THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Christians have one primary job once they become a Child of God. That job is to spread the good news of God's love to all of creation. Notice that there is nothing stated there about becoming a perfect human being. That is because God's plan is not and will never be for us to become perfect in practice here on Earth. Every human being that has ever walked on Earth is or has been a sinner, except one.
You may know the story of this man. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was laid in a manger, grew up listening to and conversing with great religious teachers, and later became a teacher himself. He even pulled a few men together to be disciples of His own, men who would learn His teachings and spread them throughout the world after He was gone. This man was Jesus, and He was God's son.
Jesus was born without sin; Being a man who was born from an immaculate conception, He did not inherit the sin of man as all other humans have. He never committed sin, whereas every other human sins multiple times in one day. Through this, God saw absolute perfection in His Son and loved Him immensely. However, Jesus was not the only man God loved. God loved all mankind and wished to spend eternity with us. There was only one problem: sin.
"There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:22b-23
God's character is one that is free of any blemish. He is completely righteous and holy, and by His nature, He is unable to be around sin. Due to this stipulation, only those who are not only without sin but have also obtained the righteousness of God may go to Heaven after their time on Earth is done. This means that any human that wishes to go to Heaven after they die must not only be perfect, but be more than that, since the righteousness of God goes beyond perfection. Now, this may seem impossible. Humans cannot possibly stay sinless their entire life. Sin is an innate response that was created from Adam and Eve’s time. It is impossible for any human to go to Heaven alone. There were, however, some attempts at removing sin in order to earn eternal life in Heaven.
Romans 6:23-24 tells us that the payment for sin is death.
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Because of this, the most common attempt to remove sin was by sacrificing animals. Before Christ, the head of the household would sacrifice the best animal of his household as a temporary payment for his family’s sin. However, no matter how select the men were in choosing these animals, none would be perfect, since every animal, like man, has flaws. These sacrifices were just not good enough to do the job. That is why God sent Jesus, His only Son, to Earth.
When He was a young adult, Jesus was put on trial by Jewish leaders out of anger that His teachings were contradictory to traditional Jewish law. He was viewed as an immediate threat to the Jewish population and was sentenced to death by crucifixion, even though He had not committed a distinguishable crime. At this age, Jesus had still not committed any sin. Since He was perfect, He stood in as the perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the spotless lamb that was needed to end all sacrifices.
When Jesus was killed, He died for the past, present, and future sins. His death was the payment for all sins, making future sacrifices no longer necessary. Three days after He was buried in a tomb, He rose from the dead. By doing this, He defeated death and allowed all who believe in Him to do the same. Through all this, Jesus created a single route to Heaven.
No one is able to go to Heaven without the ABCs. Not the ABCs you learn in Preschool while singing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, but the Gospel ABCs. In order to go to Heaven, one must:
A - Accept that he or she is a sinner who needs a Savior.
B - Believe that Jesus died on the cross for all sins, rose again, and is seated at the right hand of God.
C - Choose Him as his or her personal Savior and follow him. This means trusting in Him to be the only way to get into Heaven, and learning His teachings so that life on Earth can be more fruitful.
Believe it or not, this is all that is needed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no list of charities to aid, or names of elderly women you must help to cross the street, because there is no way to earn admission into Heaven. All is finished due to God’s immense love for all mankind. He loves us so much that He sent his Son to die for all creation. All that is left to do is believe and pray for the ABCs. When that is done, that person is a Child of God, under the complete protection of a wonderful Father for the remainder of life on Earth and an everlasting life in Heaven.
"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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." John 3:16-18
NOTE: The Bible Gateway is an online resource for access to many online translations of the Bible, study resources and faith-related articles. At Faith Church we have chosen to read the NIV Bible (New International Version).