By Mike Willis
Anyone who reads a daily newspaper or listens to a news cast on television is impressed with how much bad news is reported — a wreck on the interstate, a murder in the inner city, unrest in the Middle East, a corrupt politician. The list is nearly endless and nearly all of it is bad news . One song writer, reflecting on the bad news, wrote, “Sure could use a little good news today!”
There are a lot of good events which happen every day which are not reported in the newspapers. They are judged not to be newsworthy. We would not minimize any of these good events which happen daily, but all of them pale in comparison to the “good news” of the gospel. The word “gospel” is translated from euangelion which is defined as “good news.” Indeed, the gospel is good news. In keeping a balance in our preaching, we need to emphasize the good news of the gospel.
God Controls The World
We may be distressed by the events which we witness occurring — the decision to allow homosexuals to serve in the military and to make abortions more accessible, and similar such events. However, the good news of the gospel is that God is still in control of the world. This is what is taught in the following passages:
… the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men (Dan 4:17).
… until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will (Dan 4:32).
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (Prov 21:1).
God’s eternal purpose will be accomplished. We should be encouraged to know that this world is under the direction and control of Almighty God, not merely subject to the caprice of men. This is good news.
The good news of the gospel does not end with telling us that God controls the world, the gospel reveals that God providentially watches over the needs of every individual. This is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Consider the words of these texts:
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, 0 ye of little faith? (Matt. 6:30)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb. 13:5-6).
To know that my God knows my every need, even before I ask of him, is good news.
God Loves Us
There are a number of concepts men have about God. In mythology, sometimes the gods were angry with man or toyed with men; on many occasions, the gods were indifferent to the needs of mere men on earth. The good news of the gospel is that our great God loves us. Here is what the gospel reveals:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16).
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Rom. 5:8-9).
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. . . (Eph. 2:4 ).
Sometimes men have the concept that God is watching with an all-seeing eye with the intention to find some fault in their lives to justify casting them into hell. If that is the nature of the God whom you know, you need to exchange that concept of God for the God revealed in the Bible — the God who loves you so much that he is doing everything short of destroying your free will to effect your salvation. If you should so live as to be destroyed in hell, your everlasting damnation will not be pleasant to God; it will cause him grief. The good news of the gospel is that God loves you.
Jesus Died For Us
No greater expression of the love of God can be found than in the gift of his Son. The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary was an atonement for the sin of mankind (1 Jn. 1:7-10; Rom. 3:24-25; Heb. 9:14). The blood of bulls and goats was not adequate to redeem man from sin (Heb. 10:4). Man was unable to redeem himself. Only an act of the redeeming grace of God could save man from sin. The good news of the gospel is that God acted to redeem man. He sent his Son
Jesus to die on Calvary, to shed his blood for the remission of our sins.
The atonement made on Calvary is adequate for the remission of the sins of every man (1 Jn. 2:2). The forgiveness is available to wash away any and every sin (1 Jn. 1:7). Consequently, I can be thoroughly washed and cleansed of my sins. This is the good news of the gospel.
God Hears Our Prayers
The Bible reveals that the same God who saves us is a “prayer hearing” God (Psa. 65:2). He asks and commands that his children pray to him (Lk. 18:7-8). There are several important concepts in the idea that God hears and answers our prayers. Consider the following: (1) It says that God cares for me; (2) It says God is able to hear and answer my prayers (he is omniscient and omnipotent); (3) It says that God is willing to hear and answer my prayers; (4) It says that there is power in prayer (Jas. 5:16). To know that there is a God in heaven who listens to my prayers and answers them is good news.
God Has Promised Heaven to the Faithful
The Lord has also promised heaven as the eternal reward of those who are faithful to him. Jesus said to the Apostles shortly before his death, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” On. 14:1-3). Not even death can keep us from our eternal home, for Christ will raise us from the dead and take us to be with him in glory (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The beauties of heaven are described for us in Revelation 21. Indeed, the hope for eternal life in heaven is good news.
Let us not allow the circumstances of life to drive us into despondency. Let us keep our eyes focused on the good news of the gospel. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, even in the face of the “bad news” which is reported on the evening news and in the daily newspapers.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 4, p. 2
February 18, 1993