The Gospel of Jesus Christ in Greater Detail
The Gospel is the simple message of new life in Jesus Christ. It is the "Good News" of what God did for all people by the Cross and resurrection of His Son. Religion focuses on what we must do to please to God. The Gospel is just the opposite; it is about what God did for us through Christ Jesus.
New Life in Jesus Christ
When you place your trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, God literally removes your old sinful inner nature and replaces it with a brand new, clean heart (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 6:6). Since your new inner spirit is completely clean and without sin, God now has a suitable place within you where He can live. God joins His righteous and eternal life to your new born again heart.
Because of this, you have become a completely new person on the inside (2 Corinthians 5:17); the old inner you is gone, dead and buried forever. You are now and forever free from sin in your born again heart (Romans 6:7,18,22). In fact, you can never sin in your inner spirit because Jesus in you can never sin (1 John 3:9).
But there is a problem: you still "live" in the same mortal body as you did before you became a believer. Thankfully God has a solution for this. A helpful way to understand yourself is that you are a redeemed and righteous spiritual person living inside an "earth suit" (or earthly "tent") which has not yet been redeemed or made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:4).
Righteous Children of God
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are righteous. Righteousness is not merely "imputed" or credited to you as is commonly taught; this is one of the worst lies that religion teaches. God gives you righteousness as a gift, and the gift is Jesus Christ living in you (Romans 5:17b). As Jesus joins inseparably and eternally as one to your born again heart (1 Corinthians 6:17), you are in Him and He is in you (John 14:20).
Although it disturbs some when you declare that believers are just as righteous as Jesus Himself, it is true. Think about it. If Christ is joined as one to you in a bond that can never be broken, He has given His life to you. You are what He is - righteous. You do not become divine, but you do get to share in the life of the Creator (2 Peter 1:4).
This is critical to understand because your new inner spirit is the real you, not your flawed outer mortal body. Your mortal body is your temporary "house" (2 Corinthians 5:2; 4:16) which will be replaced one day with an immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:53). This is what grace and the New Covenant are all about, God welcoming people into His kingdom, already prepared to stand in His presence. All of this is made possible by the Cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Since your mortal flesh has not yet been redeemed, it has no capacity to be righteous like your new inner spirit. The Apostle Paul even says that your flesh can make you "groan" (2 Corinthians 5:4; Romans 8:23). This is the reason you live by faith. Faith is following Christ's indwelling life instead of you living by your own human effort.
As you walk with Jesus, sin fades into the background; Christ is living His righteous life in you and through you, even when you are not consciously aware of it. If you do stumble, simply return to walking with Christ in faith. You do not have to do anything to get back into fellowship with God. You can never get out of fellowship with God because He has permanently joined His life to your life. God never condemns His children (Romans 8:1); He may guide you in a new, better direction, but He never condemns you.
Therefore, in spite of your mortal flesh, your inner spirit is redeemed and sealed by God's Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13). You are forever acceptable to God because He put His very life into your born again heart. This is what makes you righteous, worthy of God's kingdom (Colossians 1:22).
When Jesus came to this earth, He defeated sin on His Cross. God forgave all our sins because of Christ's sacrifice, not our response to it (Hebrews 9:26b). God granted forgiveness while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8,10). This means that God forgave both believers and unbelievers (Hebrews 2:9b; Romans 6:10). This truth confuses many because of the common teaching that forgiveness is the same thing as salvation. It is not. Forgiveness had to come first but "salvation," in the sense of eternal life, is having God's eternal life living inside of you. All are forgiven but not all have God living in them.
Forgiveness was finished on the Cross (John 19:30). Forgiveness is God's grace that reaches all people (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:19) for all time (Hebrews 10:12). It means that you never need to think about or worry about God's forgiveness ever again (Hebrews 10:18). If you confess your sins to get back into fellowship with God, you can stop. There is never any condemnation that comes from God (Romans 8:1); any condemnation is coming from your own conscience or other people. You can never, ever be out of fellowship with God because He lives in you. You are perfectly righteous in your born again spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Peter 1:4). As you walk in faith, you become more oriented to a righteous life with Christ and less with your former way of life. If you live in a fleshly manner, God will lovingly set you straight and move you back to a life of faith. Certainly though, if you wrong someone, God wants you to make things right, whether it is seeking forgiveness from the person, making restitution or whatever it takes. God wants other people to see the love of Christ in you, and this happens only when you walk in faith.
Only the Potential for Forgiveness?
Most cannot articulate this fully but their belief is that the Cross created the potential for forgiveness. Then, you must "repent" of your sins and accept Jesus before God actually forgives you. In reality, you have no capacity to turn from sin until after you are saved, after God gives you a new nature and after Jesus Christ comes to live in your born again heart. Genuine New Testament repentance is not turning from your sins as it was for the Jews under the Hebrew law. Now under New Covenant grace, repentance is turning from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 19:4). Unbelief is the one and the only sin that has not been forgiven, nor can it ever be forgiven, because rejecting Christ is rejecting His eternal life (1 John 5:12b).