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The Gospel

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN

Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.

God Is Sovereign Creator

Contemporary thinking says man is no more than the physical bi-product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 50:12; Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

God Is Holy

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Psalm 99:9; Isaiah 6:3). Therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Mankind Is Sinful

According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin. First Kings 8:46 says, “There is no man who does not sin” and the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:2 that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (See also 1 John 1:8). That doesn't mean we're incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we're utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Rom 3:10-12).

Sin Demands a Penalty

God's holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4; Hebrews 9:27). That's why simply changing our patterns of behavior can't solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need something, or someone, greater than ourselves to save us. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Jesus Is Savior and Lord

Even though God's justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1Peter 3:18). Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's justice, and Christ's perfect life satisfied the demands of God's holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:6-9). Because of this exchange of our sin for His righteousness, God forgives and saves those who place their faith in Him. Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. And Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The Character of Saving Faith

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Even Jesus taught that to truly believe, one must also turn from their sin (Mark 1:15). Repentance is simply agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19), pursue Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3; John 14:15). It isn't enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God, but they don't love and obey Him (James 2:19). True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15). This is what true saving faith looks like, and what it means to be a Christian. The gospel is useful, not only for conversion, but for the spiritual growth of every Christian as well.