I have used the term gospel countless times in preaching through the first chapter of Philippians. Paul used it six times. The gospel is good news! But to understand the gospel, we need to first understand the character of God.
God is Love and it is this love that has caused Him to freely and selflessly give Himself to us. Isaiah 6:3 tells us God is Holy. This means He cannot sin, he does not take pleasure in sin, and he cannot have fellowship with sin. Psalm 11:7 tells us God is righteous, meaning He will never do anything unjust or anything that could bring any accusation of wrongdoing against Him.
But in contrast, man is totally depraved. Man is evil, hostile, and rebellious towards God. Jeremiah 17:9 speaks to this condition indicating that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Romans 3:10-12 tells us that “there is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.” Again, in Romans 3:23 we see God’s assessment of all mankind, that “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” According to Romans 6:23, we all deserve to die. So how could sinners like you and me on death row escape the punishment we deserve and have eternal life?
If a serial killer is brought to the court and the judge acquits this person what would you and I say? We would call the judge unfair, unjust, partial, biased, unrighteous, and evil. Proverbs 17:15 says “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” God cannot justify the wicked for that would be an abomination to Him. God could not have condemned Christ either because Christ is perfectly righteous. According to Proverbs 17:15, anyone who condemns the righteous is also an abomination to God.
So how could God be just and be the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus? (Romans 3:26). We read in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”Christ, the God-man, who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ took upon Himself the infinite sins of His people. These sins were imputed to Christ upon the cross. When God looked at Christ he saw in Him our sins and thereby Christ was declared guilty.
And this is exactly why God turned his face away from His Son when Christ was crucified on the cross. This is why darkness covered the face of the earth. And this is why Christ cried out “Eloi-Eloi Lama sabachthani—My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” 1 Peter 3:18 states “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” This is the gospel that is proclaimed to us in Scripture. This gospel makes known to a lost and dying world, that we have hope! Jesus Christ saved us from the curse of the law satisfying God’s wrath against us.
This is the gospel that justified us and this is the same gospel that helps us in the sanctificationprocess. As we meditate on this grand truth that has been preached to us, may it motivate us live a life worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27).
~ Pastor Sam