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The Good News

First, The Bad News
The hunger of every soul is to know God personally, whether we are willing to admit it or not. We were created by Him to have fellowship with Him. The heart of mankind yearns for something more, something beyond ourselves. We long to know the one who created us. This is evident in the fact that every human culture, no matter how remote, has some form of religion, and worships some kind of "god." Animals don't do this, even those that evolutionists claim are our closest relatives. Some species of animals in the wild have very sophisticated societies. But none of them seek to worship a creator, or some Divine being they cannot see. Yet this is ingrained into the fabric of humanity. Why? Because, "He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 'For in Him we live and move and have our being,' as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring'." (Acts 17:26-28). Animals were created by God. But humanity alone is God's "offspring," having been created in His image.

The problem is, there is a huge obstacle between us and the Creator. It is called "sin." Sin is everything we do of our own free will that is contrary to God and His nature, which is entrely good. God is the source of all "goodness." Without Him, there is nothing but chaos and evil. Our sin separates us from God. "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear," (Isaiah 59:1-2). The Apostle Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23). The immediate result of our sin is that God has withdrawn from us. A holy God can't have fellowship with unholy people. God's nature demands truth, righteousness, and justice. Yet, we willingly choose what is contrary to these things. In doing so, God allows us to experience the natural consequences of our choices, and His withdrawing from us. He does this so that we will come to our senses, yearn for His goodness, and seek Him with all our hearts. Even in spite of our rebellion, God still demonstrates His goodess toward man from a distance, through His creation, and often through direct intervention in our lives. He is calling us through both our circumstances, as well as that inner need to know Him that He as placed in every human being. We have a choice to make. We can begin to seek Him as we experience the constrast between His goodness and the results of our sin. Or, we can resist Him, deny Him, and even learn to hate Him.

Death is a consequence of our sin, "for the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). And if we continue to resist Him in this life, the ultimate result will be eternal banishment from God's presence, and suffering permanently the complete vacuum of God's goodness. This is what the Bible calls "the second death." "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:15).

We also know from experience, and from the Bible, that we are incapable of living a life consistent with God and His nature. Therefore, we are incapable of pleasing God by our own merits. Mankind is in an utterly hopeless situation unless God takes the initiative to rescue us. And that is precisely what He wants us to realize. Once we have come to terms with our dire situation, we are ready for the "good news."

The Good News
The Bible is not a book about hopelessness and condemnation. It is God's message of love to mankind. Its core message is the "good news" (Gospel). The Apostle Paul summarized the Gospel like this: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us [in our place]" (Romans 5:8). The Apostle John explained the core message of the Bible this way: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God," (John 3:16-18 NKJV). The Apostle Peter concludes: "Christ suffered for you, ... He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. ... He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray..." (1 Peter 2:21-25). The essence of the Gospel is God's rescue mission for those who are doomed and hopeless.

God has provided the means of our salvation, the death of His Son in our place. That once for all sacrifice provided the legal basis for our pardon from sin. But, each and every person needs to receive God's forgiveness through a personal encounter with Him. In this encounter, by means of His Spirit, God not only pardons all our sins, He also fundamentally changes the heart of the individual. The old life, which is contrary to God, is put to death and a new life begins. Jesus called this transformation the "new birth." When a very religious man named Nicodemus came to Jesus he was told by Jesus, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3). Nicodemus was puzzled by Jesus' words, not knowing what He meant. Jesus explained: "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit" (John 3:5). His religion and relatively good living was still not good enough. He needed a "new birth," being reborn in water, and also in God's Spirit, something God alone can do in the human heart. Later, when Jesus sent His Apostles out to preach the good news after His crucifixion and resurrection, He told them, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Peter preached the very first complete Gospel sermon to a large crowd fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead. He explained who Jesus was, and why He had come. When many in the crowd believed the Gospel message, and wanted to be forgiven of their sins, they asked Peter and the other Apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter replied, "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. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39).

The Gift of God is for You!
God loved you so much, He sent His only Son to take the judgment and penalty for your sins. Jesus loved you so much, He volunteered to suffer in your place, to satisfy the penalty due for your sins and the sins of the whole world. He did this in order to offer you:

  • complete forgiveness and pardon of all your sins no matter how bad they may be
  • adoption into the family of God, making God your own Father, and you His son or daughter
  • a new start, what the Bible calls being "born again," free from all guilt
  • His Holy Spirit to live within you, to guide you, comfort you, and help you live right
  • putting to death your old nature, which causes you to keep sinning
  • peace, joy, and contentment in this life even in difficult circumstances
  • the resurrection of your body in an incorruptible form at Jesus' second coming
  • an eternal inheritance in His coming Kingdom
  • How to Respond to God's Gift of Love
    The Bible calls salvation "the gift of God." You cannot earn it. You cannot do anything to deserve it. You must simply receive God's gift in the manner He prescribes. If you are tired of the life of sin, and desire God's free gift of salvation, here is how He said to receive it:

  • believe the good news, that Jesus Christ died for you personally, and rose again
  • "repent" - forsake your sin and decide to live as Jesus taught, through the strength God provides
  • seal your faith and repentance by being baptized in water, confessing your faith in Him
  • It is as simple as that. When you meet these conditions, God takes care of the rest according to His promises. You will become His child. Your relationship with God will instantly change, from His being your judge, to being your Father.

    If the Spirit of God has been prodding you to obey the good news, if you believe the Word of God presented in this article, if you are willing to forsake all that displeases God with His help, then you should take the final step of obedience - have a servant of God baptize you in water according to His command, confessing your faith in Jesus Christ. Then you should seek fellowship in a local church that teaches how to follow Jesus.

    This world system is coming to an end. Jesus is coming back, as He promised. And when He does, He will purge the earth of the wicked, and establish His Kingdom. Those who have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son will inherit this Kingdom. The curse will be removed from creation, and there will be peace on earth, as God Himself lives among men. Don't wait to be reconciled to God. Procrastination could spell your doom.