What is the Gospel?
The Gospel in Financial Terms
We are Spiritually Bankrupt
In Matthew 5:3 Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In Luke 4:18 Jesus said He preaches the Gospel to the poor. The Greek word for poor means, “reduced to beggary, lowly, afflicted…helpless, powerless…lacking in anything.” Jesus isn’t talking about financial poverty in Matthew 5:3 or Luke 4:18. He’s talking about spiritual poverty. He is essentially saying that we are without anything with which we can commend ourselves to God. Anyone who would respond to Christ, must admit their spiritual poverty, their need for help.
We have a Sin Debt
!n Matthew 6:12 He encouraged his disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts.” In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, the man has a huge amount of debt. The servant pleaded with the king for mercy. In Matthew 18:27 it says, “The master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” The forgiveness of the man’s debt pictured the forgiveness of his sins. We too have a sin debt. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have all used the lives He has given us without regard for Him. We have not served Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. We have not done what God has commanded, and we have done what He has forbidden. In so doing, we have amassed a debt to God which we cannot pay on our own.
Ransom and Redemption
A ransom is something paid to cancel or erase a person’s debt. In Matthew 20:28 Jesus said He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
When someone pays the ransom for another’s debt, it’s known as redemption. The individual who pays the ransom is known as a redeemer. Titus 2:14 says, “Jesus gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed.” The apostle Peter discussed what was required to cancel our sin debt and he said we “were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet 1:18, 19). This promise of God stands for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ and his atoning work on the cross. Jesus' death is the only way to have your sin debt forgiven.
Double Imputation of Sin and Righteousness
“Impute” is another accounting term, which refers to moving assets from one side of a ledger to the other. The Greek word for impute occurs forty-one times in Scripture.
Romans 4:8 says “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” In other words, blessed is the man whose sins are not put to his account. God is just though, and no sin can go unpunished or unaccounted for. If our sin is not imputed to our account, it has to be put to, or imputed to, someone else's. For everyone who trusts in him, Jesus says, “I have put your sin on my account. Your sin has been imputed to Me!”
With our sin imputed to Christ’s account we can be considered innocent, but we’re not considered righteous. To be considered or accounted righteous, righteous behavior is required. But Isaiah 64:6 says, “Our righteousness is like filthy rags.” Even our best efforts aren't considered righteous in God’s eyes. The only way to have right standing before God, is to have Christ’s righteousness imputed to our account. This is the great exchange that happened on the cross!
This amazing reality is captured beautifully in 2 Corinthians 5:21 when Paul says, “God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Our unrighteousness moves from our side of the ledger to Christ’s, and His righteousness moves from His side of the ledger to ours.
So, turn from your sins, confess them to God, and then throw yourself upon the mercy of Christ! Look for a bible-preaching church in your community, where you can be taught and encouraged and grow in the faith with fellow believers. In Altona, check out Grace Covenant Church, we'd love to meet you!