Going Deeper with the Message:
The Essential Elements of the Gospel
by: Ben Biles
On Sunday, Pastor Tim started off our new series When God Walked Alone, which is loosely based on his new book by the same title. The idea behind the series and the book is to better explain the gospel message by communicating the three essential elements of this message. These elements are 1) the problem is sin, 2) the solution is Jesus, and 3) the response God is looking for is faith. The purpose is to equip each of us to confidently share our faith with others, clearing up any confusion along the way.
The first element of the Gospel message starts off with bad news: all people are sinful. Yet, a lot of people believe that they will go to heaven after they die because they lived good lives. The Bible gives us a different perspective. Paul explains in Romans that “there is no one righteous, not even one” and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The problem is that all of humanity is considered sinful and unable to come to know God or enter heaven after death. Without God, we are eternally doomed.
Thankfully, God does not leave us in sin, but provides a solution to sin through His Son. Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died on the cross for the sins of the world. Paul explains that “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty for those sins through His death. We see God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice through His resurrection from the dead.
Now, the response God is looking for is faith. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he says “for you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Salvation is a gift from God that is received by faith in Jesus Christ. Through faith, our sins are forever forgiven, God declares us righteous, and we are given eternal life.
This is the Gospel that we live to proclaim. Our greatest desire is for all people to come to know God and have their lives forever changed by the Gospel. We get to be a part of God’s mission as He uses us to communicate this incredible message of grace.
Living out the Message:
Our Response to the Gospel
By Ben Biles
Though we were dead in our sins, God made us alive together with Christ. The gospel message is one of hope as we are forgiven from our sins and enter into a relationship with our Creator. Yet, many Christians are confused about what comes next. How does this gospel message change the way we live now? From what I gather from the New Testament, I have found four main actions that characterize the life of a believer.
First, we are called to rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The reason for our rejoicing is based on what God has done for us. He has saved us from an eternity apart from Himself and has given us eternal life. We now have a relationship with our Creator and are secured in His love and grace. This is cause for daily celebration! Plus, your joy is one of the greatest evidences of God’s work in your life.
Second, we give thanks to God for what He has done for us and what He continues to do in our lives. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Though it is easy to get distracted with everything going on in your life, a mind focused on God gives thanks to Him. This is a sign of our appreciation and love for Him as we acknowledge how great our God is. God has given us the very thing our souls desperately desire and we thank Him for this free gift of eternal life.
Paul encourages all believers to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1–2). Though we all struggle with sin, we are continually being shaped by God to be more like Him. There are hundreds of commands in the New Testament that instruct us on how to do this, and they are all aimed at showing us how to be more like Jesus. When we do this, our lives align with our faith.
Finally, we share our faith with those who do not know God and His salvation. Jesus commands His disciples with His final words in the gospel of Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). We want everyone to come to know God and His salvation and share our faith out of love. To that end, we proclaim the gospel through the way we live and speak as we understand that God has put us all in the right place to impact the lives of others.