How do we typically share the gospel? Often, we share the good news, emphasizing the commands of the New Testament. We assume someone knows the fact of Jesus’ life and death and the promises surrounding the message. However, the commands cannot be truly obeyed without a good understanding of the facts and the promises surrounding Jesus and His word.
It is too simplistic to merely say Jesus died for our sins. Why did Jesus not save us some other way? Why is Jesus’ blood necessary for salvation?
- Jehovah God is holy, perfect, upright, and just. His plan is not merely for forgiveness, but is designed to make us like Him so we can live with Him. I Peter 2:21-24 discusses the example of Jesus and encourages us to walk in His steps and live unto righteousness. I Peter 1:15-16 calls us to emulate God’s holiness. His plan helps us be like Him.
- Christ died to meet the demands of justice. Genesis 9:4-5 sets forth a principal that the shedding of blood requires likewise payment. This carried over into the law of the Old Covenant. Later, in Romans 1:18 speaks of God’s wrath against ungodliness. When we sin, we spiritually have taken our own lives. When a life is taken, a life is required. (See also Romans 3:23-24 & Romans 6:23.)
Why is God’s plan what it is? His purpose is to make us like Him so we may live with Him. Why is Jesus’ blood required? His perfect life is the perfect repayment for the spiritual deaths we have created. God’s plan is designed around justice and righteousness. My sin put Jesus on the cross, and God buys me back with the sacrifice of Christ.
How can we cover these concisely? We could jump all over the New Testament to illustrate several different commands covering multiple facets of our lives.
- We can cover the “hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized” mantra, but we have to remember that God is not interested in ritual absent of righteousness and sincerity. In Hosea 6:6, God calls for understanding and sincerity. He condemns rote tradition. However, obedience is important.
- We cover baptism as a command leading to salvation, but how does baptism save? Romans 6 illustrates our baptism as a parallel to Jesus’ death and resurrection, a crucifixion of our old selves, dying to sin, raised again to live for Christ. We are symbolically reenacting the sacrifice that atones for and pays for the debt of sin.
God promises forgiveness, peace of mind, and a home in heaven – all based in the power of hope. Romans 8:24 says hope is a key ingredient to our salvation. I Peter 3:15 speaks of the “hope you have within you,” and Hebrews 6:18-19 tells us of hope that God has promised us. This hope is an anchor, and it provides stability to our spiritual lives.
I John 1: 7-2:2 promises us forgiveness of sins and advocacy from the Father. We are promised an atoning sacrifice in Christ. This is the core of our hope – that God defends us and that He is looking out for us. With these promises, how can we not want to learn more about Him and honor Him in our obedience and service?
lesson by Tim Smelser