OUR GOOD NEWS
The Gospel of Jesus
In the beginning God created us in his own image, to reflect his glory. Like a reflection in a mirror, we were made to show off his splendour as the top-most of his creation works. The reason people exist has not changed from the beginning until now. The bible says that God is worthy to receive glory from everything he has made - especially from people.
Although our purpose, as people, is to show off God's worth, by nature we don't do that. We have broken desires. We readily choose to value other things (including ourselves) above him. In simple terms, that means that we have exchanged what is supremely valuable for what is less valuable. That kind of rejection has made God very angry with people. And to honour his own value, he must defend it by punishing those sinful choices in people. The offence is an infinite offence, because his value is an infinite value, and so the punishment is an eternal punishment.
Unless we can somehow receive God's favour again, our broken choices have put us all in the most desperate position imaginable (even if we don't know it). We all exist on the brink of eternal pain and punishment. This is our greatest need in all the world - we simply must be reunited to God before we die. The temptation is to offer the best version of ourselves to God to try to satisfy him. That won't work. All our best efforts are like filthy rags in his sight. We need someone to pay to God, on our behalf, the infinite price for the offence we've caused him.
An infinite price is an unimaginably great cost. But God is a gracious, kind, and compassionate God. He is slow to anger, and abounding in love and mercy. He has made a way for us to be reunited to him. The way he has made is, his own dear son. Jesus is perfectly acceptable in his sight and sinless in every way. God has sent him into the world to die for people who trust him to pay the price of their recovery on their behalf. Jesus is willing to pay the full price for our offences, by taking the full punishment of those offences on himself in his death. And by giving us his own perfect record in exchange for our broken one. He doesn't offer this because he sees in us anything worthy of it, but because of his great love, which is a free gift to all who will receive it with faith.
Trusting Jesus to provide that which we can't do for ourselves is called being 'saved' - saved from the eternal consequences of our deadly choices. But it means more than that too. It means that we can be translated from being an enemy of God and be counted a friend of God. It means that, because of Jesus, God adopts us into his family and calls us his sons and daughters. It is our pleasure to enjoy his approval; his care; his loving embrace. The experience of these things goes beyond all the delights this world can offer to us, because these joys have eternal weightiness.
Even though Jesus died, he didn't remain in the grave. He overcame death by raising himself back to life. God has seen fit to promise all those who trust that Jesus died for them, that they will share in his resurrection from the dead also. That means that, though we die in this life, death will not hold us forever. God has promised to all his children, that one day he will raise them back from the dead and give them eternal life, and bodies that will never experience pain, or sin, or death again. He has promised that, along with that body, he will give us an eternal inheritance with his own dear Son, where there is joy at his right hand, and pleasures forever more.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
In short, you must believe the gospel. You must believe you're a sinner, fallen short of God's glory by your broken choices. You must be sorry for those choices and hate them. You must believe God is kind and merciful and has provided a way for you to be reunited with him. You must discover Jesus and believe in him, who God has provided for you. You must believe he died for you. You must believe that he is more precious to you than anything else. And you must receive him as your Lord and Saviour and Treasure. The way you receive him is by asking him for forgiveness.
HOW DO I ASK?
Asking God for forgiveness is not complicated. When Jesus was on earth he once came across a man who was blind and all he wanted was to see. He believed Jesus was powerful to make him see. So, he called out 'Son of David (that was a title for Jesus), have mercy on me'. That day that man was healed of his blindness. He was healed because he asked, whole-heartedly, to be healed. Your prayer doesn't need to be more complicated than that. 'Jesus please have mercy on me and forgive my sins'. He has promised he will never turn away anyone who asks with all their heart for forgiveness. So, believe and ask, and you will be saved.