The Gospel calls for Faith
Some people would say the Gospel is good news for everyone – that regardless of what you believe, everyone will go to heaven because of what Jesus has done. We disagree, because that is not what the Bible teaches. It would be completely unjust for God to “save” everyone, while at the same time calling for people to change while in the here and now.
Others would say that somehow you can do enough good to set things right, based in some way on the example of Jesus in his life and death. Again, we disagree. If God could have saved a single man, woman or child requiring anything less than the death of his Son, he would have done it. Jesus is not just an example – his life and death actually accomplished something.
So how does the Gospel make a difference? The Gospel is the power of God to save – it is a freely offered chance of pardon, and of a corrected relationship with God (which will change forever how you relate to others, and how you view yourself). As with all gifts, you need to claim it, and hold onto it. That means starting to have faith in Jesus – trust that what he has done will pay for your sin and failure. Trusting the work of Jesus demands more than just an intellectual agreement with what he has done. Paul, writing to the Church in Rome said, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” All the hope of the resurrection can only be ours if we are united with Jesus in his death – and that simply demands repentance. We have to see our sin for what it is – not just flawed relationships with people, but a huge offence against God, which can only be repaid through what Jesus did in his death.
You do that (repent and believe) and you’re declared “just” by God. And then go on through life holding onto this – living in light of the changes that have taken place.