The Good News
Recently I was in a very mixed group of people in a 3 week class. Lots of them do not know the Lord at all. I loved it! I didn’t realize how much I had missed them. They are so hungry for the love of the Father!
Thinking about them I realized it has been a long time since I shared with anyone the basics of what the gospel actually is to me.
I would want be able to share it with them in the simplest way while still being complete. At first it felt a little overwhelming. Over the years I have come to know many aspects of the heart of God. But I know my best professors in school were the ones who could take their years worth of learning and condense it down so that anyone, with a heart to understand, could grasp the message. Jesus was that kind of teacher.
After some days thinking about this, the following is, I hope, an inspired explanation of the Gospel of Christ as I know it today. I bless you to find freedom and joy in the heart of the Father as we enter into a brand new year.
The Good News
The Father took each of us from His own heart and gave us life by His breath. In this act, He imparted His eternal nature to our spirits and our spirits will exist forever because He does.
In the garden, man and woman lived in oneness with God, learning His nature and His ways. The evidence of oneness was before them in God Himself, the three in one, they saw perfect oneness at all times. And the God of love gave the people He made the most loving and valuable gift, freedom to choose.
But the enemy came to steal away this oneness, to kill the growth of our knowing God and used our own gift, choice, against us to destroy the peace that was among us.
The first man and woman were persuaded that God was holding out on them and that in disobeying God, they would receive something that they actually already had; they would be “like God”. Though they had been warned by God, they succumbed to the temptation and chose spiritual death.
Now spiritual life and death is comparable to light and darkness. No one can give you some darkness, it simply exists when there is no light. Likewise, no one can cause an eternal thing to stop existing, but spiritual death exists when there is no spiritual life. Separation from God is the absence of life and light. Separation from God is spiritual death.
But God always planned to make a way for us to be restored to His heart. If we flip to the last pages of the Bible, Revelation 21:3-4, and see God’s dream revealed and fulfilled. It is this:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”.
In Romans 8:22-23, we see that He put this same desire within us and even in the rest of creation:
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
So how could that come about after we chose death? Our perfectly just Father has to punish sin, so how could he rescue us without killing us too?
As one, the Godhead planned to send the Father’s perfect Son to become one of us. They actually planned for this before the earth was made, before we blew it. He came to be just like us; He chose to be limited in all the ways we are limited, having the same gift of choice we have, and to demonstrate a perfect life; but also to suffer death for us so that the justice of God would be fulfilled in Him, instead of in us.
Just like we do, Jesus suffered betrayal, humiliation, ridicule, contempt, rejection, hatred, but then He was so badly beaten and whipped that His face was unrecognizable as human. After that, His head was impaled by a crown of terrible thorns and then He was nailed to a wooden cross by having his hands and feet nailed through to the wood. All of this followed the torturous anticipation of knowing in detail what He would suffer for us.
Why would an innocent person agree to this? The Roman governor declared Him innocent 3 times. Why suffer and not try to prove your innocence? Why accept even the accusation, much less the violence? Answer: Love.
But He wasn’t done yet. Many martyrs have died for many causes over all the centuries. But not one of them, however worthy, gained eternal life for their followers, or for those who were grateful. Jesus didn’t stop at dying for us. Jesus completed our restoration to the Father by overcoming death and the grave forever in His resurrection from the dead. He gave us a brand new life in Him.
By his love, Jesus reconciled every person and the whole of creation back to the Father. Now, it is our free choice whether or not we accept this gift and receive our salvation.
When we choose salvation, we get the biggest gift of all, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The person of God comes to reside within us to strengthen us, to convict us of sin, to give us understanding and guide us and comfort us forever. He will never leave us.
His Presence makes us brand new creations, we are completely unlike our old selves because of His Presence. In choosing life in Jesus, we must also choose to let our old self die. With His help, over time, we can put to death the deeds of our sinful nature and really live! Our old way of living begins to peel away like the layers of an onion. We have never before known freedom, but as the layers fall away we begin to know true joy and abundant life. This is how we become Sons of God.