Yesterday we looked at “The Framework” within which we present the gospel. The reason we explain the framework before explaining the actual good news is because we live in a pluralistic culture. Things like “truth,” the Bible’s authority to reveal truth, or God as Creator aren’t assumed. We would be foolish to present the good news of Jesus without first explaining the biblical framework within which it is revealed.
Here is what we call the “actual news.”
As we saw yesterday: Without some sort of intervention, humanity is damned to face just, eternal, and final judgment for our sin and rebellion against God.
That is bad news. But this is where the actual good news comes in.
Rather than leaving humanity to the fate we truly deserved, God, the holy, righteous, and just creator, showed himself to also be the merciful, gracious, patient and loving God. The good news starts with the fact that God is gracious, so there is hope for us yet! He showed this grace when he sent Jesus Christ to earth.
As Jesus came to earth his words and deeds revealed that he was not only fully human, but also fully God. He said things and did things that clearly revealed (in the particular culture that he inhabited) that he was not only a mere man, but a divine man. All of this showed that in Jesus God and humanity perfectly intersected.
As a man Jesus came to represent all humanity before God. As God, he came to represent God to all humanity.
When Jesus came to earth he lived a perfect life. He lived a life before God that no other man has ever lived, totally sinless. During his life he preached about life in the Kingdom of God. Through Jesus God was graciously calling people to return to the way he designed things to be: Humanity living in relationship with him and for him in delightful submission. This is why Jesus announced that “the Kingdom of God is at hand” when he began his ministry on earth.
Jesus taught people what life in the Kingdom looked like, and also gave us a perfect example in his own life. Therefore to live with God and for God is to live as Jesus taught and lived.
At the end of this perfect life Jesus was betrayed, arrested, falsely accused and sentenced to death by crucifixion. While those who were perpetuating this heinous act thought that they were eliminating Jesus, in reality Jesus willingly went to the cross, because dying was his reason for living. Jesus came to earth in order to die.
Jesus didn’t try to defend himself before his accusers, because submitting to death on the cross was his plan all along. Though he never sinned, he willingly accepted the penalty for sin (death), because he came to die as a substitute for human sin.
Before God, Jesus’ death on the cross was “substitutionary” in nature. So the reason God could call humans back to himself and accept them is because Jesus died as a substitute for humanity. He paid the penalty that our sin deserved when he represented sinful humans before the holy and righteous God. Because of his death, justice was served as the penalty that God required for sin was paid. At the same time, tremendous grace was dispensed as that penalty wasn’t paid by humanity, who owed it, but by Jesus.
Three days after Jesus died he rose from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus was vindication of his divine nature, and proved that everything he said and did was true. The resurrection revealed the mission he came to accomplish. He submitted to death in order to bring life out of death.
After rising from the dead Jesus appeared to hundreds of people, and eventually he ascended into heaven where today he sits at the right hand of God. He sits enthroned at God’s right hand as the conquering hero, praying for those who follow him.
In summary, the good news of Jesus Christ is that he came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died as a substitute for sin. He then rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, providing in himself the way to salvation. There is hope in the grace of God.