We hear the word “gospel” a lot, and it’s for sure an overused word, which is such an unfortunate thing. At the time that Jesus came and the term gospel was coined, it was a present day relation to a herald bringing urgent and life altering news. In fact “good news” is exactly what “gospel” means, specifically, the good news of Jesus.
This morning I went through the book of Romans and pulled out a simple walk through of what the good news in Jesus is. It changed the course of my life in high school, and continues to transform me and so many around me. Hope it is life-giving, and freedom for you!
Faith is a gift from God:
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” -Romans 1:17
We aren’t all “good people” able to please God:
“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.””-Romans 3:10-12
We just can’t earn good standing with God, it’s impossible to be perfect unless we tip the scale in our favor, making our own path to God:
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” -Romans 3:20
Jesus’ perfect report card replaces our bad marks:
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” –Romans 3:22-24
We are far worse off than we dare believe, but in Jesus we are wildly more loved and accepted than we dared hope:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” /Romans 5:6-8
We exchange being stuck in our shortcomings and hangups, to being freed from sin and now living a life of goodness for God, out of His abundant grace:
“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” -Romans 6:13-14
The result of our sin is brokenness in and all around us and ultimate death apart from God, but Jesus air-rescues us out of this hopeless state, gifting us eternal life with him:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:22-23
Living as a Jesus follower means we still struggle with sin on this side of heaven, but Jesus’ death & resurrection gives us the power to say no to sin, where before we had no power to do so:
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! -Romans 7:21-25
We will still sin and make mistakes, but the good news of Jesus is that we will not be condemned! And if we couldn’t earn our salvation, we can’t maintain it either by being religious. The crazy thing is that Jesus gifts us the freedom from trying so hard to be a good person with good works. This is the best news- we can rest from striving, and claim Jesus’ performance as a banner over our lives.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh.” -Romans 8:1-3
The Spirit gives us the power to live for God, not anything we can conjure up in our own religious strength:
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
Now we are God’s kids, instead of slaves to sin and striving to keep the rules in religion. This frees us from fear, and launches us into a genuine relationship with God, one where we call him “Abba” or “Daddy.” This is incredible news, it is the “good news” of the Gospel!
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” -Romans 8:14-16
Nothing can separate you from the love of God, or your salvation! Because it didn’t depend on you to gain it, it can’t be because of you that you lose it. It is a free gift of God in Jesus!
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39
How do we receive this gift? It’s a simple exchange in your spirit between you and God, a transferring from depending on yourself for righteousness, to Jesus, who now sits on the throne of your heart, giving you a new life in Him.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans 10:9-13
Knowing Jesus is so much more about living out of the gratitude of our new identities as His adopted kids, propelling us to live for Him out of sheer joy, verses a religious life that is rooted in fear and striving for God’s love and acceptance.