Christianity is simple but not simplistic.
At its heart Christianity is the message of Good News (also called the Gospel) about Jesus.
The Christian message can easily be summed up with a helpful tool known as the 3 R’s of the Gospel. Speaking to a group of people in the first century A.D. a man by the name of Peter (a disciple of Jesus) proclaimed the compact essence of the Gospel to the crowd:
Now when they [the crowd] heard this [about Jesus] they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38 ESV-UK)
From this we can draw out the 3 R’s which condense the Christian message into its simplest form (and yet which can be stretch out to encompass the vast breadth of Christian belief and practice):
R#1- RUINED by Sin
R#2- RESCUED by Christ
R#3- RENEWED by the Holy Spirit
Ruined. Why would I need to repent or ask for forgiveness from God? The Bible teaches that we are separated from God, that we do not walk according to His ways or acknowledge Him but seek our own ways in rebellious pride and are therefore deserving of eternal punishment. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is but one of many verses in the Bible that makes this clear. Read the Bible, look into your own heart, examine the world around you, and it is clear that we have missed the mark and indeed do need God’s forgiveness far more than we often realize. God’s justice and holiness demands that sin be dealt with.
Rescued. Though God is a God of justice and He would have been perfectly right to permit us to go on destroying ourselves in our sin; but in His mercy, grace and love for His people, He sent His son Jesus, not just to teach us, not only to be an example but to pay the price for the sins of all who would believe and follow Him. Again and again in the Bible (and still today by experience) we see how fierce God’s love is for His people, He loves them so much He even sent His only son to die a terrible death on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for our sin. John 3:16-18 reminds us:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Jesus is God’s rescue plan. Belief in Jesus allows sinful rebels to become friends of God. Why wouldn’t you believe in Him?
Renewed. God does not only want to deal with our sins, He wants to restore us to the people we were intended to be, full members of His family and Kingdom, before sin damaged us. Jesus himself said that He came “so that we might have life and life to the full” (John 10:10). Believing in Jesus is not just a get out of hell free card, it is the beginning of an adventure of knowing the Lord and living the life He intended you to live. As a gift, and to help us recover our lost likeness of God, Jesus graciously gives believers the gift of the Holy Spirit who is “God with us” (who comes to take up residence in our hearts, Ephesians 3:17) and who has a very special job to play. The Holy Spirit’s main task is to renew us and make us more like Jesus. When we follow Jesus we received eternal life, which begins the moment you believe; and that is GOOD NEWS!
There is so much more we could tell you! However, if you would like to learn more about Jesus, the Gospel and Christianity please visit our chapel for a service or be in touch with our elders. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have. We would love to even give you a free copy of the Bible so you can see for yourself. It would be our privilege to chat to you about the most important person in the universe and what it means to know Him.