For the other parts in this series, see the end of this post.
7. The Gospel – What Happens To Those Who Don’t Repent and Believe?
The gospel is that God sent His son to die in our place. He offered up Himself as the single sacrifice for sins (Heb. 10:12). This gracious gift is free from God. We must have faith and believe and turn from our sin in order to have eternal life with the father.
There is a Judgment Day coming. The Bible speaks of it in many places, including 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”
However for those who don’t accept that Jesus Christ is Lord and don’t repent of their sins, they will be eternally separated from Him and cast into a lake of fire. Reading this in the book of Revelation literally scares me, and just causes me to praise the God of my salvation for sending His Son to die for me. Revelation 20:11-15:
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
There is an old saying that you have probably heard. It goes like this, “the only things that are certain are death and taxes.” I reject that statement. My statement is “the only thing that is certain is physical death.” We can stop taxes; we can make taxes an uncertainty. No, this is never going to happen, but it CAN happen. We CANNOT stop death. There is no possibility to do this. Death (in the physical sense) is a certainty. However, we can stop eternal death. That is the gospel message. “Believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
As John Piper says in his book Desiring God, hell is a place of torment. It is not merely the absence of pleasure. It is not annihilation. It says in Mark 9:48, “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” Reading this in context, it is the words of Jesus warning about hell (gehenna); He is quoting from Isaiah 66:24.
8. The Gospel – Defined By Others
I would like to take the next two sections and show how other people (who are much smarter than me) have defined the gospel. This first section is just general definitions and the next section goes into elaborate detail on the gospel.
“The gospel is the good news that the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of the never-boring, ever-satisfying Christ is ours freely and eternally by faith in the sin-forgiving death and hope-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.” – John Piper
“The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.” – R.C. Sproul
“The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the Person and work of Christ. This includes His incarnation in which He took to Himself full (yet sinless) human nature; His sinless life which fulfilled the perfect law of God; His substitutionary death which paid the penalty for man’s sin and satisfied the righteous wrath of God; His resurrection demonstrating God’s satisfaction with His sacrifice; and His glorification and ascension to the right hand of the Father where He now reigns and intercedes for the church.” – Jeff Purswell
“The gospel is that God has come to rescue and renew creation through the work and in the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.” – Tim Keller
“He doesn’t just give us information. He wrote Himself into this world in the form of Jesus Christ, who lived the life we should have lived, died the death we should have died on the cross for our sins and was raised so that we might have life. God has given us something better than a watertight argument. He has given us a watertight person, against whom there can be no argument. We can grab hold of Him. This takes us from probability to certainty. Christianity is the only one of all the faiths that says God came down and became a human being. He didn’t just give us facts and information on how He wants us to live. Every other religion has a prophet telling us how to find God. Only Jesus Christ came and said I am God and I have come to find you.” – Tim Keller
To all these brothers, I say Amen and Amen!
– Adam Smith