What do Christians believe? Answering that question, of course, would take volumes. Perhaps, we could ask a simpler question. What is the good news that Christians proclaim? Well, it’s true, answering this second question could easily take volumes as well. However, there is a straightforward answer to it. The very short answer is this - Christ died to save sinners! The apostle Paul said, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
Paul also wrote, “...God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). So, why is this good news? Think about it. A holy, righteous, and just God doesn’t wait for us to be good enough. For that, I am extremely grateful. We could never be “good enough” to find acceptance with the one who “…dwells in unapproachable light.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, left heaven and became a man in order to take our punishment for transgressing God’s commands. In another place, Paul would say, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures….” Did you notice that? “Christ died for our sins….” That is, Jesus bore our punishment so that we might be forgiven.
A second question forces itself upon us once we see what Christ Jesus has done by dying a death on a cruel Roman cross. That question is this - What must I do to be saved? Underneath this question lurks yet another question. We should be asking “saved” from what? Well, the ultimate answer to this is that sinners are saved from the wrath of God against those who transgress his commandments. Paul wrote the following in a letter to the Thessalonians – “…(we) wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” For all who refuse to humble themselves, the future is bleaker than one can possibly imagine. So, back to the original question- what must I do to be saved? You must repent (turn away from sin) and put your trust (faith) in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Eternal, Triune, God of heaven has opened up our minds and hearts to understand that God in his love sent his only Son to suffer his righteous wrath for sinners like us. He is both a God of Justice and Mercy. He is just because he upheld his law punishing our sin by pouring his wrath out on his Son, Christ Jesus. He is merciful because he did this in order to forgive us our sins and grant those who believe in him eternal life with him.