This is a guest post by our brother Matthew Lannes
I want to humbly submit this article. The only reason I have written this article is because of the concern I have for those reading it. In myself I have nothing to offer, I am not a just or mighty man and my only boast is in Jesus Christ. What I am writing about is not derived from me, but from God. This is from what I have read and heard preached from the Holy Scriptures, it is redemptive revelation from God. Please read my article and consider the truths that I have in my best efforts tried to layout.
The Meaning of The Gospel
Do you know what the gospel is? Perhaps you have heard of it before or might have an idea of what it is. The word gospel means good news. You might be thinking good news about what? Before I cover that, let’s lay down some important truths that are essential pieces to understanding why the good news is so good.
First let’s start with who God is. God is the only true and living God, all other gods are idols, this is foundational to the Christian worldview (see Deuteronomy 6:4, Jeremiah 10:10, Isaiah 43:10-11 and Isaiah 44:6-8). God is the creator of all things (see Gen 1:1, John 1:1-3, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6). God is Love Himself and has given creation so many blessings like sunsets, family, friends, love and all kinds of other things we take for granted. All blessings in life flow from His Holy hands. However, God is Holy (1 Samuel 2:2, Habakkuk 1:13, and 1 John 1:5) and cannot sin. The Lord is perfection itself. God has many attributes and we cannot isolate him to the attributes we like in order to fit our earthly ideals. Who God is important, because if you aren’t worshipping the God as defined in the bible you have no God, but a mere idol. Idols cannot save you but are man-made condemnation machines. Question 8 of Benjamin Keach’s Catechism states, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. (John 4:24; Ps. 147:5; Ps. 90:2; James 1:17; Rev. 4:8; Ps. 89:14; Exod. 34:6,7; 1 Tim. 1:17)”
God’s Justice in Relation to Our Sin
Before we dive into God’s justice in relation to our sin, let’s define sin. Sin is the transgression or breaking of God’s Law. What law is being broken? The law referenced above is the moral law of God. You may be familiar with the title, “The Ten Commandments” (see Exodus 20). The moral law reveals to us what sin is and how we are to live. The law also lays out the various categories of sin. It is the standard as to what is right and wrong, or what is moral. The law of God requires perfect obedience. Galatians 3:10 says, “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’” The problem is that we cannot abide in all the things written in the Book of the Law and we sin all the time. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything regardless of it’s value? Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever dishonored your parents? Have you ever committed adultery?
Adam, mankind’s representative, sinned against God. This is a biblical doctrine called representative sin, which is the concept in which there was a union between Adam and all of his offspring. His sin plunged mankind into sin. Our natures were changed to being rebels who are bent away from God’s will and now we desire to do evil. All of our sins we commit outwardly flow from our wicked hearts. Sam Waldron said in his book, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, “Actual sins are not mistakes or accidents. They are the manifestations of our fundamentally evil hearts (Matthew 7:17-20; 12:33-35; 15:18-20).” Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We participate in sin daily. As Ray Comfort always says, “the Bible tells us what death is, ‘Death is our wages.’” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…” It is what we have earned for our wickedness and it is something every single person will go through. As a modern society that has a higher average life expectancy than the past, we can get sucked into thinking that we are guaranteed to live till 80 or 90 years old. However, no one knows the day they will die and stand before God, few even have a general feeling as to when their time of departure might be. I’m afraid that we have lost the sense of how imminent death is. This uncertainty of death should impress upon you the serious nature of mortality approaching us. Breaking the moral law is in nature injustice towards God. Another crucial attribute to God is His justice. God being a just judge must punish sins and cannot let sin slide. Romans 3:10-12 says, “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’” At this point you might be thinking that you are not that bad of a person in comparison to others and do good things as well. The appropriate response to such a claim is, a just judge on earth would not let someone off for murder charges for those who are clearly guilty based on other “good things” they have done. If I broke the law and started to inform the judge that I volunteer on the weekends and pay my taxes, the judge wouldn’t clear my crimes based on “good” things that I have done in the past. How much more is God, who is the perfect Judge, going to hold you accountable for your sins?
