This STATEMENT OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST is a simple document of shared conviction concerning the biblical revelation of the nature and need of fallen humanity, the character and heart of God in relationship to humanity, the person and place of Jesus Christ in the redemption of humanity, the role of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and growth of the Christian, and the nature and calling of the church of Christ in the earth. In order to define a common ground of understanding from which to serve together in fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:8), this statement stands as a foundational document for united obedience to the call of God.
The human race has sinned against a holy God. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted them to disobey God, sin has been passed on to every human generation, like a spiritually genetic disease. Because of sin, the natural tendency of every human heart is to serve self and resist the lordship of our Creator.
Sinful humanity is under divine condemnation. In our condition of sin, we cannot coexist nor have fellowship with a holy God. Though God, in his love, desires eternal fellowship with humanity, our acts of sin are offenses which God, in his righteousness, must punish. The ultimate penalty for both our sinful condition and our sinful behavior is eternal separation from God in hell.
Sinful humanity can do nothing to earn its own salvation. Our most commendable acts are polluted by sin and thus unacceptable to God. The brightest banners of humanity’s good deeds look like filthy rags to God. Our hearts and minds are actually at war with Him. Our greatest efforts, apart from faith, cannot please him.
God has made a Way. But God loved the world so much that He gave us himself in the person of Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus came to earth in the flesh to do the will of the Father. He was like us in every way, but without sin. He was tempted in every way that we are tempted, but resisted at every point. He was obedient to the Father in all things, even to the point of submitting himself to death upon a Roman cross. Jesus rose from the dead in three days, conquering sin and death. He ascended to heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father, alive forevermore.
Jesus paid for our sin with his own life’s blood. Though without sin, and thus with absolutely no debt to pay to God, Jesus was made to be a sin offering for us at the cross. The sins of the world were laid upon him, and he died a sacrificial and substitutionary death for all humanity, redeeming our lives by a once-and-for-all payment of his own precious blood. In so doing, he bought our salvation and destroyed the work of the devil.
We must repent of our sins to receive the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. The world is not automatically saved by the work of the cross. Sinners must repent of sin, turn from their wicked ways, and place their full trust in Jesus to be forgiven and saved from the penalty of their sins. When sinners repent, God ‘clothes’ them in the righteousness of Jesus; they may now stand as adopted children in His household. This adoption-this place of fellowship and covenant with God-is an act of God’s grace through faith; it is not of ourselves, but is a gift of God.
Jesus is the only way. There is no other way to the Father except though Jesus Christ. There is no other means of salvation and no other mediator between God and humankind. He who believes in the Son of God has eternal life, and he who does not believe, does not have eternal life.
Those who follow the Spirit of God are the children of God. God has given us himself in the person of the Holy Spirit, a Spirit of power and love and a sound mind. He has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and given us all we need to live godly lives in victory over the power of sin. The Spirit of God, who inspired the writing and the compilation of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible), is also the One who reveals truth to us through those same Scriptures.
We are the Body of Christ: the Church. We are a ‘called out’ people who are ‘in the world, but not of the world’. As members of the Body of Christ-his Church, we are commanded to love one another, commissioned to proclaim the gospel and make disciples, and crowned with the authority to undo the works of the devil and become agents of transformation throughout the world. We accomplish this by committing ourselves to other believers in a local expression of his Body (a local church). There, we live out our common faith in holiness, prayer, worship, servanthood and a continual testimony of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus will return. One day, Jesus will return to judge the nations, to gather us to him and to fully reveal the kingdom that he has been building. In that day, we shall all be changed, and we shall know then as he knows us now. He will completely deliver us from sin’s presence in our lives, we will see him face to face, and we will praise his name forever. “Praise our God, all ye his servants-ye that fear him, both great and small! Alleluia! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!” “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Scripture references for A BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST:
The human race has sinned against a holy God: Genesis 3:1-9, 6:5; Romans 3:10-18, 23, 5:12; Jeremiah 17:9.
Sinful humanity is under divine condemnation: 1 John 1:5-6; 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18; 2 Peter 3:9; Mark 16:16; John 3:18; Romans 1:18, 3:19, 6:23; Revelation 20:10-15.
Sinful humanity can do nothing to earn its own salvation: Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:6-8; Hebrews 11:6; Romans 1:17; Ephesians 2:8-9.
God has made a Way: 2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-17; 1:1-4, 14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:8-15; Matthew 1:18-25; John 4:34, 6:38; Hebrews 4:15; Philippians 2:5-11; Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-28; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 10:12; Revelation 1:18.
Jesus paid for our sin with his own life’s blood: 1 John 3:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 2:24, 3:18; Hebrews 10:10, 12-14, 19-22; Colossians 1:12-14.
We must repent of our sins and trust and obey Jesus to receive the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf: Mark 1:14-15; John 3: 16-18; Acts 2:38; 1 John 1:8-10; Galatians 4:4-7; Romans chapter 6; Ephesians 2:8.
Jesus is the only way: John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 John 5:10-13.
Those who follow the Spirit of God are the children of God: John 14:15-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 5:1-5, 8:11-17; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 2 Peter 1:2-4; John 17:13-14.
We are the Body of Christ: the Church: John 17:14-18; Ephesians 1:15-23, 2:4-10; Romans 12:4-21; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 10:19-20; Acts 2:42-47; 1 John 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24; Revelation 12:10-11; Ephesians chapters 4 through 6.
Jesus will return: Matthew 16:27, 25:31-46; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Luke 22:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 13:12, 15:49-58; Revelation 1:17, 3:11, 5:11-14, 19:5-9, 22:20.