In past months I have shared with you the good news of Jesus, and what that means for me, for you, and for the world. I feel as though I need to share it with you again, outright, as it is and supported in scripture. The word gospel is an old English translation of the Greek word, εὐαγγέλιον, simply meaning good news. The good news is that you are loved by an ever powerful God who has revealed himself to us through the person of Jesus.
There are many things that kept me from accepting the gospel for a long time, but it was mainly pride that restricted me from seeing Jesus for who he really is. How could an all-powerful, loving, and just God, create such a wicked world full of death and destruction? Why am I guilty if I had no choice of being born into this world? How is it a choice if I don’t accept Jesus as my Savior I go to hell? These questions were always at the forefront of my mind before I came to faith, and I hope to answer them here and in following blog posts. Here, I hope to share with you the beauty, mystery, and truth of the gospel.
The first thing we need to understand is that we are imperfect beings, broken, and sinful. To understand the gospel, we need to understand sin. This goes back to the beginning of creation and the story of Adam and Eve - that they chose to know the knowledge of good and evil, and God has honored that choice. Around the world we see destruction, pain, misery, and death. We also see kindness and love in people, for we all have the law of God written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). Yet, we all have seen evil, and we know in our hearts that something is wrong. I felt anguish for this world before I became a believer, and I still do. I feel the pain and hurt that we all feel. Losing my grandmother, then my grandfather, seeing rampant conflict and death, then the sudden passing of my brother in-law’s father, and intense anxiety all led me down a road of despair, and an honest search for answers to life’s fundamental questions. We all have a sense of what ought to be, or what we ought to do. Some ignore it, and others act on it. We see news of terrorist attacks, disease, murder, war, and we know something is wrong. The Bible explains that no one is good, not even one. In Romans 3:10-12, Paul quotes the Old Testament explaining, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one’. Humanity is constantly balancing between good and evil, yet things are getting worse, we are all sinners, and we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). You may think there are good people, you may feel that you’re a good person, but God says no. There is no one righteous, and we all fall short of God’s standard. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says ‘The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.’ Sin blinds us to the light of Christ and it is the reason for the pain in this world.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ This world is heading towards a path of destruction. You don’t want to go down that road and follow the majority.
Sin is slavery. In John 8:34-36, Jesus says ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ For unbelievers are slaves to sin and unable to resist it. But for those who accept Jesus, we are set free and forgiven our sins, and instead become slaves to righteousness, following, obeying, and becoming more like Jesus every day. The law of God becomes pleasing, and we strive to live according to His perfect standard. Romans 6:16-18 says, ‘Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.’ ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.' - Romans 6:23.
Therefore, just as one sin through Adam has resulted in condemnation for the world, so too one righteous act through Jesus has resulted in life for the world. God had this plan of redemption all along, for he knew his Son would come to die for our sins, so that we may know the character of God through Jesus, and that we may be justified through faith in Him. ‘Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.’ - Romans 5:18. In Acts 2:22-24, the apostle Peter speaks of this plan, ‘Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.’
Receiving the gospel takes humility. The majority of people boast in themselves, and few live humble lives. To see Jesus for who he truly is, we must surrender ourselves, recognize that the world is not what it ought to be, we are not who we ought to be, and through faith in Jesus we can be restored, and given freely God’s grace, salvation, and love. James 4:7-10 says, ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.’
We often forget, that we are the ones who nailed Jesus to the cross. It was our pride, our ego, our fear of the light, and our sin that killed him. But God raised him from the dead. Jesus died to show God’s love for us, to save us from sin, to set up his kingdom, and establish personal relationship with those who believe in him.
For God did not send Jesus to solely satisfy his own wrath, but to show us his love for us, that he would take our place and give his life for us. In John 15:13, Jesus says, ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.
Therefore, we, despite our fatal flaws, are loved by God, and justified to Him through faith in Jesus. Turn from your sin, believe in His name, and you will receive the Holy Spirit, and everlasting life. This is the gospel. This is good news.