The Good News
The Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with bad news. The bad news is that although mankind was created by God in His image, our sin has separated us from God. God is perfectly just and holy, and He cannot allow sinful humanity into fellowship with Him. All of humanity is tainted by sin; everyone - regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or social status - is guilty of sinning against God. What is sin? Sin is anything we do that breaks the Law of God. Sin includes actions such as murder, lying, stealing, etc.; it also includes wrongful attitudes such as lust, envy, greed, and hatred, among others. The Bible says it like this: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
The bad news gets worse when we realize that the penalty for breaking God's Law is eternal death and punishment in hell. Every one of us, because we have violated the Law of God, deserves to spend eternity in hell, a place of torment and separation from God. As the Apostle Paul says, "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23a)
The Good news is that God has provided a solution to our sin problem. God loves humanity and desires us to live forever in eternal fellowship with Him, but He cannot countenance sin. God's solution was to send Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, to pay the penalty of death we owe. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:6-9) Jesus died on a Roman cross as our substitute, so that we might be forgiven of our sin debt and live eternally in fellowship with Him. All that we have to do for forgiveness is repent of our sins and place our trust in what Jesus did for us when He paid our debt with His death. When we do, God forgives our sin and welcomes us into fellowship with Him.
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