The Main Thing
WHAT IS THE MAIN THING?
The most important question in life is this: Who is Jesus?
According to the Bible, Jesus is the fully divine Son of God and the fully human Savior for all who trust in Him. He came preaching what Scripture calls the “Gospel,” a word that simply means “Good News.” The Good News is that Jesus, the Son of God, is Lord. He is the one true King, who not only gives full pardon for sin, but who also invites sinners like us into His family. This was His core message, both in what He said and in His life lived, and is in fact the main message of all of Scripture.
One pastor and author, Greg Gilbert, in his short book What is the Gospel?, helpfully summed this message up with these four words: God, Man, Christ, Response.
The Good News begins with the truth that everything was created by God, for God (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 43:6-7; Colossians 1:16). Everything–including all of humanity, created to be in relationship God–was created to exist under His good rule and reign.
The first people, Adam and Eve, disobeyed the command that God gave them to not eat of the fruit from one specific tree in the garden God created for them (Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:1-6). Eating fruit by itself isn’t a big deal, but here’s what is a big deal: Acting as if anything other than God is God. And that’s exactly what Adam and Eve were doing. When they ate that fruit, they were in essence saying to God – We’d rather do what we want than what You say is best for us. We’d rather eat this fruit than enjoy our relationship with You. We’d rather trust this serpent than trust Your words. We’d rather choose to follow our own desires than Yours. That is nothing less than idolatry, plain and simple.
And here’s the real issue: We all do the same thing (Romans 3:23). Every single one of us lives as if some created thing – ourselves, certain other people, our jobs, celebrities, money, relationships, technology, all sorts of things – is more worthy of our devotion than God Himself. We’ve turned our backs on Him; we’ve chosen other things over Him; we’ve gone our own ways apart from Him (Romans 3:10-18).
The Bible calls all of this sin, and God has always been clear: the penalty for sin is death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).
From immediately after the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15), God has made known His eternal plan to bring salvation to all who believe through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus the Christ, the Savior-King (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 1:12; John 3:16).
Our problem was sin, and Christ came to deal with sin by paying the penalty for our sin (Isaiah 53:4-6; Colossians 2:13-14) though He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He came to free us from the power of sin over us (Romans 6:5-6). He came to call us into His family – the family of God – as the children of God (Romans 8:15-16; John 1:12) and His brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11). He came to take on our sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Good News likes this demands a response.
The message of the gospel then is clear: Salvation from sin and the gift of life – now and forever – comes not through our works and efforts, but only through faith in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:1-10 makes this message crystal clear. Here’s the summary of that passage, found in verses 8 & 9:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Faith means “trust” – it is trusting in the message of the gospel and trusting in the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ on your behalf. By its very nature, it means confessing our sin and turning to Jesus (“repentance”), admitting that we cannot do it on our own by any good works, and trusting completely in who He is and what He has done. The person who trusts in Jesus then surrenders his or her life to following Jesus. The Christian life is lived not to earn God’s favor, but in response to God’s favor being given freely to us through faith in Jesus.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Is this a message that you have responded to in faith and repentance? If not, and you see your need for doing so, ask God right where you are to forgive your sins and confess to Him your need for Jesus to be your Savior and Lord. And then give us a call, we’d love to talk with you and help you learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.