At the core of what we believe is the Person of Jesus. His life, death, resurrection and coming return: what’s known as the "Gospel" or literally "Good News".
Why is this good news? Because the Bible outrageously claims that Christ, whilst fully human, was actually fully God. So, every bit of His life we believe perfectly ‘shows’ us who God is. So if true, you've got to admit, that’s pretty amazing!
Albert Einstein famously said: "All I want to know are the thoughts of God. Everything else is detail." We believe we can know more than just his thoughts: we believe we can know Him personally.
But at the core of Jesus' message was a bittersweet flavour - God loves us but cannot overlook the sins we’ve all committed (sins being actions, and inner attitudes that are morally wrong). Actually, the whole world is in deep trouble.
God is perfect. We’re all a million miles away from perfect. For God just to brush the world’s sin under the carpet would rightly enrage all of us who have any sense of justice. Trouble is, whilst we all agree when thinking about the injustice against us being overlooked, the Bible tells us that "all of us have fallen short" (Romans 3:23). Oh dear. The sinner is not "out there" - it’s the one looking back at us in the mirror.
This is where the bitter, becomes sweet. The music goes from minor to major. The scary news becomes "good".
"For while were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" Romans 5:6
His death, as mind-bending as it sounds, the Bible claims, was the place where my sin, your sin, and everyone’s sins, were scandalously placed on Him who had no sin. He got the punishment for the sin of the whole world.
And when Jesus rose from the dead He proved that all He had claimed was true and that sin could be dealt with in your life and mine.
The result? The offer of free stunning forgiveness, eternal union with God, Him becoming our Father and His Holy Spirit coming to live inside us.
Sounds completely mad! But actually, when you look at this world, a mix of beauty and horror, Christianity and its views on what is going on on planet Earth, actually is the only worldview that truly deeply makes sense.
As author C.S. Lewis put it: "it is a reasonable faith." That is, we don’t abandon our brains, and "against all the facts" just "believe" - no. Actually, the more you probe, the more you find it stands up.