The Gospel

Posted by Kyle on April 4, 2011

No matter what you believe, the Jesus is significant to you.

The American economy all but rests on the holiday which was originally established to celebrate his birth. Why you celebrate it now is immaterial.

The geo-political struggle between the Middle East and The United States/Europe stems from things supposedly done in his name over 900 years ago.

His birth is literally the turning point in history - B.C. stands for "Before Christ," and A.D. stands for "Anno Domini" or "The Year of our Lord."

Even if you reject what I believe, modern humans cannot escape creating an opinion on who, exactly, this Jesus is. I'll bet you already have at least a rudimentary idea of what you believe even if you never gave it much thought.

I would like to share with you who I think he is and the logically necessary outcome of believing as I do.

The Gospel begins with the premise that there is a single God that created the universe and everything in it, that God is all-powerful and perfect, and that God is good and loves what God has created.

Flowing from that, God necessarily created each of us.

Since God is good (beneficent, just, etc.), God would justifiable expect us to be good as well. If something is perfectly good, it would be contradictory to want anything to be bad or evil.

Check out the news. Think about your day at work (especially if you work in retail, food service, or IT support). People are not good.

Now think about your own life...that kid you bullied in school, the last time you were so mad you could picture doing some really shocking things to someone, the guy you cut-off in traffic and shot the bird for honking at you, etc. I would venture to guess you are not good, either. In fact, I'm betting that sometimes, it might actually be accurate to call you evil. At least, if someone else did the things you've done, you'd call them evil.

If this is the first time you've thought about yourself this way, don't be too shocked. You're not alone. I wouldn't call myself good either. All those examples you thought were about you were really about me.

The problem is that a perfectly good and just God has a really hard time tolerating what God calls evil (all those things we do that are not good). In fact, he refuses to and separates himself from everything that does not measure up to his standard. Since God is the source of life, then separation therefrom is death.

When I present the Gospel, I really try hard to stay away from what I call "church language," but sometimes it's unavoidable...the place you go when you are eternally separated from God is called Hell. Imagine life with absolutely nothing good about it. No sunshine, no friends, no laughter, no good food, no water, and even the good things you like about yourself are gone. All you are and all you have are the worst, most evil and despicable things about you. Absolutely everything positive is taken away.

"But wait," you say, "didn't you say God loves what God created? If he loves us, why would he send us somewhere so terrible?" Way to spot the paradox! The bible is clear that no one is perfect or good, and that if we aren't perfect, we deserve to die, but that he doesn't want any of us to go to Hell.

To fix this, put simply, God became a man and lived the life we all should have lived. This qualified him to die the death we all deserve to die in our place. God took upon himself the punishment we all deserve just so we can know him, love him, and be with him.

You'll hear a lot of people claim that to be saved, what you need to do at this point is pray to God, ask forgiveness for being evil (which we all are), and you'll be saved.

While praying for your sins to be forgiven is certainly necessary, you will not find this as the prescription for salvation anywhere in the Bible.

Here's one way Jesus put it: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." (Luke 9:23-24).

Paul said this of the way he was saved: "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." (Philippians 3:7-8)

In philosophy, there's a Latin phrase - "summum bonum" - which means "highest good." Everyone has one in their own life. It's that one thing that gives you the most value. It might be your looks, or your intelligence, or someone's love, or your job. What Jesus is saying we need to do, and what Paul is saying he did, is to throw away all those things, even if they're good things, in favor of what Christ did for us.

Salvation happens when you accept and depend on the fact that the best thing about you, and the only thing that gives you hope, is that God loved you so much he died for you.

Once that happens, God will change your life. It won't be about religion or churchiness. The things you want will simply and genuinely change.

If you're interested in learning more, leave a comment below or send me a message via my contact page.


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