The Gospel is a simple truth. It is the simple truth that Paul preached as recorded in
1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
" Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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."
The significance of Christ's death, burial and resurrection is seen in what it accomplished for mankind. The death of anyone is not thought of a "Good News" which is literally what the Greek word "Gospel" means. Death is the enemy of life and ends our earth existence. Yet, the death of Jesus Christ was unique in the Universe because unlike mortal man, He was God incarnate in Man. In other words, God loved His creation man. Yet man had rebelled against God and sinned against Him. Man being guilty of his sin, is under the sentence or penalty of that sin. Man could not redeem himself, because his sins condemned him. Yet, God in the supreme act of love, came to earth, took the form of a man, and lived on earth a perfect life. At the appointed time, he allowed sinful men, to condemn Him and put Him to death by crucixion. But His death and suffering was not simply physical. His suffering was for the sins of all the world. Mel Gibson, in his movie portrayed Christ's death as horrible and it was. The movie missed the point. His suffering was so much more than just physical suffering. We cannot even imagine was it was like to take the sins of the world on Himself. He was paying the price of our sins, every one of us and for every man that every lived. He did it so that we could receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life. He did is that we could become, but believing in Him, the children of god.
No man could die and pay his own sin debt because all men are sinners as Romans 3:10, 23 clearly states: " As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: . . .For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Only our holy and righteous God and Creator could do that...and He did.
In John 3:18, 26 God says "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. . . . He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
If it were not for Christ's death and atonement, mankind would be in a dilemma. He is under the condemnation of sin, and responsible to God who created him and gave him life. But man, apart from Jesus Christ, has no way for that sin to be atoned for. No forgiveness, no redemption, no hope, no one to turn too, no Savior.
Man has invented other gods, other gospels, and even perverted God's word refusing to accept it. Yet, there is still no other way to have one's sins forgiven and receive eternal life, but God's way.
One important truth is that all the religions and false churches man has devised all have one thing in common. They all have man earning his salvation, by joining a particular church, doing sacraments, rituals, or some act or work. Yet, God's way is simple and is unique in that only biblical Christianity, as learned from God's word has God, giving man salvation freely and God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ doing what is necessary for to atone from man's sins.
I. Jesus Christ the Advocate. 1 John 2:1
A. Christ is our "Prakletos." It is translated into the English word "Advocate" and "Comforter" in the New Testament. It means "one who pleads another's cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate."
II. Mankind Needed a Special Advocate. 1 John 2:2
1. This is the same word used for the Holy Spirit and is translated
"Comforter" in John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7 and literally means "one who is called along side."
B. John says, "If we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ."
2. It means one who comes to another's aid. In ancient times is was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant or counselor who pleaded another case.
1. It is God the Father to whom we have sinned against. Over forty times the Bible tells us that when a man sins he sins against God.
God created us and gave us life...we are responsible for that life and what we do with it.
James 2:10 tells us the extent of our guilt: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
2. God is the righteous Judge. Psalms 7:8 says, "The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me."
A. Man under the condemnation of sin, needed an advocate who not only could plead his case, but pay the price of man's sin.
1. John uses the word "propitiation" which means "to make full payment or to appease completely." The word in secular Greek meant that a man would propitiate, meaning to appease a pagan god. However, it is never used this way in the Greek Bible.
B. Christ and Christ alone made the payment for sin.
Vines states "It is God who is "propitiated" by the vindication of His holy and righteous Character, whereby, through the provision He had made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ. He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and remission of sin." (Vines Expository Dictionary. Of OT/NT Words, p 493)
2. In other words God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ appeased Himself for our sins. Man needed to be reconciled to God and therefore Christ, who was Perfect, having no sin, gave his life sacrificially and thereby annulled the penalty for sin that man owed.
The word was used in secular Greek in appeasing their gods, in the sense of earning their gods favor. In the Bible the word is never used of any act whereby man earns God's favor. It is exclusively used of God only, appeasing Himself...of paying the sin debt man's owes to God as a act that man cannot do.
1. Sadly, so many people and churches have perverted this simply doctrine and concluded that man must somehow work to earn or merit God's forgiveness.
2. Ephesians 2:8-9 states emphatically that man does not work for or earn his salvation, because it is the gift of God. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
ILLUS: There is hardly a week that goes by that several misinformed people, members of false Christian churches, write to correct me, telling me that a person must believe, but also he must be baptized, join their church, and do good works to merit God's grace. I also reply asking them to explain Eph. 2:8-9, Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5, and many other passages which refute this hellish lie. To date, not one out of several hundred have ever given me a reply which addresses the clear statement of Ephesians 2:8-9. The reason is obvious!
C. If Christ was the full payment and total appeasement for a man's sin why the need to add to God's grace our unrighteous works? If the debt is paid by Christ...why offer to pay it ourselves? Why the need to pay, if Christ has paid it? Why offer payment for something that God has done in love for us....as an act of His love for the sinner...in that Christ died for us and then offers total forgiveness if we will but by faith accept it. Why insult God, make little of His love and mercy, by offering our filthy righteousness with His?! What gross blasphemy for a man to thing his works worthy for payment for sin as is the Lord Jesus Christ's.
Note what Romans 5 says:
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
This makes is vividly clear. Salvation is the gift of God, received by the act of propitiation of Jesus Christ our Savior. By His obedience even unto death....we by faith can be made righteous, which simply means "right with God."
The question is today is simple. What are you trusting in for eternity?
1. Some ignore it the reality of sin and death and hope that somehow in the end it be all right.
2. Some deny that God has spoken to us and they say they are not sure there is a Heaven and Hell. They chose to wait and see.
3. Some think themselves worthy to work hard and earn their salvation. They think if they do all the right works God will be pleased and let them in heaven.
4. Some partly believe the Bible, but think there pope, prophet, church leader or denomination knows more. They are trusting in their baptism as infants, or as adults...in their church to get them to heaven.
5. The truth is everyone who dies trying in this false teachings will end up in hell.
6. Only God can save and He makes it clear and simple enough that even a child can understand.
Romans 4:23 - 5:2 "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
When the Philippian jailer asked Paul how he could be saved he was told in Acts 16:31 ". . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
That truth, that message has not changed. If you are without Christ today God wants you to know He paid for you sins and offers you forgiveness and eternal life if you will but believe on Him.
Want you do that right now? Trust in Him who is the propitiation for all you sin.