When you hear “the gospel” you are probably thinking about either the first 4 books in the New Testament, or Jesus dying and rising again. While the gospel is in there, and there is truth and freedom found in those pages, the gospel starts earlier than that. But you may ask yourself, “What relevance does that story have to do with me? After all, this man died 2,000 years ago. Certainly it doesn’t apply to me.” Well, gospel means “good news” and if it really is good news, it should apply to anyone. However, the way it has been taught, shared, proclaimed and preached hasn’t been good news. Don’t get me wrong, it is true that without Jesus, we will find ourselves in Hell, but how can I tell you that and not offer you the hope of the gospel that changes your life now?
Let’s start from the beginning.
In the first book of the Bible it says that God created the whole world and Universe. He also created all humanity. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 And in verse 31 it says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…” Genesis 1:31 Humans were created good! God said we were very good! So what happened? Why is there so much evil?
You may have heard the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. They were the first humans God created. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”” Genesis 2:16-17 wait, what’s with that? You holding out on us God? No. God doesn’t make robots. Imagine that you created a robot and programmed it to love you. Does it really love you? It may say that it does, but trust me, you will not feel the connection. God wanted Adam to choose Him and willingly love Him. If you know where this story goes, you’ll know that they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:7 ok, so this seems weird too. What a strange story. Stay with me though, it will make sense. How did they not know that they were naked? The answer is simple, they were conscious of God before they ate from the tree, not themselves. After they ate from the tree, they became self-conscious.
The Bible declares that God IS Love (1 John 4:8) and humans were made in the image of God. We were made to BE love. Not need love. Love does not focus on itself, but sees God, and other people. It sees the best in others and works to see it accomplished in their lives. So immediately after they disobeyed God, they became self-conscious. Which is one of the worst things ever. You know what I’m talking about. Self-consciousness will make you so aware of what’s wrong with you. It makes you afraid of what people think of you. You can see the affect it had on Adam and Eve, who were once walking in love, and the image of God.
“Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”” Genesis 3:9-13
The first affect of the fall of man, blaming other people and not taking account for the wrong you have done. Both the man, and the woman blamed someone else for their sin. This STILL happens. Everyone in this world seems to be focused only on their own needs and desires. Follow the story of the Bible all the way through the Old Testament and you’ll find the same thing…
The law of sin and death
Now before I write this next part, you have to understand something about God. He is love, yes, but He is also Holy and Just. This is the severity of sin, and it’s not that God will judge some and not others, sin must be paid for. He doesn’t want to condemn us. He loves people, but He can not just push away sin as if it didn’t happen. It must be paid for, and because of sin, sickness and disease exist in this world.
““Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
This is the law of sin and death. Everyone starts their life in bondage to this. We’ve murdered each other, stolen, committed adultery, lied, lived in hypocrisy. Mental disorders, tumors, heart attacks, and so on. The disease starts in the spirit of humanity, not in their bodies.
honestly though, I firmly believe that the worst thing about the law of sin and death is that it has thoroughly destroyed our identity. We don’t even know who we are anymore. We try so hard to find ourselves in activities, relationships, jobs, titles and so many other things. We always end up miserable. I know I was. I couldn’t stop watching pornography. I couldn’t find the one thing that I was passionate about. I would jump from one thing to the next, hoping to find identity and fulfillment. I never ever found it in those things. I was a hypocrite. The worst of the worst. If there’s anything that God has said He hates more than most things, it’s hypocrisy. If you have been hurt by the church, or hypocritical Christians, God understands. He hates it too. “‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.” Matthew 15:8
The King and His Kingdom
So what did God do to set everything right? We certainly haven’t fixed things ourselves. The Lord sent His son, Jesus of Nazareth. His birth, life, death and resurrection were spoken about hundreds and thousands of years before He was born. He fulfilled the prophecies given about Him, and He lived totally free from sin. He had no sin, and He came to save us from our loss of identity, sin, and sickness. “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 It does say that God was with Him, but the Bible also declares that Jesus is God in the flesh. “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…” Hebrews 1:3
Jesus Himself said; “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
Boom. There’s the answer. We have all been born selfish, self-conscious, and full of selfish desires. Jesus went to the cross, bore our sin, torments, and diseases so that we might have life. He died the death we deserved. He took the judgment we deserved. He rose from the dead and won the war over sin, sickness and the devil. That is why He said “let him deny himself.” The problem you have is not your mom, not your dad, it’s not your co-worker, it’s not your boyfriend or girlfriend, or wife or husband. It’s you. When Jesus arrived, and announced that His Kingdom was here, He said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”” Matthew 4:17 denying yourself, and repenting go hand in hand. It’s the only response to the king who gave up His life so that we might live.
When I did this in April of 2015, I noticed immediate changes. I was so convicted of my sin and hypocrisy. I said to God, “God, I don’t even know you. I know about you. Take my life. Do whatever you want with it.” From that very night, the long standing addiction to pornography stopped. It was over immediately. I haven’t gone back even one day in almost 3 years. I felt the presence of God descend in my room. I had never experienced it until that day. A few months later I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. (heavenly languages) Joy entered my heart. I was so overcome by God’s love for me. I began to see people healed when I prayed for them, just like Jesus. I have been made free from sin and it’s power over me. The image of God returned to my entire being, and He made me knew. I actually love people now, I see their value.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
Religion tries to follow the rules without the Holy Spirit. Jesus will empower you to live His life in you and through you. All you have to do is, deny yourself, and surrender to the King and His Kingdom.
Jesus doesn’t want much, He just wants everything.