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Understanding and Applying Biblical Truth

The Simple Gospel—
The Christian Message in Plain Language

The bold announcement of Christianity is this: there is hope for humanity, access to the living God, restoration for those who have gone astray. In short, the Biblical message is good news! But what is genuine Christianity? And what, of major consequence, does it offer to men and women today?

While desiring to be neither trite nor overly detailed, the basic answer is found in a person, Jesus Christ. This Jew from ancient Palestine claimed to be the promised King and Deliverer of His people. The Bible affirms that He is fully human—like us in all ways, except that He never did wrong in the sight of God (see Hebrews 2:14-18). But He is also fully divine—equal with God and eternally existing (see John 1:1).

Furthermore, being such a unique person, He was qualified to truly represent both God and man. He was able to, as it were, connect heaven and earth. But how exactly did He bridge this gap? By what means did He bring God and man together into intimate fellowship?

Jesus stands unparalleled in that He alone obeyed God without exception. All others since the dawn of time have violated God's requirements on many points. Because the Bible declares that only those who have kept God's commands have access to Him, Jesus obeyed the divine law for those who haven't. His life then was lived in a substitutionary sense. He lived life as God originally intended—perfectly.

Likewise, His death also carried a representative significance. That is, He suffered as an innocent victim so that those who were guilty of many faults would go free. Jesus experienced the rejection of God as He hung upon a Roman cross. In His sufferings He swallowed up the anger that guilty men and women had incurred through their disobedience to the divine regulations.

Jesus Christ lived, died and, finally, He rose again from the grave. The bodily resurrection of Jesus was the capstone of His mighty career. His conquest of death was a declaration that He was indeed who He claimed to be, God become man. It was also God's stamp of approval—His work on the Cross was accepted. This was the climax of all that preceded, the exclamation point on the life and death of Jesus Christ.

But how is it that these events from long ago become meaningful to us today? In what ways can we benefit from Jesus' great accomplishment? One fairly obvious starting point is the reality of human need. All of us have done precisely what God has forbidden. We have, in a variety of ways, ignored and gone against the wishes of our Creator.

Our lives can't hold up to the scrutiny of a perfectly impartial God. In fact our wrongs have placed us in a rather precarious position. We have revolted against the God who knows us completely and judges us uncompromisingly; it is impossible to hide from Him, and He doesn't bend the rules!

The bottom line is that we plainly don't measure up. Thankfully, Jesus does. Therefore, we need Him!

The good news, then, is very simple. Those who take Jesus Christ are rescued from the penalty and enslaving influence of their crimes. And taking Him involves trust. Those who place their unqualified confidence in Him are made friends with God.

Personal merit (how good I think I am) and religious endeavors (how spiritual I believe myself to be) are of no avail in the sight of God. Any who desire a right relationship with Him must forsake all other hopes of pardon and embrace Jesus Christ alone.

Our best deeds are sadly lacking, but Jesus' deeds serve as a perfect replacement. The courtroom of heaven would banish us forever, but on the cross Jesus took our punishment for us. Childlike reliance upon Him, unmixed with human effort, results in an unshakable standing and unmatched friendship with God. All else, from ethics to worship, flows out of this basic element—trust.

If you would have Him you must plead His undeserved kindness; you must rest in Jesus Christ. Those who cast themselves upon Him, relying only on His merits, find peace with God. This is the good news—and it is yours for the taking if you will abandon yourself to Him!

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