"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" - Romans 1:16
Have you ever wondered what the word "Gospel" means? We hear the word a lot - some of us think of it in good ways, others perhaps not-so-good.
The term "Gospel" in its original form literally means "good tidings," or as we would say today, "Good News!" Paul considered it to be the best news that he could possibly share, because it is the power of God to salvation.
You see, the fact that there is good news implies that there is also bad news to counteract it. Here's the bad news - we've all sinned. We've all fallen short of being the people God wanted us to be. To some of us, that's not news at all. We know we've messed up - we know that deep down inside, we want our own way, not God's way.
For others, we may think we're good people, for the most part. After all, there are a lot of people that do worse stuff than we do. Let me ask you some questions: have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something, regardless of its value? Have you ever looked at another person with lust in your heart? Have you ever valued anything more than God?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions (and who wouldn't?), then you've just admitted that you've broken the law of God as revealed in the 10 Commandments. When judged in a court of law, we would be found guilty - and God is infinitely better than the best judge here on earth.
The Bible calls this condition "sin," and sin has a price to pay: death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Romans 6:23). In other words, if our relationship with God stops at sin, then we are all condemned to death and hell (which the Bible calls the 2nd death). This is a serious condition to find ourselves in!
This brings us back to the Good News...we don't have to be dead men walking; we can have new life in Christ! "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we're in Christ, He changes us from the inside out! In fact, when we confess our sins to Him, the Bible tells us that "...He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
To have our sins forgiven & to be made clean before God - that's great news! And if you want to hear something even better, it's that this gift of God is just that: a free gift. There's nothing we could do to earn it if we tried. In fact, the Bible says "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) In other words, all we need to do is believe that Jesus is exactly who He said He was: God in the flesh, and He's alive today.
Do you want to accept this Good News? Then repent from your sin & receive Jesus into your heart. The word “repentance” means “to turn” or “to change.” Basically, we need to turn AWAY from our sin & instead turn TO Jesus Christ for salvation. The Bible tells us "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12) You can receive Him as your Lord and Savior right now, through prayer. Just pray something like this (although you don't have to use these exact words):
Lord Jesus, I do believe You are who You said You are. I believe You are the Son of God & that You died on the cross for my sins. Thank You for dying on the cross for me; please forgive my sins, and help me to change. I also believe that You rose from the grave - thank You for your promise of new life. Fill me now with Your Holy Spirit, and make me into the person You want me to be. Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer, or one like it, and trusted Jesus with your whole life, then you now have a new birthday! Today, you are a new creation in Jesus Christ! Let me encourage you to read your Bible & pray every single day. As you begin this new walk with Jesus, He'll change your life before your very eyes through the Word & prayer. If you do not have a Bible, please email us and let us know, and we'll be happy to send you one as a free gift. firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me also encourage you to go to a Bible-believing church. There, you'll be fed the Word of God & have the opportunity to fellowship with other believers. The Bible calls us the body of Christ, and we all need each other. If you live in the Tyler area, we would be thrilled to have you join us each week. If you do not, please go to www.calvarychapel.com, and you'll probably be able to find a church where you live. Whatever church you attend, the important thing is that you worship with other believers who devote themselves to prayer, doctrine (teaching), and fellowship (see Acts 2:42).
May God bless you in your new walk with Jesus!