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What is the Gospel?

     The word GOSPEL is from the Anglo-Saxon, god-speil, "God-story," a translation of the Greek euangelion, "good news." The Gospel is the good news of the message of salvation offered by God to all who believe in His Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior.
     In the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1:26, God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; ..." The phrase "Our image" didn't refer to God's incommunicable attributes such as Omnificence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence or Divinity, if it did, we would have been gods ourselves. It refers instead to His communicable attributes. He made Adam and Eve as self-aware, reasoning beings that had emotions, imagination and free will. In conjunction with their bodies, they were able to interact with their environment and each other physically, intellectually and emotionally.
     While outwardly man is a physical being, living and moving in a material universe, there is also a spiritual reality. Finite, physical creatures could never truly relate to an infinite, spiritual Being so when God created man, he formed yet a third facet to our nature, a spirit. The soul, comprised of our thoughts, emotions and will, combined inextricably with this spirit to form a creature unlike all others, higher than the animals and a little lower than the angels; Unique in all Creation. It is this amalgamation of spirit and soul that survives our physical death. It is the essence of who we are as a person and will never cease to exist.

The Fall of Mankind

     Man as originally created, was perfect, without sin and God was pleased. However, continuance in this state of perfection was not guaranteed as God had given man a free will. Adam and Eve could choose their own path, either to follow and obey God or the dictates of their own hearts.
     God placed Adam and Eve in an idyllic setting, a garden said to be a paradise where all their needs were met. He gave them dominion over the earth and all the creatures He had made. They weren't burdened with numerous or difficult rules to follow. Based on the text in Genesis, it would appear that He only desired one thing, a close relationship with them and He only made one demand. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
      It's important to realize that in the Bible, the word "knowledge" is more than just awareness of some fact or issue. It implies a personal, intimate relationship or experience with the subject in question. So, by giving this commandment regarding the tree, Adam was made aware intellectually of sin and it's consequences, but, he had no personal knowledge of it. He and Eve, as long as they obeyed God's command respecting the tree, remained free from sin and the knowledge of evil.
     In Genesis 3, the account of the fall of Adam and Eve is given. Lucifer (Satan) appeared to Eve as a serpent and tempted her to disobey God. First he focused her attention on the object of the temptation.

“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”

     Eve was well aware of God's command regarding the tree of knowledge and that they were not to partake of its fruit.

     This was followed by calling into question the veracity of the promised penalty for eating of the tree.

"You surely will not die!"

     Finally, he attacked God's motives behind the commandment, insinuating that God was holding back a good thing from them for selfish reasons.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

     As she considered these thoughts introduced by the serpent, she looked on the tree with new eyes. It says in Genesis 3:6 "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate."
     With this one act of disobedience, sin was born into the human race, and just as Satan had promised, they still lived, at least in a physical sense. Their spirit, however, died at the very instant they transgressed the commandment of God.
     We tend to think of death as a cessation of being, but this is not the biblical view, instead, the word death implies a "separation". In the case of Adam and Eve, their spiritual beings had become corrupt and were separated from God, the very source of life. Without this life giving connection, not only was their spirit "dead" but the corruption spread to their very flesh leading to physical death and finally in some fashion known only to God, to the whole of creation. Their final legacy was to pass on this sin nature and a cursed creation to all mankind.
     In Romans 5:12 Paul tells us, that through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and that death spread to all men, because all sinned-" but in 6:23b he goes on to say "..., but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How Can I Be Saved?

     There are various doctrinal positions regarding the "mechanics" of salvation, however, this document isn't intended to address them. It is my goal to focus on man's perception of the experience rather than the actual causal aspects. Outlined below is a step-by-step sequence of events that lead to salvation. The Bible makes is clear in its teaching that faith is necessary for salvation and Romans 10:17 says, "…faith comes by hearing*, and hearing* by the word of God." This being the case, I've utilized scripture to support each of the steps outlined. ( * understanding )
  • Realization of personal sin and guilt before God.

Romans 3:23

      "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

Romans 3:10b-18

     There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not, so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
  • You must Repent of your sins - more than merely being sorry, it is a turning away from sin accompanied by a desire to live a life pleasing to God.

Mark 1:15

     "The time has come," he (Jesus) said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Acts 26:19-20

     "…I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance."
  • Believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who lived a perfect life and then willingly gave His life on the cross, suffering the wrath of God the Father, as payment in full for the sin debt of all who believe.

John 3:16

      "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life"

2 Corinthians 5:21

     "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

1 Peter 2:23

     "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."

Hebrews 9:15

     "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."
  • Believe that following His death and burial, Jesus was physically resurrected to life and ascended to Heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:3-7

     "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,"

Acts 1:3

     "After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God."

Acts 1:9-11

     "After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
  • You must trust in what Christ has done for you, not in your own works.

Romans 3:21-25a

     "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood."

Ephesians 2:8-10

     "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

     The five steps above are not a formula for salvation.  There are many, who if asked, would openly confess these truths, yet they remain in their sinful, unforgiven state.  Salvation does not come to those with head knowledge only, but to those with a "heart knowledge".

      The sum of the above steps are encapsulated within these next few verses:

Romans 10:8-13

". . . .THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

 
 

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