What Is the Gospel?

What is the gospel? Every Christian needs to be able to succinctly and sufficiently answer this question to anyone—it contains the very keys to eternal life.

Let me offer my answer:

The gospel is the good news that God saves sinners who repent and believe in Jesus.

I have this memorized. My two daughters, ages five and six right now, have this memorized. It comes out of our mouths instinctively with almost no effort. But memorizing a canned response is only the first part. You must be able to expound upon its meaning.

Pastor Emilio Ramos of Heritage Grace Community Church shares the gospel with student at the Univ. of North Texas.

Pastor Emilio Ramos of Heritage Grace Community Church shares the gospel with students at the University of North Texas.

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Pierced for Our Transgressions

On this day some 2,000 years ago, Jesus atoned for the sins of his people once and for all. It was a Good Friday.

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (ESV)

Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Please read this if you have never truly repented of your sins and put your faith in the Son of God alone for your salvation.

Don’t Sell Short the Gospel

Here is a passage of Scripture that we’ve no doubt heard:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

The list is interesting. Thieves and adulterers. Greedy people and idolaters. Drunkards and homosexuals. I don’t think Paul is trying to equate any of these sins with each other– other than the fact that they are sins and they prevent access into God’s kingdom. And since homosexuality seems to be the popular topic these days, let me clarify. When looking at the issue of homosexuality being a sin, Paul is not just talking about underage male prostitutes as some liberals attempt to portray. The Greek term used here refers explicitly to the “active” and “passive” roles in the homosexual relationship. Men having sex with men is definitely sinful.

But if that’s all we preach, we are selling short the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (more…)

Old Testament Titles of Jehovah Appropriated by Christ

In a comprehensive article about the deity of Christ, noted scholars F.F. Bruce and W.J. Martin pointed out some of the many titles that Jesus Christ uniquely shares with YHWH:

  • “First and Last”
  • The “I AM”
  • Author of Eternal Words
  • Light
  • Rock
  • Bridegroom
  • Shepherd
  • Forgiver of Sins
  • Redeemer
  • Savior/Author of Salvation
  • Co-Partner of Divine Glory
  • Judge

The PDF article can be found here.

Memorial Day

Men gave their lives for the freedom of nations from oppressive governments. Christ gave his life for the freedom of humanity from the bondage and punishment of sin. Repent, believe, and experience true liberty.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:5)

To Judge or Not to Judge

Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the Minnesota Judicial Center.*

It has been said that the most popular verse in the Bible is not John 3:16. Most people, though they cannot cite the book, chapter, and verse, invariably know how it goes: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7:1).

Nearly without fail, this verse gets whipped out whenever someone challenges a person’s less-than-godly behavior. Often, the most ardent defenders of this verse are those who do not even follow Christ.

For example, someone makes the assertion that homosexuality is wrong. “Don’t judge me.”

It’s probably not a good idea to get plastered every weekend. “Don’t judge me.”

Sex before marriage is a sin. “Don’t judge me.”

Let’s be honest. What people really ought to say is, “I know what I’m doing is wrong and I don’t like people pointing it out.” (more…)

Stay in the Light

Think about what it is like to walk along a wooded path in complete darkness. Perhaps a hike through the forest took a little bit longer than expected and, with an overcast sky, some unprepared hikers must attempt to find their campsite without any flashlights or illumination from the moon and stars. Such an analogy comes to mind when I read the first chapter of 1 John. (more…)