It’s my last installment (!!!) of 30 Before 30. I would be sorely remiss if I didn’t end with this subject matter. And while I’ve alluded to spiritual disciplines along the way, I haven’t yet mentioned the most important event of my life. It is the single greatest (without sounding cheap) “bucket list” item anyone can ever experience. Because it lasts forever. It’s literally the difference between heaven and hell. Here it is: Repent and believe the Gospel.
30. Repent and Believe the Gospel.
Hope for the afterlife. Joy overflowing. Redemption. Peace. Being made right with the One True God.
But light exposes darkness. No wonder it hurts so much. There’s a life-changing decision involved. And it requires total abandon of the old life, complete rebirth of the soul, and faithful commitment and submission to the Lord & God who isn’t the god of self.
I’m not perfect. I’ve been greatly humbled. But I make no apology for this post’s content. It’s not my message of truth but the message of Truth.
I don’t write this post to gain popularity, receive praise, or go viral. I write it out of love for others’ ultimate and lasting good, from willful and grateful obedience to the high calling of the One who saved me, and for the glory of the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and coming King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the Gospel? Why are we to repent and from what? And what are we to believe in?
Here are foundational points to keep in mind (and I’m adapting this list from the Partners discipleship program manual):
- God is our Creator. Not “Mother Nature,” evolution, or the Big Bang. (Genesis 1-2; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17)
- God is Holy. We’re not. See below. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
- God is Just. Most people want fairness and justice, right? Except for when it comes to their standing before God. (Job 34:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)
- God is Love. Love is a popular subject today. But the culture obsessively thinks it’s defined by sex. What is real, true, pure love as defined by God? (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8)
- We’re sinful and separated from God. That’s bad news, y’all. True justice awaits. People need God’s grace. (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:10-18, 23; 6:23)
- We deserve God’s punishment. An eternity in hell, separated from God. Forget the cartoons and gross caricatures of flaming caves ruled by a creepy creature with a pitchfork. The Bible is clear about why sinful humanity deserves justice. (Romans 1-2; 6:23; Ephesians 2:3)
- Jesus is God. Thus enters the good news! (Philippians 2:6-8)
- Jesus lived and died as our Substitute. Why would He give His own life to set me—His enemy—free forever? (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:8)
- Jesus conquered death for us. Death may take us from this life, but it doesn’t reign over our future. Jesus is the greatest Victor of all human history. The war is over. (1 Corinthians 15)
This good news requires a response. Repentance from sin and faith in Jesus as Lord & Savior, His finished work on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31; 20:21; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 6:1)
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 ESV; emphasis added)
What is a Christian? What defines a Christian?
- A real Christian bears fruit. (John 15:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:10)
- A real Christian lives with new life purposes. (2 Corinthians 5:15)
- A real Christian daily battles sin and temptation. (1 John 1-2; 3:5-10)
- A real Christian builds new habits that honor God. (Acts 26:20; James 2; 1 John 5:2-3)
Are you a Christ follower?
- How has your life changed since salvation?
- What has helped you grow in your faith in Jesus?
- What supporting texts of Scripture would you add to the lists above?
- Do you present the Gospel to your family, friends, coworkers, and strangers?
- How do you go about starting that conversation?
I’ve enjoyed writing this daily #30Before30 blog. I’d be lying though if I didn’t want a break for a little while. But I’m so glad I waited until the end to share the Gospel.
I thank God today for my parents. They invested in my eternal future by not holding back the truth of the Gospel. They read me the Bible and took me to church. And they actively and faithfully shared the words of Scripture and their own changed lives as examples while I grew up in their home.
My 30 Before 30 bucket list would look very different if Jesus hadn’t saved me years ago. I still like to do fun—sometimes daring—activities. I like to live life to the fullest. But if I’m doing it apart from seeking to glorify God and do good to others, I’m wasting my life. Don’t waste your life!
Repent and believe the Gospel.