You may be wondering, “How can I have eternal life?”
I have some good news for you…
The gospel of Jesus Christ is that good news.
The Gospel Defined:
The gospel saves all who believe. What exactly is the “gospel”?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) There are 3 important components to the gospel:
Christ: Christ is Jesus’ official title. In response to a question concerning Christ’s identity, Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ reveals Jesus’ deity and His humanity. He is equal with both God and man, and He is the only possible mediator between the two. He alone is capable of bringing God and man together.
Died for our sin: God declared that the wages of sin is death and that He would pay that debt. However, God is eternal life and eternal life cannot die. In order to die for sin, the eternal God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ.
And rose again the third day: The body of Jesus was taken down from the cross and placed into a solid rock tomb. Three days later He rose bodily from the dead. The angel’s words have echoed down through the years of human history giving hope to all who have placed their faith in Him, “He is not here, for He has risen as He said He would. Come see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:6).
Eternal life is received by faith alone in Christ alone.
… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
… “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Eternal life is a gift to all who trust Jesus Christ by faith.
The Gospel Distorted:
The Bible says that Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving so that they cannot understand the gospel. He blinds in several ways:
The Identity of Christ: Critics say that Christ is not fully God or that He is not fully human. To distort either or both distorts the gospel.
Christ’s Death for Sin: Critics say that Jesus died in order to teach people to sacrificially give themselves in service for God. He died as a martyr. Many teach that His death was not as important as His exemplary life. Therefore, more emphasis is placed on the teachings of Christ than His death for sin. His teaching is to be learned and followed and His life is our supreme example, but He came into this world to die for sin. To say otherwise distorts the gospel.
Bodily Resurrection from the Dead: No truth has been more attacked than Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead. There have been a barrage of claims from the critics: He really didn’t die! The Jews stole the body! The Romans stole the body! The disciples stole the body. The body of Jesus Christ was never found. The empty tomb clearly illustrates that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. To say otherwise, distorts the gospel.
Faith Alone in Christ Alone: Faith plus works is a distortion of the gospel. Volumes could be filled with ways that man has added to faith in Christ alone for salvation. Some say that eternal life is given to those who trust Christ plus turn from all sin. Others say that man must trust Christ and reform their lives. Still others claim that faith in Christ must be followed by water baptism, joining a church, and giving money. When any human work is added to Christ’s finished work for salvation, the value of Christ’s work is diminished and the gospel is distorted.