What’s Our Hope? Is there Good News?
The question now is what can we do? How can we be made right with God, if our works can’t please God? Let’s revisit Romans 6:23 because we only hit the first half of that verse. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This encapsulates the gospel. We have all broken God’s law and deserve eternal death and separation from God. But, God in His love and mercy didn’t leave us to what we deserve. God sent His son into the world, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life and never sinned, even while being tempted. God being a just and merciful Savior sent His son to die for sinners. This is the gospel! Gospel means good news! This good news is exemplified in 1 Timothy 1:15-17. Christ didn’t come into the world with a new law, but brought to us the good news that there is forgiveness for sinners in Christ! He bore the wrath of God on the cross and took the punishment that should have been poured out upon His people for all eternity. He stood in the place of unrighteous men and took on the sin of all of His children and gave His elect people His righteousness. Now, we can stand before God on judgment day clothed with Christ’s righteousness. This is also known as the great exchange! Now, God can justly give Christ’s redeemed people eternal life because He executed His eternal wrath on Christ in our place. John 19:30 says, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” In that instant, Christ had paid for the debt of sin and trespasses of all who had and would believe in Him! What good news! Christ rose from the grave and defeated death! Now all who repent and believe in Jesus can have eternal life! R.C Sproul wrote in a blog post on Ligonier Ministries’ website entitled, “What is the Gospel?” “The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.”
What is Biblical Repentance?
Repentance means to have a change of mind. Biblically, it is the acknowledgment and confession that we have sinned against God and are guilty (See Psalm 51:3-4). Biblical repentance is turning from our sin to Jesus Christ. A real recognition of our sins should cause us to feel the guilt of our transgressions against God. This recognition should lead us to sorrow, remorse, hatred for our actions, and a zeal to walk in a new fashion. True repentance is not limited to just a sincere confession but is followed by turning away from your sins. Matthew 3:8,10 says “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance… Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” I want you to see that repentance is linked to faith and that there is a major distinction between the fruits of repentance and repentance itself. Something you may be wondering about in Matthew 3, is what is this talk about fruit? The fruit being discussed are good works and are evidence of a changed heart in Christ. I need to be careful here and want to clarify that we are not justified or made right in the sight of God by our works as I’ve explained above, but our good works are evidence of a changed heart and a repentant individual. So while the fruit isn’t the repentance, repentance does produce the fruit.
Our Plea to the Reader
At this point I want to earnestly beg the reader to repent and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. I may not know you personally and don’t know what you have gone through in your life, but I can tell you that you have sinned against God and are in need of forgiveness. Psalm 130:3-4 says “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared..” You won’t satisfy God with your works (Romans 3:10) and are like everyone else, by way of falling short of the Glory of God. If you truly repent and believe in Jesus Christ, He will allow you to walk in newness of life, which means you will have new desires. You will hate your sin and seek God (2 Corinthians 5:17). Luke says in Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Please surrender your life to Christ! Bend the knee to Christ, because Philippians 2:10-11 expresses that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess one day that Jesus is Lord! You will either bend your knee in faith or humiliation, in joy or in shame. I plead with you, surrender to Christ. The fact that you have read this is a mercy of God. The glory of the gospel has been laid out to you. Life is short, Psalm 144:4 says, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Soon you will be judged and the question is: Will you trust in your works? Or will you trust in the works of Christ? If you trust in your works you will be condemned to Hell and I don’t want that for anyone. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ and you will have everlasting life! Search the scriptures to know God’s will and understand the Gospel more deeply. God bless you all.
Note from Sean: If you have any questions about the gospel of Jesus Christ or about Christianity, please do not hesitate to message us on our Facebook page! We would be happy to talk to you about this more in depth. Linked below are also some videos that Matt felt present the gospel clearly.
 A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith By Samuel Waldron
Other Helpful Videos:
Sean Cheetham, co-host of the Particular Baptist podcast, made a great gospel presentation video.
Paul Washer Explains the gospel on the HeartCry Missionary YouTube Channel Society.