In a world drowning in bad news, good news must be clung to and cherished.
The Bible was originally written in Greek, and the word Gospel, which is copiously present throughout the New Testament, is the English translation of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, which means “good news.”
So what is the “good news” that the Bible is attempting to convey?
In short, that Heaven has been opened to you, if you would have Him.
Love has made you a home with Himself and Righteousness has brought you near. The “good news” of which the Bible speaks is actually the best news any of us could have hoped to hear. That God has made a way back into His favor, into His family.
It would be enough to live in God’s courts as a mere servant. Just to be permitted in His presence to experience His kindness is a privilege so unfathomably glorious, to desire less is nothing less than high crime of the worst sort.
To be His servant and live in His light, partaking of His benevolence is something He grants, and that’s good news all by itself. But more than that, as if there could be more than that, He makes men sons. He rests His fatherly affection on the sons of men that they might become sons of God. And He does so for even the vilest and lowest of mankind.
“Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.”Jesus speaking to the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 21:31B)
The best of news is this, “God adopts and gives us Himself.”
There are wonderful benefits to that, which will take an eternity to explore, but they all pale in splendor to it. Nothing has so graced humanity like having access to God, even access as His child. To quote John Piper:
“God is the Gospel.”
But how does one enter into this privileged existence?
To know anything of God is to know His goodness. And to know anything of man is to know his badness. If God hates sin, how can He love the sinner?
In a word, Jesus.
From eternity, even before the world began, the Only God—Father, Son, and Spirit had a plan. A redemptive, graciously merciful, self-revealing plan. A loving plan. A scheme to save helpless rotten sinners from the justice they deserve for the sin they’ve enjoyed. God was going to let the axe of His fury fall on Himself to save a people for His own possession.
At the right time, that second person of the Trinity, the Son of Glory put on flesh and entered His Creation—sent by His Father and anointed by the Spirit to accomplish that plan.
He was to live a perfect life, and die.
Being completely righteous in Himself, Jesus was tasked with earning a righteousness that He would later bestow on a people who had none… in a trade.
What was the trade you ask? What did Jesus ask in exchange for the merits of His labor, the keys to the Kingdom of God? Their sin—our sin. The bad fruits of our labor is what He asked for. That He might present Himself to His Father in the filthy garments that we’ve spoiled, standing in our place to receive our reward—wrath. Oceans of scorn prepared for the guilty, concentrated in a cup and drank dry by the Son of God—on a Friday.
This Great Exchange, this transaction of love is the means by which God makes men sons, sinners righteous, and His enemies His friends. This is how God can love the unlovable, and grant them an eternity of inexhaustible joy.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”John 3:16-18
This joy is for those that believe in Him, who come to Him for that exchange, who hope in Him alone for the redemption that He alone can offer.
A Concluding Remark
Being God and accomplishing His work, Jesus did not stay dead. On the third day, well after the acceptable period of time necessary to pronounce that death has really occurred (dead–dead), Jesus walked out of the tomb and stayed on the Earth just long enough to turn it upside down—forty days to be exact.
After the forty, He ascended to His Father and is this moment preparing a dwelling place for His people from His throne as He promised (John 14:2-3). The good news, the Gospel, is not that we can punch our ticket for a paradise yet unseen, but that God has fashioned a way into His company for a people undeserving and loves them as He loves His Son.
Truth be told, I don’t care if Heaven is paved with gold, dirt, or dung—give me God.
“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”Psalms 17:15
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