The Gospel, or the news that Jesus loves us, is really very simple. Its so simple that a little child can understand it and so deep that Christians have been talking about it and discussing it since the beginning. So, what is it?
God is Holy. The Gospel actually begins with who God is. You may have heard the word "holy" before and wondered what it means. 1 John 1:5 tells us "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." That means everything that is good, beautiful, and true about the world and about us has all come from God. He is absolutely perfect in every way.
We are not holy. You may have guessed from reading about God that this is true, but it wasn't always this way. Humans were made by God to be completely good, enjoying our relationship with Him and each other. God had one rule in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, the first humans, broke it on purpose. As a result, everything that is broken and evil in the world was let in by Adam; we call those things sin, or the results of sin. The biggest and most important thing that was broken was our relationship with God. All humans born after Adam are born with a broken relationship with God. Romans 5:12 tells us "When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned."
We've all sinned. You and everyone who attends UBC has sinned against God. We're not sure how you view yourself. You might think "Well....I'm a pretty good person...." or you may think "I've done so many horrible things, God could never love me." We show our broken relationship to God when we do things, think things, or feel things that God calls sin. There are things we consider "big" sins like murder and stealing and there are are "little" sins like lying or thinking bad things about someone else. The Bible is really clear that both big and little sins show that our relationship with God is broken. Romans 3:10 tells us "No one is righteous (good)—not even one."
God demands payment for sin. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages (what we earn because of sin) is death..." That's a hard thing for some people to swallow. But think about it this way -- would God be loving if He allowed things like murder, greed, genocide, theft, and others to just slide by? What would we think of a God like that? We have a natural bent to see wrong things "paid for" by other people -- that part of us comes from God. He hates to see evil and suffering and it all needs to be paid for; both the "big" and "little" sins. You might be thinking "But, that's not fair! Some of those things I don't have control over!" We know.
There is hope. A lot of religions will tell you that if you just do enough good stuff to outweigh your sin that God will look over anything bad you've done. That's not good news for anyone. We've already seen that no one is righteous and God demands death for all sin. So here is our hope....Romans 5:8 says "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Just like all sin and brokenness entered the world because of Adam's sin -- the Bible calls Jesus our "second Adam" because through his death and resurrection He paid for all the sin and brokenness in the world.
How do I fix my relationship with God? You can't fix it by trying to be a good person -- we've already seen that some things that God calls sin are things we don't have control over. Its why Jesus, God's son, had to come into the world. He was the only one to live a perfect life and die the death that we deserved to pay for sin. Romans 10:9-10 says "If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved." What does it mean to believe? It means to put all of your hope in that one thing. Its not just saying in your head "OK, I believe that" it means that it changes you from the inside out. And when that happens it breaks the power of sin over your life. It makes you free to have the relationship with Him that you were always meant to have. The people at UBC don't believe they are better than everyone else. In fact, if you talk with us you're likely to find out that we've just given up on trying to be good enough for God and have allowed Jesus death on the cross to cover our sin.
Our response. Asking Jesus to forgive your sin and declaring Him as your Lord isn't the end -- its the beginning. Its the beginning of a journey where you become who God always intended you to be, where you talk and walk with God, and where you serve and forgive as Jesus did. Its all too much to put in this short paragraph. But if you have made this decision and you're ready to move forward in your relationship with God, we want to hear from you. We want to tell you all the incredible things that God has for you as His child. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him."