and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
Welcome, Young Believer! Over the course of beginning this study I've become more aware of some of the poisonous doctrines that have infiltrated the Church obscuring any sense of the truth. I can't tell you how much that angers and saddens me especially on behalf of new believers who don't know how to recognize much less combat these false teachings. However, in an effort to maintain clarity today I want to help you understand and share the true Gospel. We'll have plenty of time in the forum and in later studies to equip ourselves against the enemy that is doing his best to destroy us!
The word "gospel" originates from the Greek word "euangelion" which referred to the good news a messenger would bring from the battlefield that the victory had been won!
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:56
Now in order to understand the message of salvation a person must first recognize their need to be saved. If there is no need to be saved, then there is no need of a Savior. In our culture that teaches everyone is a "good person" there is a subtle arrogance that claims, "surely I'm not bad enough for God to send me to Hell?!" Yet this false perception of the human condition neglects to recognize who God is, how He views our sin, and what He says is the just punishment for that sin.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
The God we serve is wholly just and righteous. Not one of us can meet that standard of holiness and because we have fallen short we are separated from Him. The just punishment for our rebellion, our treason against the great King of the Universe is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Once we understand ourselves as justly condemned before our perfect and Holy God because of our sin, the next question we should have is how we can ever stand as righteous before Him? The big church word you may have heard that describes this new condition is "justified" or "justification".
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:22a-26
By living a perfectly sinless life and willingly laying down His life on the cross Jesus took on the wrath of God that justly should be poured out on each one of us for our sin. He is the sacrifice on our behalf to be the fulfillment of God's wrath and the law that we could never measure up to on our own.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Therefore, there is nothing we can do to work our way into being good enough to satisfy the Holy standard of our perfect God. No amount of good works or tithing is going to get you there. All that is required is faith alone by grace alone through Christ alone.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Why should we be offered such mercy and grace? Is it because of how wonderful we are or how worthy we are? No, absolutely not, but we are offered this mercy and grace because of how good, worthy, and glorious God is!
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
How then is one to receive this salvation? How are we to stand justified before God?
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
It is exactly that simple, all you have to do is believe, repent, and confess. You don't have to wait until you're "good enough" because you will never be good enough. You can't bargain with God because you have nothing that He would need or desire, all of it is already His! Whatever you have done, you are not beyond the reach of His mercy. It is this simplicity that has become a stumbling block to many so-called Christians and even professing Christian leaders in our churches. These unbelievers cannot fathom a God who is both just and loving, who is both wrathful and merciful, and who is willing to offer justification for our sins at such a small earthly price as faith seems to be in their eyes.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
There you have it then! That is the Good News of the Gospel that we are commanded to take to all the nations of the world. Back to our study of the Armor of God we see that for Christian we are to fit our feet with the peace that comes from this Gospel. We go out in the confidence of this truth whatever may come along our journey in this world.
If you have more questions about sharing the Gospel please place those in the comments. We would also love to hear from you in the forum about your experiences both good and bad in sharing this Good News with others. I also highly recommend, as always, that you find a mentor in the faith that will help to walk you through these issues as you grow in your faith. This is one journey you were never meant to take alone!