“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”
A generation ago, news came slowly via daily newspapers, radio, and half-hour nightly news broadcasts aired by one of three television networks. Then came the era of 24-hour cable news, followed by social media and other digital platforms delivering news at the speed of one’s fingertips. Tweet and text are new words in our vocabulary, and now everyone is a journalist with an opinion! Anytime and anywhere we can find out what’s happening in the world. But let’s be honest: these days, most news is bad news and it weighs heavily upon us.
By contrast, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is always good news. It always has been and always will be good news, especially in an increasingly dark and despairing world. However, the gospel is good news for reasons you might not be aware.
The word gospel means “good news” and appears nearly 100 times in the New Testament, translated from the Greek word euangelion, from which we get our English words evangelist, evangel, and evangelical.The gospel is refreshingly good news in a world full of toxic, unrelenting bad news. But it is also good news in light of the bad news about us found in the pages of Scripture. The Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23, 6:23a). Furthermore, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
The biblical diagnosis of the human heart and, thus, our spiritual condition is not good. Reading the Bible with any measure of honesty is like receiving news from an oncologist that we have stage four cancer. However, we are not sick and in need of self-help medication; we are sinners – “dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) – and in need of a Savior who can resurrect us to new life.
Thankfully, God did not leave us without a remedy for our sins. Having planned our redemption before the foundation of the world and out of His great love for us, God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to purchase our salvation through His death on the cross so that we would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23b). The facts of the gospel are indisputable. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: thatChrist died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The impact of the gospel on our lives individually and upon the world globally is unmatched. The apostle Paul declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). That means the gospel is a bold message in which we have confidence, a powerful message because it is God’s, and a saving message because it is the only one that can rescue us from the penalty of sin and truly transform the human heart. The gospel is also a universal message because it is available to all who believe and a unifying message because it brings together otherwise hostile ethnicities.
Every generation must fight for the purity of the gospel. Jude says we must “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” He warns that some people creep into the church to pervert the grace of God and deny the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, the church must always stand ready to defend the gospel like a heavyweight champion contenting for another boxing title. Though the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is at least two thousand years old, and allusions to it date back to the third chapter of Genesis, there is no guarantee, humanly speaking, that the gospel will survive to the next generation. A period of time in church history known as the Dark Ages is proof of this. Therefore, the church must believe it, proclaim it, protect it, live it out in our daily lives, and carefully transfer the stewardship of the gospel to the next generation, all the while remembering that Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to save us from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. It makes me want to shout, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Read, believe, and respond by faith today!
This blog is an excerpt from Starting Point: A Disciple's First Steps. Starting Point is an online discipleship coaching experience by Dr. Ron Jones.