JESUS IN MY PLACE.
The gospel is the news of what God has done to accomplish salvation through Jesus Christ in history. Our relationship with God was broken as a result of disobedience and the chasm that exists between God and Man is too vast for us to overcome. Because of Adam's sin, we have been found sinners by nature. Willfully, we have turned our back on God, becoming guilty by choice as we seek to answer questions of identity, purpose, and truth apart from Him. In that pursuit, we are miserable but try to convince ourselves otherwise. Enslaved to Sin, we seek our own glory and fall short of God's. We find we are indebted to God, sentenced to die, unwilling and unable to pay the wages required to save ourselves.
By His grace, God reaches out to those who refused to listen and loves them. By grace, He sacrifices His Son, the perfect sinless one, crucifying Him on a cross for the sins of man, paying the price that we could not. Through His willing sacrifice, Jesus redeems us, atoning for our sins, and through His resurrection frees us from the slavery of darkness and sin. In Christ, we are justified, deemed innocent before God, and declared righteous, as Jesus' own righteousness is imputed to our account. No longer under the wrath of God, all our sins covered, evil is defeated death is conquered, as we who were once dead in our sins are made alive through the resurrection Christ.
By trusting in what Jesus alone has done on the cross for our salvation, not in anything we can achieve or earn, God makes us holy and blameless without stain or wrinkle or any blemish. We are reconciled to God and enter into relationship with Him once again, having been freed from guilt and shame and freed to serve Jesus out of a heart of love and thankfulness.
Why is the gospel important?
The Gospel is the 'good news' of God's redemption of mankind. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)
The gospel is not just the A-B-C's, but the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we see the kingdom manifest in our lives here on earth. We are not saved by the gospel and then changed by obedience, but the gospel itself transforms us (II Cor. 5.17), is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col. 1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom. 1:16-17).
What is the deeper meaning of the gospel?
The gospel is not that we develop a righteousness apart from God so that we're deemed "good" and then he owes and accepts us, rather, that he develops a righteousness through Jesus Christ and gives it to us (II Cor. 5:21). The gospel is not that "it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you've been good," but that "it doesn't matter if you've been good, as long as you believe in Christ as your Savior". The gospel is not that we go from being irreligious to being religious, it's that we realize that our reasons for both our religiosity and our irreligiously were essentially the same and essentially wrong. We were seeking to be our own saviors, develop our own righteousness, and thereby keep control of our own life. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, we turn from trusting either self-determination or self-denial for our salvation - from either moralism or hedonism.
The Gospel avoids legalism or liberalism, moralism or relativism. Yet, the gospel does not produce "something in the middle". Instead, it produces something different from both. By critiquing both religion and irreligion (Matt. 21:31), the gospel shows us a God far more holy than the legalist can bear (He had to die because we could not satisfy His holy demand), and yet, far more merciful than a humanist can conceive (He had to die because he loves us). Often both religion and irreligion are attempts to work their way to God's acceptance. Much of our feelings despair, guilt, fear, and anger emerge in our life when we adopt a works-based mentality and allow something other than Jesus (career, family, moral performance, romance) operate as our functional savior.
The gospel should affect everything we do at Damascus Road. We assume that most people have not heard or thoughtfully considered the deeper implications of the gospel. We exist to bring things "in line with the Gospel" (Gal. 2:14) which renews us spiritually, psychologically, corporately, and socially. To learn more click here.