everything changed. Their relationship with God was severed as death entered the world and all of creation was impacted. They did not die immediately, but they did die. But even worse, after physical death an eternity of death and suffering away from the presence of God awaited them, unless God intervened.
Instead of living forever in perfect harmony with God, they would live forever in agony and suffering away from God because of the sin they chose over Him. And all their offspring, everyone of us, have followed that same path, repeatedly, continually disobeying God, sinning, choosing self over Him, which means every person awaits the same fate: eternal death with no ability to work our way back to God or salvation.
If ever we thought such a fate was unjust, that humans really are good at heart, all we have to do is look around. History is full of never ending wars, atrocities, crime, damaged relationships, and suffering. The world is full of evidence that the human race is fallen, consumed with sin, not the glory of God. Even more, we only have to look at our own hearts, how we continually choose self and sin over God.
The entire human race is in constant rebellion against God, and stands condemned to die eternally in torment away from God. It is a hopeless situation. Our eternity is sealed and there is nothing any of us can do to change it. No amount of good works or good desires will save us.
And in that hopeless state, in love, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, as our representative to live a sinless life, to suffer and die on a cross, paying the penalty for the sins of all the saved, and bodily rising three days later. In love, Jesus Christ conquered sin and death for all who believe, erasing the death sentence we all deserve.
There is no love like that love. God does not have to save us, and we certainly do not deserve to be saved. We deserve eternal hell. But just as God is perfectly holy, He is also perfectly loving. And that perfect love is on full display in Jesus Christ, God Himself, coming to save sinners who hate Him. While that is the greatest love ever shown, that alone is not enough for anyone to be saved. Rather, each one of us upon hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ must respond, and our eternity is based on our response. If we reject the gospel, we are rejecting the only way to salvation and eternal life.
Just as with our first parents, we are choosing sin and self over God and His plan of salvation, and we remain condemned to eternal hell. To receive salvation and life then, we must respond with faith and repentance. Faith simply means trusting Christ – trusting who He is (that He is God), what He has done (that He suffered, died and was resurrected for the sins of those saved), and believing that He is the only way to salvation and life. That faith then leads to repentance.
Repentance means recognizing that we are horrible sinners worthy of death who no longer choose sin and self but turn from that to God as our only hope of salvation. All who repent and believe, no matter who they are or the sin they have committed, will be declared righteous by God, saved, made a new creation, brought into fellowship with God and will live with Him as Lord and Savior of their lives.
We are restored to the reason we were created in the first place, as we are freed from the bondage of sin and self and made alive in Christ. And instead of the horrifying future of eternal death awaiting us, we look forward to eternity in a perfect place, in perfectly sinless bodies in the presence of our perfect Lord. And it’s all because of Him. We praise God for His glorious gospel.
We believe the human race was created in the image of God, but in union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Every person is spiritually dead in sin and is unable to recover by their own merit or abilities. Salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ.