The Gospel in (fairly) plain English

John 3:16 says that God loved the world (and everyone in it!) so much that He sent His Son to die, so that everyone who receives Him by faith could live forever.

Now…  We know this may sound strange and, frankly, unbelievable.  If God loves people, then why should anyone die?  Why would one person’s death effect another’s?  How can the Bible claim that Christians won’t die, when we see Christians die every day?  Please allow me to briefly explain why we believe what we do.

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God made the first man, and the first woman.  He set them up to live in a paradise garden/forest.  His only commandment to them was that they don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, because they would surely die if they did.  (Why would He put the tree there in the first place?  There’s good philosophical reason, being that He wanted relationship with them, which necessitates free will…)

Anyway, they ate of it in an effort to become like God.  That is sin, and the wages of sin is death.  First spiritual death, then eventually physical death.  With that first sin, human nature was permanently damaged, and all of humanity inherited that damaged human (sinful) nature.  That’s why neither you nor anyone you know can live a perfect life.  We have all, and all will, lie, cheat, steal, covet, gossip, hate, etc…  It’s just who we are now.

And because of who we are now, and what we do, we find ourselves cut off from a relationship with God.  Actually, we find ourselves at war with Him!  Because our human nature is to rule our own lives, we don’t want Him to.  And because we are infected with the stain of sin, we couldn’t be near Him anyway.

But God had a plan in mind even before He created the first people.  He knew that when the time was right, He would send His Son to be born of a woman, to live as a human, and to die as a human.  The catch was that He would live a perfect life before dieing.

Remember that the wages (just consequences) of sin is death?  Well, if Jesus lived a perfect life, that means that He didn’t deserve to die.  That means that He could die on your account.  It’s kind of like agreeing to pay a court fee on your behalf, because you are too broke to do it yourself.

Deep down, you know you’ve sinned (done something wrong).  The just consequence of that is that you deserve the death penalty.  (I know…  I know…  It sounds harsh, but it’s true and just.)  The good news is that the penalty has already been paid.  All you have to do is go to the judge and tell Him you want it applied to your case.  All you have to do is accept by faith that Jesus Christ was/is God made flesh, that He lived and died for you, and commit your life to following Him.

By doing this, your case is dismissed, you are restored to a new spiritual life where once your spirit was dead, and you will live forever. Now, that doesn’t mean that your physical body will live forever.  You wouldn’t want it to!  It’s aging and damaged because of sin.  God will give you a new, spiritual body, and it will be made perfectly for living with Him forever.

Knowing that you are a pretty messed up person, and that Jesus came to fix that, you can accept Him by just confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart that it’s true.  Accept Him now and learn what it is like to be truly alive!

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