By Ron Halbrook
For the truth’s sake, the gospel of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed. Gospel means “good news,” and Jesus means “savior” (Matt. 1:21). The good news is that God has sent a Savior into the world to save us from our sins (Lk. 1:77; Matt. 26:28). When Jesus was ,born, angels announced “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people . . .
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Lk. 2:10-14). Early in His public work, Jesus read God’s prophecy through Isaiah: “. . . he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor . . . .” Jesus explained, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Lk. 4:16-21). To the poor of heart, meek of spirit, and humble of mind, Jesus Christ offered through Himself God’s grace in the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 5:3-12; 18:1-6; Jn. 14:1-6).
Why is this message good news?
1. Jesus Christ does for man what man cannot do for himself. “Sin entered the world” through Adam, but he is not the only sinner in history! “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” so that “one man’s disobedience” has been imitated again and again (Rom. 3:23; 5:12, 19). “Sin is the transgression of the law,” and one sin is enough to convict and condemn us as “transgressors” (1 Jn. 3:4; Ja. 2:9-10). When Jesus died for our sins, He made it possible for “the children of disobedience” to find forgiveness in God’s grace. “It is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:1-9; Isa. 53). Man cannot offer a record of perfection to God, for he stands before Him as a lawbreaker. What power does man have to remove or erase violations from his record before God? None. Only in Christ do “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
2. Jesus Christ reveals the love of God. “God is love” and His love has been set forth clearly in the sacrifice of His Son for our sins. “herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:8-10). When Jesus preached “the gospel to the poor,” He preached “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:19). Though our sins separate us from God, He shows His love because in Christ Jesus “he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6). When Christ returns, He will judge the world (Jn. 12:48; Acts 17:31). But first, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (Jn. 3:16-17). While God’s love is proclaimed in Jesus Christ, “Now is the accepted time . . . now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
The message is good for other reasons, too. But, each who hears must accept or reject Jesus Christ. His love calls for our love, “for the love, of Christ constraineth us”.. (2 Cor. 5:14). If we reject Him now, He will reject us “when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to- be admired in all them that believe” (2 Thess. 1:7-10). “For by grace are ye saved ,through faith” when we are “buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Eph. 2:8;. Col.’2:12). “They have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom. 10:16), but will you accept and obey the Good Message?
Truth Magazine XXIV: 18, p. 290
May 1, 1980