What is the Good News?
The Good News is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, the word “gospel” means “good news”. However, in order to understand why the Good News is so good, we must first consider the bad news.
First, the Bad News…
The bad news is that everyone has rebelled against our Creator God. Our rebellion is called sin; and starting at the very beginning, people have chosen their own selfish desires over obedience to God.
The Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) and all that He made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But it didn’t stay that way for very long. Shortly after he made them, the first people (Adam and Eve) chose to disobey one simple command God had given them – not to eat fruit “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17). Even though Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with their Creator and had the blessings of a life in paradise, they yielded to temptation and sinned against Holy God. Their sin brought death, disease and corruption that affected all of creation, including them and their descendants.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
And so it has continued with every man and woman since then. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we are sinful. We need to only consider a few of The Ten Commandments, God’s summary of standards:
Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.
Honor your father and your mother…
Do not murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not give false testimony against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:7, 12a, 13-16)
And the fact is, sin starts in our hearts. Even if we don’t act out the sin, we are all guilty of violating God’s laws in our hearts. Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment…You have heard that it was said, do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:21-22a, 27-28)
Furthermore, the Bible tells us:
All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. (Romans 3:12)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Because God is Holy (which means He is perfect in all of His ways and completely separate from sin and wickedness), He cannot tolerate sin. He alone has the right to set the standards, and He alone has the right to define the punishment for violating those standards. He will judge sin because He is perfectly just. His Word, the Bible, says:
For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)
But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
“But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear!” (Luke 12:5)
The Lord is slow to anger and rich in faithful love, forgiving wrongdoing and rebellion. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished… (Numbers 14:18)
So, the bad news: we all stand condemned before God and deserve to experience eternal punishment in a very real place called Hell. There is nothing we can do to pay for our own sins or earn God’s approval. Even our good works are worthless to save us.
All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6)
Now, the Good News…
If it ended there, we would have no hope. But thankfully, God Himself has made a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and saved from Hell. What’s more, He offers a new opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him and to spend eternity with Him in paradise (Heaven).
He has done this by coming to earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God; but He came to us – first as a helpless baby born of a virgin and then growing into manhood. Yet He lived a perfect and holy life, never sinning, and thus never accruing a sin-debt of His own. Instead, He taught people the truth about God and demonstrated His love for us. He then went to the Cross – dying the death of a criminal – to pay the penalty for our sins. He not only gave Himself up to experience an excruciating physical death, but He experienced the wrath of God and spiritual death – separation from God – on our behalf. Jesus also performed miracles, which validated His message and confirmed that He was the Savior that was long-promised in the Scriptures – the most amazing one being His own resurrection from the grave three days after He died. Jesus’s resurrection proved that God the Father accepted His Son’s sacrifice as the payment for the sin-debt of all of those who would trust in Him as their Savior.
But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us’.” (Matthew 1:20-23)
But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. (Romans 5:8)
He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.
Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth. He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of my people’s rebellion. They made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully. (Isaiah 53:3-9)
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked… We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!.. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:1,3-5,8-9)
God has done it for us. So how do we respond?
Do you recognize your need?
“Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out…” (Acts 3:19)
“Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against You – You alone – I have sinned and done evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge… You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” (Psalm 51:1-4,16-17)
There is no magic prayer or ritual that you must do to be saved by God. You must simply believe the Truth that He has revealed about Himself in His word, the Bible.
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31)
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10,13)
If you have come to understand your need to be saved from your sin and it’s eternal effects and have realized that you cannot save yourself, put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you:
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… (1 Tim. 2:5 NASB)
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it. (Acts 4:12)
You might find this video from Answers in Genesis helpful: The Last Adam
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.
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