The central message of Christianity is called the gospel, which literally means “good news.” Everything in the Bible can be summarized by this message. When you understand and believe it, you can be full of extreme joy, no matter how bleak or miserable your circumstances might be in life. This message has four major points:
1. Because of sin, you are incapable of reaching God on your own.
The Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So whether you only occasionally lose your temper, or have committed a terrible crime, you have the same condition that keeps us from having a wonderful, personal relationship with God. This condition is called sin, an inborn desire to disobey God. It keeps you from God, no matter how hard you try to reach Him. No technology, no religious ritual, church membership, new philosophy, or even your best moral efforts can get you right with God. In God’s eyes, all you would still deserve is the punishment of death: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
2. Out of His love, God sent Jesus Christ to rescue you.
Jesus was a man who made astounding claims 2,000 years ago. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be able to forgive sins. He claimed to be able to raise the dead. He claimed that the religious leaders of the time were only fakes. Some believed Him after He performed miracles, such as healing the sick, and giving sight to the blind. The religious leaders, however, were so offended by his claims that they found a way to have him unjustly condemned in a Roman court. He was then tortured and executed by being nailed to a cross made of wooden logs.
The Bible explains why Jesus purposely allowed Himself to be captured and executed. Romans 5:8 says, But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In other words, it was out of God’s love and His desire to rescue people from darkness that Jesus died on a cross. Through His death He took upon Himself the punishment for sin that we deserved, forgave our sins, and declared us acceptable to a holy and perfect God. This was another amazing claim that offended those religious leaders who saw Jesus as nothing more than a celebrity lunatic making empty promises to draw masses of people away from the established system of religion. Jesus' rescue plan would die, so they thought, once He would die on that cross.
But on the third day, He rose from the dead, and was seen by over 500 witnesses, astonishing and stunning His followers. Today, two millenia later, scholars and skeptics still have not been able to disprove this miracle. By this rising from the dead, Jesus authenticated His amazing claims and promises. As a result, masses of people were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls (Acts 2:41).
Jesus applies all His claims to those who believe. This belief is called faith. Jesus claimed, I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life (John 6:47). 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 (Romans 10:9). This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:22). For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
Jesus Christ promises not only eternal life, but also joy, peace, love, forgiveness, victory over sinful habits, self-control, special abilities, hope, and security. Jesus said, I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) So if you truly believe in the story and claims of Jesus Christ, then you become right with God, and all that Christ promised becomes yours. Believing is the key. You might feel you must "get your act together" first, but no. It will never be enough. So no matter what you have done, or what crime you have committed, or what manner of guilt has burdened you, believe, and you will be made right with God.
4. Repent, and call on Jesus now.
“Lord Jesus, I believe. I know that I am a sinner, and now I turn from my wickedness. I need Your saving love. Thank You for taking away my sins by dying on the cross. From what You promised, I now know that You have made me right with God. Also, thank You for giving me a new and eternal life. Out of my gratitude, I now want to live my life for You. Take me, and make me more like You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Is this the prayer of your heart? If so, pray it right now, so you could call on Jesus and thank Him for saving you. The Bible says, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)