Gospel literally means good news in Ancient Greek, and do I have some good news to share with you.
Jesus saved you.
He saved you from the penalty of sin.
This is where we have to start. You won't see the good news as good until you fully grasp this point. Jesus saves you from the penalty of sin.
Apart from God’s grace, we are rebels against God. We live self-centered lives revolving around me, myself, and I. That’s not God’s design for this world. Our rebellion against God’s reign and order is sinful. Sin is when we insist on our own way instead of living under God’s way. Scripture tells us over and over again that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). In our rebellion, we deserve God’s wrath, for we are complicit in vandalizing the world.
But Jesus did something on the cross. He bore the wrath that you deserved. He died the death that we should die. Jesus’ death accomplished something: he rescued you from the penalty of sin.
Here's the good news: You are no longer guilty. You are no longer condemned. Jesus bore your guilt and shame. In fact, you’re innocent and free. You no longer have to fear other people as your Creator proclaims: "this is my child, in whom I am well pleased."
Jesus is saving you!
Jesus is saving you from the power of sin.
“As death came into the world through one man, so did sin” (Romans 5:12).
Francis Spufford described sin as “the human propensity to mess things up.” We’re enslaved to sin. This is why Jesus lived and died -- for our freedom. “For freedom, Christ set you free” (Gal. 5:1). What this means is that through Jesus we are different people! We find this pattern all throughout Scripture, where the Apostle Paul wrote about the old man and the new man. There is the old me (i.e. the one before Jesus) and there is the new me (the one changed by Jesus). Jesus lived so that we can have abundant life and joy.
Here's the good news: Jesus frees you from repeating the same sins over and over again. You have a new heart with new passions and desires. The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead now resides in you.
You're a new person. Jesus "sets you free from your past that you cannot change, and opens you up to a future in which you can be changed" (adapted from one of our prayers of confession).
Jesus will save you.
He will save you from the presence of sin.
But we know life is a mess. We see brokenness in ourselves, our families, neighborhoods, and world. We see sin left and right, and we continue to find our complicity in it. That's because sin is real, it is powerful, and it remains in you, in others, and this world.
One day, however, Jesus will return and make an end to all sin, suffering, evil, and brokenness. "Behold, I am making all things new" (Rev. 21:5)!
We cannot escape cancer or war in this life, but in the New Heavens and the New World, it will all be gone. There will be no presence of sin. Jesus is greater than our sin.
This is our hope. This is our comfort. This is the good news.
This is the story that we center on.