But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:8–9)
Good News from God for Those Who Need it Most
“Gospel” means “good news.” In fact, it’s the greatest news the world has ever heard. It’s also the one piece of news that every man, woman, and child in every nation from every generation needs to hear. There is no other news that has this kind of universal importance.
To call it “news” reminds us that it has been announced to us. We didn’t figure it out or discover it. God revealed it to us: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God” (Mark 1:14). There were hints and prophecies about the gospel in the Old Testament, but it was Jesus who announced it to a world trapped in sin and under judgment.
To call it “good” tells us that we need it. A cure for a terminal illness is appreciated if you don’t have the disease, but if you do, it’s the greatest thing you could possibly receive. The gospel is “good news” for us because it brings the remedy for our greatest problem.
John 3:16 famously summarizes how all of this works: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The problem is that we have chosen the path of disobedience and the worship of things and ourselves instead of worshiping him. This is called sin: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This brought a hopeless separation between us and God—hopeless, that is, apart from God’s grace.
While God could have brought an instant and complete end to the world because of our sin, he instead “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.” Jesus Christ is the Son of God, “his only Son.” He was sent by God to live among us, to reveal the Father, and most importantly to die on a cross for sinners. In this way God the Father “gave his only Son.” The result of Jesus’ death for sinners is that we can now be saved: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood [i.e., declared righteous by God himself!], much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Rom. 5:9).
But is it Good for Me?
John 3:16 tells us that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This is the response required: faith. When I believe in Jesus I go from “perishing” to “eternal life.” Instead of separation from God now and eternal judgment in hell after my death (“perishing”), I can enter into a relationship with God immediately and look forward to eternity in the surpassing bliss of the new heavens and new earth when I die (“eternal life”).
That means I better understand what “faith” is, right? To “believe in him” means that I believe Jesus to be the Son of God who did and said what the Bible tells me about him. It means I believe that he indeed died on a cross and rose three days later and then ascended into heaven where is right now. It means that I believe he is coming again.
But it’s more than simply believing facts about him. It also means that I am choosing to follow Jesus as my Lord, my Master, and my King. I obey his commandments in the Bible because they are the commands of my Lord and King. I obey as he speaks to me through the Holy Spirit because these, too, are the words of my Master.
When you believe in Jesus and follow Jesus you go from “perishing” to “eternal life.” You go from a sinner anticipating the judgment of his sin to a child of God awaiting the glories of life with God in the new heavens and new earth.
This is why we call it “good news.” It is the best news you could ever hear.
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