Recently, someone mentioned that I haven’t written a post about the basics of what I believe. That surprised me, because it seems like such an obvious topic: a starting point, really. It can be easy to get caught up in the details of our faith, the specifics and rabbit trails. One of the greatest joys I know is to explore a Biblical topic in depth, because there is always so much to find and apply!
But there is also value in stepping back and capturing the big picture of the what we believe: something that can become so common to us that it loses its rightful awe. Doing this can help us refocus and remember what this life is all about. So that’s what we’re doing over the next two weeks: going back to the basics.
I’ve written seven short posts about specific things I (and most Christians) believe, and will post one every few days.
This is what I believe.
Back to the Basics: The Gospel
I believe in the gospel. If you never read anything else I write, this is the one thing I want you to know, to grasp and understand and love. The gospel. It’s our only hope, the answer to every question, pain, and joy on this earth. So here we go!
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” So surprisingly, it doesn’t start at a very pretty place: humans are sinful. We’ve always had a choice between God and selfish sin, and we chose sin. In every wrong thing we think, say, and do, we separate ourselves further from God and his holiness. He stays steady in his perfection while we run away, further and further every day. This applies to every single human.
Now, you might point to your neighbor or coworker or, most commonly, Hitler, and say “Hey! I’m not nearly as bad as that person. In fact, compared to them, I’m a great person! I volunteer and pay my taxes, etc. If there is a heaven up there, I’d be the first one to get in!” And most people you know would probably agree with you.
There’s a problem, though. Our standard isn’t other people. The goal isn’t to be “above” a handful of humans on this earth. The standard we’re given is God. Perfection. Pureness. It’s not about outweighing your bad with good, it’s about being spotless, completely free of any bad.
It’s safe to say no one measures up to that. We’ve all blown it in the area of perfection. We’re all separated from God.
Consequently, we’re also separated from heaven. The pure holiness there cannot come into contact with our sin and ungodliness. If we stay on the track we’ve gotten ourselves onto, our death will naturally lead to hell: the place of eternal separation from God and his goodness.
So that’s the bad news: the news that we’ve royally messed up and run away from God and heaven. The news that many people are trapped in sin with no sight of an escape, on their way to hell.
But here’s the good news: God sent his son, Jesus, to the earth to redeem humanity. He freed them from sin and its effects, and into relationship with him. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless human life, so he was fit to be a sacrifice for all of humanity. He was killed on a cross and rose from the dead, and through that he bridged the gap between God and humanity. He made it possible for us to come to God and be forgiven!
This doesn’t just automatically apply to everyone, though. God doesn’t force himself on people. It’s much like a gift. You don’t have to pay for it or earn it, but you do have to accept it. You must acknowledge that you need it, want it, and hold out your hands to receive it.
It doesn’t matter how messed up or unholy you feel right now. It doesn’t matter if you don’t totally understand Christianity or how it all works. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past.
All that matters is that you come to Jesus and accept him into your life, accept his forgiveness. It starts through a conversation with him, telling him that:
It’s that simple. When God looks at us, the forgiven, he sees us through Jesus—sees us as sinless and holy. There is no sin left to keep us apart. Now it’s possible for us to know God on earth and let him change you.
He will transform your desires, joys, and hopes as you draw close to him. Sin will lose its appeal, joy will be constant through every circumstance, and hope will be the unchanging light at the end of the tunnel. You will live in a totally different way. You’ll want to share the hope and joy you have with others. Nothing will ever be the same.
Knowing God is much like an earthly relationship: it takes time and commitment, and it will grow deeper and richer over the course of your life.
Then when you die, you will continue your relationship with God for eternity in heaven. How joyful and thankful we should be for this!
Whether you’ve known God for 50 years or this is the first you’ve heard of what he’s done, let’s never lose our awe at the gospel. It’s the greatest story ever told, the most amazing opportunity for mankind, and the one answer to every question, emptiness, and sadness on this earth.
Click HERE for the Romans Road to Salvation: a collection of verses that explain the gospel.
Click HERE for another post on the gospel and the way to God.
The next post will be about a relationship with God- don't miss it!
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Look forward to new posts every Monday morning!