For The Truth's Sake: Why The Gospel Is GOOD News (II)
For the truth's sake, not only must the gospel be proclaimed, it must also be obeyed. It is not proclaimed merely as a basis for speculation and mental exercise, but is proclaimed "for obedience to the faith among all nations" (Ram. 1:5). The Good News of God's grace and forgiveness through Christ ought to be gladly accepted and obeyed by all men, "but they have not all obeyed the gospel" (Ram. 10:16). "7 he god of this world bath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ . . . should shine unto them." "T he light" is hidden and "the treasure" lost unto those who give themselves over to "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:3-7). Satan is served when we walk "according to the course of this world . . . the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," fulfilling "the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:2-3).
Men may ignore and reject the gospel, still it is Good News. The message does not change its character simple because some turn away their ears from hearing it. Others are glad to hear and glad to obey. It is still good news that (1) Jesus Christ does for man what man cannot do for himself, and that (2) Jesus Christ reveals the love of God. There are other reasons the proclamation is good:
3. Jesus Christ reveals spiritual things. In spite of all man's advances in knowledge and all his accomplishments, "there is no new thing under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9). The planning and striving of man cannot reach beyond a realm called life "under the sun" in Ecclesiastes. All governments and nations constructed by men are temporary. Every social arrangement, restructure, or plan will change in time. Economic systems built with the utmost care must finally crumble. Money, knowledge, pleasure, and all other labors are left behind at death. What then? And, even while we live and struggle and labor "under the sun," what is our relation to God? Can we know His will for us? Can we know when we have obeyed His law and when we have erred - can we know His law? Is worship accepted in heaven? Is there conscious existence after death? Are there rewards and punishments - can we be with God in eternity, or be separated from Him?
The eye, ear, and heart of man cannot pierce beyond life "under the sun" to uncover things in the mind of God, but He has revealed Himself in the gospel of Christ, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual words" (1 Cor. 2:9-13 ASV). That is Good News, indeed! Rather than offering plans and schemes of earthly reform, Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you,.they are spirit, and they are life" (Jn. 6:63). Going beyond the realm of material kingdoms, interests; and cares; Jesus pointed to a spiritual birth, a spiritual kingdom, and spiritual blessings. He said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:5).
4. Jesus Christ conquered death. One by one, each of us comes face to face with death. With flowers, memorials, and manicured graveyards, we try to soften the shock, but death is an enemy and it will wrestle each of us down into the grave. Jesus Christ entered the mighty castle of death, but "the gates of Hades" could not hold him (Matt. 16: I S ASV). "He is risen," angels told the first visitors to His grave; prophets had foretold it and eyewitnesses then reported it (Matt. 28; 1 Cor. I5:1-8). He has promised to raise "all that are in the graves" when He returns - "they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (Jn. 5:28-29). Christians know that when He returns, "the dead in Christ shall rise first" and then the faithful living will join them "to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Words of comfort, Good News!
What of you, dear reader? Will you not accept and obey the gospel? Moved by faith, repent of your sins, confess Christ's name, "be born of water and of the Spirit."
Truth Magazine XXIV: 25, p. 402