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The Central Message of the Bible: The Gospel Summarized

Clean robe

Let's say this robe represents your life.

The Bible says that when man was first created, he was good. His "robe" was perfectly clean and his relationship with God was one of perfect harmony.

Genesis 1:31 "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good..."

But man sinned against God, his Creator, thus marring his "goodness".

Dirty robe

Are you willing to admit that you have sinned against God in your thoughts, words and deeds? The Bible says we all have. Romans 3:10-12 "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Isaiah 53:5 "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way..."

Sin has messed up our lives, showing that we are far from perfect.

God Himself tells us that sin causes a breech in our relationship with Him. It places a barrier between us and a holy God. Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you..."

And ... as if that weren't bad enough, God goes on to tell us that what we deserve because of our sin, is death! Romans 6:23a "But the wages of sin is death..."

This is the bad news! ... but it's necessary news if we are ever going to seek God's provided solution! We must acknowledge before a holy God, that we don't measure up to His standard.

NOW THE GOOD NEWS!

Jesus is wearing pure robes in God's sight

God knows that we can't solve this problem on our own and so He intervened. He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth as a man to provide the only sufficient solution. He was like us in all ways except two: #1 - He was both God and man. (We're not.) #2 - He never sinned. He kept God's commands perfectly. (We can't.)

Well, if that were all there were to it, that wouldn't help much. it would be as if God were saying, "Ha, ha, My Son can do it, but you can't..."

But there is more to it. Much more! Note God's provision in these two verses.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

1 Peter 3:18 - "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God..."

In effect, Jesus took our sins (our dirty robe) as His own, and gave us His robe (His perfection in God's eyes). Isaiah 61:10 says it well, "I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness..."

Jesus trades robes with us

God is not only a merciful God, He is also perfectly just. The punishment (or "wages" - what we deserve) for sin is still death. That is why Jesus went to the cross... to pay for sin done against God. Note carefully how Isaiah 53:5-6 speaks of "the Messiah" undertaking this work. "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

Jesus died on the cross for those sins

God the Father was pleased with His Son's sacrifice. God Himself, had provided the lamb for the sacrifice (see Gen. 22:8)-- the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He then raised His Son back to life from the dead.

Now to a very important point...

My diagram may give you the impression that God has accomplished this work for everyone who has ever lived. But this is clearly not true. God is the giver of life, (John 6:44 - "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him...") but man is called to respond!

Read the following verse and see what is required for man to cross over from death to life as in the diagram above.

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." -- John 5:24

The answer is... that we must believe and place our trust in Christ and His righteousness in order to receive God's gracious gift of acceptance and life.

What about you?

Have you the assurance of salvation that is in Christ Jesus? This assurance comes as we trust God's promises and see the fruit of His Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Salvation comes by God's grace alone, through faith. But a faith which stands without the fruit of works is a dead faith and cannot be thought to be "saving" faith. Jesus is not only the believer's "Savior", He is also "Lord".

See also: The Sum of Saving Knowledge


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