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The Gospel

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIVUK)

This verse is probably the most known and preached of all gospel texts.  It presents the five essential components of God’s good news.  Firstly, “God so loved the world”.  God is love (1 John 4:16), and ‘loving’ is a normal expression of His character.  God loves everybody, even though they do not love Him.  He has made them and it is His nature to love them without limitation, holding nothing back, even His Son.  The “world” means all the people in the world at every point of time; all have sinned - everybody except Jesus has offended God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).  

Secondly, although Jesus is infinitely precious to God, the Father chose to sacrifice the Son so that sinful people might be brought back into His family.  Such love is totally undeserved by sinful human beings as 1 Peter 3:18 says, “… Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”  Thirdly, His sacrifice demands a personal response of faith (John 6:28; Ephesians 2:8-9).  Anybody is allowed to believe in Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’ (John 1:29).  God does not limit access to His grace because of anybody’s religious background, race, culture or other social distinction (Titus 2:11).

Fourthly, when a person trusts Jesus, they are promised that the sentence of eternal punishment for their sins has already been paid by the death of Christ (Romans 8:1), and so they will never perish (2 Peter 3:9).  Fifthly, those who trust in Jesus are promised eternal life.  ‘Eternal’ means ‘will never cease’.  New life in Christ starts now, free from condemnation and guilt (2 Corinthians 5:17) and will continue through death into God’s Kingdom for ever.

The gospel is such good news.  It announces that anybody who believes in Jesus Christ will have their guilt and the fear of hell totally removed; and they are also promised eternal life in peace with God, starting when they are born again.  All this is because the holy God loves sinful people and does not want them to perish.  This news is not only good, but also critical to everybody’s eternal destiny.  If you believe this, do you share it?  Do you realise the urgency to be a Gospel ambassador, as the Apostle Paul said, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20). There is nothing patronising or superior about proclaiming Christ: it is like one beggar who has found bread telling another hungry beggar where to get it, and that there is plenty for everybody!  If you are in Christ, you are a Gospel ambassador – so serve your King well, and tell out the good news!

Ever-loving God. Thank You for being willing to sacrifice Jesus Christ so that I might be made fit for heaven. I am sorry when I have forgotten my responsibility to share this good news with others, and been careless about their eternal destiny. Please help me each day to realise that I am a Gospel ambassador, and be willing to be open about my faith in Jesus Christ, looking for the opportunities You are placing before me to share the good news with those around me at home and work. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams