What distinguishes Christianity from all the manmade religions of the world? Today, Steven Lawson explains the foundation of the Christian faith: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: What is the gospel? I'm here on the Ligonier campus with one of our teaching fellows, Dr. Steven Lawson. Dr. Lawson, what is the gospel?
DR. STEVEN LAWSON: The gospel"the word literally means "good news." It is the good news of salvation that God has provided in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
There's a real sense in which we could say the gospel is Jesus Christ, and that's what Romans 1, 3, 4, and 5 teaches, that the gospel concerns the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
So the gospel concerns the entrance of Christ into this world on a mission of salvation. He's come to seek and to save that which is lost. He's come to lay down His life for ransom for many.
So to understand the gospel, it is that Jesus was born of a virgin, that He was born under the law. He obeyed the law at every point such that in our disobedience to the law, Christ has now obeyed for us in our place, and He has met all the demands of the law.
When He went to the cross, He suffered the curse of the law because of our lawbreaking. And on the cross, Him who knew no sin, God made to be sin for us. All the sins of all those who would ever believe upon Christ were transferred to Him as He hung upon the cross.
And Jesus propitiated the righteous anger of God. Jesus reconciled sinful man to Holy God. Jesus redeemed us or bought us out of the slave market of sin. All of this was accomplished by His substitutionary death in our place upon the cross and when He said, "It is finished," tetelestai; that means "paid in full." He had paid in full our sin debt.
He was taken down from the cross, buried in a borrowed tomb; on the third day He was raised from the dead, which validated that the death He died was a sufficient payment for our sins accepted by the Father.
He ascended to the right hand of God, where He is now seated next to the Majesty on high. And the Bible says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Everyone needs to be saved, and we might ask, Saved from what? The answer is, saved from God. Saved from the wrath of God, and there's only One who can save from the wrath of God, and that is God Himself. His mercy and His grace saves us from His wrath.
The gospel is the free offer of salvation through the work of Christ to those who have no merit of their own by which to receive this gospel. It is offered as a free gift, and it can only be received with the empty hand of faith.
Faith alone in Christ alone, offered by the grace of God alone. That in a nutshell is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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