Questions to Ponder
Is there life after death? Can you imagine ceasing to exist? If reality consists of more than this life, where will you spend eternity?
If you were to die tonight, where would you be tomorrow? Is it possible for someone to really know where they will spend eternity?
Is it really possible for anyone to know for certain their have sins been forgiven and that they have eternal life?
When it comes to standing before God, are you just waiting and hoping for the best?
Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation?
Do you know for sure that you are saved?
The Gospel in 25 Words
The Lord Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins, arose from the grave and eternally saves all who turn to Him in faith.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)
The Essentials of the Gospel
- We are all sinners before a holy, righteous and just God, with sin preventing us from having any sort of relationship with him.
“ For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:22b–23, NKJV)
- Because of God’s holiness and righteousness, all sinners deserve to stand before the Lord and be judged guilty—condemned to spend all eternity being punished for their sins in the Lake of Fire.
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:13–14, NKJV)
- However, God does not desire for anyone to perish in this way, but loves everyone, without exception, so much that he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to experience the wrath of God against sin and to die in our place.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV)
- As the sinless Son of God, God in the flesh, Jesus willingly obeyed God the Father and gave himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty that we all deserve for our sin.
“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” (Hebrews 7:26–27, NKJV)
- Jesus was executed on a Roman cross, taking our punishment upon himself by dying and shedding his blood as the payment and covering for our sin.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13–14, NKJV)
- After being buried, Jesus bodily arose from the dead on the third day to live forevermore, offering salvation as a free gift to anyone who will believe and trust in him.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20–22, NKJV)
- The moment a sinner understands the gospel (as stated above) and by faith turns to Jesus as Savior with a repentant heart, trusting him alone for salvation, that person is completely forgiven, is born-again as a child of God, receives the Holy Spirit and is eternally saved.
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9–10, NKJV)
- Wherever you are at this very moment, you can be saved by turning to the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, in faith, trusting him alone to forgive your sins and give you the free gift of eternal life.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NKJV)
The Gospel More Fully Explained
Have you ever heard the word “gospel?” In the original language of the New Testament, the word “gospel” translates the word that simply means “good news.”
The Bad News and The Good News
This good news was proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles and stands in stark contrast to some very bad news. The bad news is that each one of us are sinners. We are all sinners by nature—and we are all sinners by choice because of the sins we commit. In the eyes of God, even those little things we sometimes like to call “mistakes”—things like “little white lies,” losing our temper unnecessarily, cheating on something, or maybe just ‘borrowing” something that isn’t ours—those things and so much more are all sins. This isn’t even counting the “big sins” like lying, stealing, adultery or murder.
The Bible goes on to say that sin can even include things we don’t actually do, but rather just seriously consider or fantasize about. Again, this is more bad news. And because we have all sinned, because we are all sinners, we are all rightly under God’s condemnation—fully deserving eternal judgment which will be endless conscious torment in the Lake of Fire (commonly referred to as “hell”). Clearly, this is really bad news.
But by God’s grace, there is also some very good news—the best news we could ever hear. The good news is that God loves each one of us so much that he has graciously provided a means by which we can have our sins forgiven and instead of eternal punishment, we can have eternal life. And there’s more to this good news: All of these things are immediately available as a completely free gift to anyone who will simply ask God for them in faith, believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, there is no other way of salvation. It’s not something we can earn and it’s definitely not something we deserve. None of our good deeds, or acts of kindness, or religious practices or rituals—nothing can make us acceptable to God because the consequences of our sinfulness are just too great.
Someone might say, “I know I’ve made mistakes in my life, but overall I think I’m a pretty good person. I know a lot of people who have done much worse things than I’ve ever even thought about. I haven’t robbed a bank. I haven’t killed anyone. I try to be honest and live a pretty good life.” But, on this count, unfortunately, there’s more bad news: Our lives aren’t graded on a curve.
The Bible teaches that God’s standard for granting us entrance into his presence and eternal life is nothing less than perfection. As the infinitely holy and righteous Creator of all, such a demand is completely within God’s rights and it is completely justified. The fact is that he writes the rules. We might even think that this is completely unreasonable and unfair, but ultimately that is only because we are unable to see this clearly from the Lord’s perspective. We often just don’t get it.
Nonetheless, this means that after we die and stand before God to give an account of our lives, if the Lord were to weigh the good things in our lives against the bad, every sin we’ve ever committed, no matter how seemingly small or significant, would count as an infinite weight on the “bad” side of the scale.
An Illustration of Our Really Big Problem
Perhaps an illustration would help: Let’s say I am working on a special project and I ask you and a friend to bring me two perfectly clean pieces of paper. Because of the precise nature of the project, the paper can’t have even the smallest smudge or spot or speck of dirt on it. In fact, the demands of my project are so rigorous that before I can accept it I will have to look at it under a microscope to confirm that it is perfectly clean.
So, you both go to a specialty paper store and each of you buys a sheet of the brightest white paper you can find. On the way back, a gust of wind catches the paper in your friend’s hand and it lands squarely in the mud. That piece of paper is hopelessly filthy and no one would ever think it could be acceptable.
On the other hand, just before you hand me your well-protected piece of paper, you happen to notice what appears to be a very slight smudge in one small spot that looks like it might have come from your thumb. So, you very carefully work to rub off the smudge and it seems that you were able to get it all—it looks perfectly fine to you. So, you hand me the piece of paper and I ask if you’ve kept it clean, to which you reply, “Well, pretty much. It did have a little smudge in one tiny spot, but I was able to clean it up.” Upon hearing this, I know I need to look at it under the microscope, and sure enough, there is a telltale sign of the smudge and rather than cleaning it up, a tiny amount of dirt, invisible to the naked eye, has become embedded in the fibers of the paper—making it unusable for my purposes and completely unacceptable.
So, now we have two completely unusable pieces of paper. One is obviously a total loss and will have to be thrown away. But unfortunately, the second piece of paper that looks so much better than the first piece will end up in the same trash bin because it is equally unacceptable.
This is the problem we face with sin. We can’t clean up even the smallest sin on our own and the result is that in our natural condition, when we stand before God in judgment, we are all equally unacceptable. Clearly, this is extremely bad news because no of us could ever meet this impossibly high standard of perfection. And the consequence of failure to meet this standard is eternal condemnation away from God’s presence, experiencing the conscious pain of punishment for our sins.
Eternal Life is Free to Us, However…
However, the good news is that God in his grace has provided a permanent solution to the bad news of our sin problem. Salvation—forgiven sin and eternal life are available as a completely free gift to anyone who will ask for them from God. We need to realize, though, that as with any gift, it did cost someone something. And in fact in this case the price was extremely high—so high that it was the ultimate price: someone had to give his life in exchange for it.
But whose life could possibly be of such great value that it could be exchanged for the sum total of the debt of sin of every person who ever has or ever will live—a debt that everyone owes because of his or her sins against an infinitely holy and righteous God?
There is only one person whose life was of infinite value—Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world. But how could even his life be of such great value? The answer is very simple, yet extremely profound—Jesus Christ was, and is God. Yes, he was called “the Son of God,” but the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day sought to put him to death for blasphemy because they correctly understood that by referring to himself as “the Son of God” he was claiming to actually be God.
It was this Jesus who allowed himself to be sacrificed for the sins of the world, executed as a common criminal on a Roman cross as a result of the scheming of the religious leaders of the Jewish people. It was this Jesus whose blood was shed so that the penalty for our sins could be taken away as he died for each of us and in our place. As horrible as this injustice was, the execution of an innocent man in the place of sinners, it ultimately became the foundation of the good news for us. God took upon himself the punishment we deserve so that our sins could be forgiven and so that we would never have to personally suffer the consequences of an eternal death penalty ourselves. Again, this is incredibly good news.
The Good News Gets Even Better
And there is more. The invitation to accept God’s offer of salvation – forgiveness of sin and the free gift of eternal life – is open to all. All that is required, as is true of any gift, is to simply receive it.
No one will seek forgiveness who does not believe they need to be forgiven, so we must first agree with God that we are sinners who have sinned against him. Neither will anyone seek forgiveness from someone who is not able to forgive sin. Since only God can forgive sin, one must believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. Since only an infinite sacrifice could ever pay for our sins against an infinitely holy God, we must believe that Jesus died on the cross in our place, for our sins. And since only the author and giver of life could possibly give eternal life as a gift, we must believe that Jesus arose from the grave and is alive forevermore.
In the moment that we trust Christ for our salvation, we are born-again; we are forgiven of all our sins; we are saved from eternal death in the Lake of Fire; we are adopted as children of God; we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God; we are given a new nature and we receive the free gift of eternal life;
If you were to die tonight, where would you be tomorrow?
Do you know that your sins have been forgiven?
Do you know that you have eternal life?
Have you placed your faith and trust in Christ for your salvation?
If not, will you turn to Jesus as your Savior today?
Through a simple prayer you can tell the Lord what you believe about yourself and about Jesus Christ and ask him to save you from your sins and give you everlasting life. And you can be confident that he will eternally save you in that very moment. When the Apostle Paul was asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer was simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…”
The words of a prayer are not some sort of magic formula that must be said in a certain way to be effective. A prayer is just speaking to the Lord and a way of expressing to him in your own words what is in your heart and mind. That being the case, a prayer of saving faith might sound like the following, which you could pray in your heart with these or similar words.
Oh, Lord God, I know that I am a sinner. I have sinned against you in so many ways. I realize that I deserve your judgment. I realize that I deserve to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, separated from you for eternity, paying the price for my sins.
But I also believe that you love me and sent your son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God who came to earth become a man and die in my place on the cross, taking the punishment I deserve, shedding his blood as payment for my debt of sin.
In this moment I repent of my sin and rebellion against you and turn from myself to the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting him alone for my salvation, for the forgiveness of my sin. And I believe that Jesus arose from the grave and is alive forevermore so that I know my salvation includes not only forgiveness of sin, but also everlasting life in your presence. I call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save me now, in this very moment.
Thank you for the promise that by your grace you will eternally save all who place their faith in Jesus Christ.
Important Next Steps
If you have sincerely expressed these words or thoughts to the Lord and have truly trusted in Christ for your salvation, we would love to know about your decision and would consider it a privilege to help you get started in your new life as a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Please take a moment to send me (Dave James) an email at email@example.com. I promise to respond to you as soon as possible and I will try to help you find a good church in your area where the Bible is clearly taught and you will find the fellowship of like-minded believers.
I would encourage you to spend time each day, reading through the Bible in a systematic way, and also praying that the Lord will help you to grow spiritually and become more mature in you new Christian faith.