Reflections on the Word: Good and bad news
Jesus began his ministry in a Jewish synagogue by reading a prophetic verse in Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.” Jesus then said this prophecy was now fulfilled in him. The key word of this prophecy is “gospel,” which means “good news.”
One of the great peculiarities of human nature is the need of knowing the latest news. Unfortunately, we also have a strange attraction to, and inclination to believe, bad and scandalous news more than good news. The gospel of Jesus Christ has both good news and bad news as well. Furthermore, just as we go to the doctor when we are sick and the first protocol is to diagnose the reason for our discomfort, so also is the gospel. We first need to identify the cause of human fears, unhappiness, and evil inclinations.
The gospel’s bad news is that there is a serious flaw in human nature which it calls “sin.” It is a much more serious flaw than people like to admit because it is fatal to peace, happiness and longevity. Scripture tells us that every human in history has been infected with sin. The scripture that makes this point crystal clear is Romans 3:23-24, which tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
What’s worse, scripture tells us in Romans 6:23 that sin is fatal and incurable apart from Jesus Christ — “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Notice in this verse that eternal life is a gift. It cannot be purchased or earned. We should also notice that the second half of this verse introduces the gospel good news, which is made more wonderful when compared to the bad news and as we learn the benefits. These benefits are such things as restoration and reconciliation with God our Creator and release from the heavy load of guilt and condemnation we carry. The supreme benefit is the promise of eternal life in a new and perfect environment free from all the evils of our present environment. No injustices, no prejudices, no wars and no conflicts of any kind. There will be perfect peace and harmony in the kingdom of God and under a government of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal and Sovereign King.
To personally attain the benefits of the gospel would be incredibly simple if it were not for another serious symptom of our flawed sinful nature. It is called “pride.” The good news is that there is a remedy and cure for the fatal condition of sin. It involves faith and belief. It is found in Romans 10:9-11. “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association