The first four books of the New Testament are called Gospels. “Gospel comes from the Greek word (Gr. - euaggelion) meaning “good news”. These four Gospels recount the Good News of Jesus Christ.
But what is this news, and what makes it good?
The news is that God has made a way to bring man back into right relationship with Himself. Where man, because of sin (man’s corrupt nature with its wrong and incorrect thoughts, words and actions), has been estranged from God, God has enacted a means by which God’s infinite holiness, justice and righteousness can be fully satisfied and God’s infinite love, mercy and grace displayed and poured out.
God is infinite – there is no limit to His knowledge, His power, His love, His Grace, but equally so, there is no limit to His Holiness, Righteousness and Justice; God is Perfect. And because God is Perfect, God’s love does NOT mean that God’s Justice and Holiness can be left unsatisfied or ignored. So how does an infinite loving God satisfy his justice and holiness in bringing corrupt humans back into relationship with Himself?
What God did was to take into Himself the finit eness of man; God allowed Himself to be born and live as a man – to experience a human life – in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived amongst us and with us, but unlike us He lived a perfect, sinless life – despite having a body that had temptations, a body which hungered, became thirsty, and grew tired and weary.
Despite His perfect, sinless life, Jesus gave Himself up, to die on our behalf. Convicted by weak and corrupt religious and political systems, Jesus was flogged, beaten and crucified. The infinite God took the finite into Himself and willingly died – in our place. Physical death is a consequence of sin; just as spiritual death (separation, rejection and the judgement of God) is also the consequence of sin. Jesus was perfect – death should not have touched Him. But He took the penalty due us into Himself. He did what we could not – the perfect infinite God satisfied his own requirements of justice and holiness for all people throughout all time by sacrificing Himself.
But the news of God’s sacrifice on our behalf doesn’t end there.
As God, Christ has in Himself LIFE; He doesn’t just have life He IS life. Therefore though dying on the cross, death could not hold him - Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and Christ offers his sacrifice and resurrection to us. It is a free gift offered to all – but it does cost. We must come to God on His terms, not ours.
Putting one’s faith (faithful, trusting belief) in God, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice means that we must repent. We must change our minds and opinion on what we think is acceptable, right and true and conform to what God says is acceptable, right and true. As we read God’s Word (the Bible) we will conform our thinking to God’s thinking, and thus our way of life (our thoughts, speech and actions) to what God desires and expects of those who TRULY have faith in Him.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32 (NAU)
We cannot say that we truly believe, have faith in and trust God, Jesus and His Good News if your life remain unchanged. For if you truly and absolutely believe something to be true you WILL act accordingly. To say you believe but live as if you do not shows that your confession is but lip service and is not true saving faith. Faith and Works are the two sides of the same coin; faith will produce works and the works reveal where your faith lies. Does this mean that we will automatically become perfect? No! But God gives forgiveness to those who seek Him. Seek His forgiveness, believe in Him and trust His means of Salvation: we can always go back to God and confess that we’ve messed up – knowing that God will accept our prayers and heart-felt confessions.
Some will endeavour to do all kinds of penance and works as if they can earn their way to heaven. You cannot. Salvation is a GIFT offered by God – something you cannot earn or buy. Faith in God will be revealed in your works and your works will reveal your faith. The following verses of Scripture are, for some, a paradox or a contradiction, and yet they are all true.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Romans 3:28
Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. Galatians 2:16
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24
Good deeds, works, rigidly following “do’s” and “don’ts” will not save you, will not justify you before God. Nevertheless, an honest, true, faithful belief and trust in God WILL produce good deeds and works – which SHOW that you truly have faith in God. You cannot have faith and yet fail to have works – that is a contradiction. For what you truly believe will be shown in how you act. You cannot make an outward claim of faith in God and yet ignore, disregard and/or reject what God says to do – for that is but hypocrisy and it is a contradiction.
The Good News is: God has made a way. God has Paid the Price, and God offers life. But God offers it on His terms.
- You must believe that God (i.e. the God of the Bible) IS.
- You must recognise (realise and acknowledge) your own sinful and corrupt state before God.
- You must recognise the true and just guilty verdict before God and that you can NOT do or say anything to justify yourself.
- You must recognise and acknowledge Jesus and His sacrifice as the ONLY means of being brought back into right relationship with God.
- You must recognise and acknowledge Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
- You must recognise and acknowledge Jesus’ lordship – you must bow your knee and heart to His rule over your life.
- You must truly repent of (reject and turn from) your sinful past, way of life and practices. And in turning, you must turn to what God says is acceptable.
This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a free offer from God and by God which is available to all.
The Good News is that God has made a way for corrupt man to hear and respond to His Gospel – but God will respect your decision NOT to listen. God has satisfied His holiness, justice (and wrath) by Christ’s sacrifice – rejecting that sacrifice means that YOU yourself will have to face the consequences (of your action) of that justice. The choice is yours.
This is the difference between biblical Christianity and the religions of the world. In them one attempts to appease God or “gods” by deeds and/or sacrifices in the attempt to make yourself clean or make your good deeds outweigh your bad. But God – the true and only God – says you are filthy and corrupt: any deeds you do, no matter how good, are corrupt. The only sacrifice that can be acceptable to God is God’s own sacrifice.
Here is the News, and it is Good News indeed. Have you heard it – or do you merely dismiss or reject it? Have you heard?
About the Author
B. Michael Bigg, and his wife, Kathryn, came out of the Word-Faith movement. Michael has a concern for the preaching of the truth (or lack of it) in many of today's churches. He has a desire to assist in the education of the elect and reaching the lost