The gospel literally means “good story” or “good news” but many are uncertain what this good news really is. Good news implies that there was/is a time when things were worse than they are now. For good news to be good then, there must be bad news. If things were already well and good then there would be no warrant for good news. Terms like good and bad imply that certain instances in space and time are either good or bad. So are things well and good or are things much worse than we think?
To understand if things are evil we must begin with mankind. Do you believe morals are subjective or objective? Do you think that things can just be bad for you, or are they truly bad apart from just how you feel about them? The kind of good news that I am going to propose is not news for a time, but news for all time. The truth is that we have all committed evil deeds. We all have an intuitive understanding of the evils of this world. It isn’t hard for just us as individuals, but we by nature understand that it is hard for all of us and that there is something off with the world. The bloodiest century in mankind’s history was the 20th century1,2. Less than 100 years ago these things occurred, this is not too far removed from us friends. Mankind, although increasing technologically and in general understanding, has not progressed morally. Do we believe morals really matter or they just matter to us in our subjective personal opinions? If they truly matter (and the average person intuitively understands this) then we cry out for institutions, nations, governments, and technology, to help us escape. The news I want to propose does not escape this reality but confronts it head on and succeeds over it in a triumphant victory.
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God?“Psalm 53:1-4
The bible is clear and harmonizes with the internal turmoil we feel daily when we look at our lives and the world. The evil and wrong we see in our lives and in the world is what the bible calls sin. Sin literally means to miss the mark or to go astray. So the bible encapsulates what we intuitively know is absolutely wrong and not just wrong for me. There is a mark, a standard that has been set by the creator of the universe himself, God. God created seeds to turn into trees, God created the sun to give heat and light, and God created the laws of physics that govern how bodies move. These natural laws that are built into nature remind us of the laws that we know intuitively to humans existence but do not shared with the rest of the created things. We are unique in this. Animals steal other animal’s possessions often but humans know intuitively not to steal that it is wrong . Animals eat other animals but we know cannibalism and murder is wrong. This is the standard God has put into us all.
“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.“Romans 2:12-16
So what is this standard and this law that he has put into us? Well, he revealed this to us clearly that we may not have to try and attain it and make it clear by our own logic and reason. This revealed law is the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) among the other commandments that God has given us. This law can be summed up even further when Jesus says,
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:34-40
Loving our neighbor is a command and the sum of all of the law God has put into our hearts (unclearly but still there) and revealed clearly in his word. The animal kingdom and the rest of creation are devoid of love. These moral commands are unique to humans. Now we all know that when a law is broken there is a punishment that ensues. I have set the stage for the reality of the world and God’s word to coincide.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:23-26
So, we see the bible matching up exactly with what we already know, that the world is broken and we have all sinned before a holy God. In a court of law you are either tried and found guilty of the crime or you are justified before the court and absolved from all accusation. This is how justice is served. Either you are guilty or justified. We see in Romans 3 that God passed over our sins in the past instead of punishing us for it. Adam and Eve, the very first humans, sinned before God (Genesis 3). Since he is the creator so he sets things up i.e. gravity, trees growing, entropy, and the moral law of humans. Instead of God giving them justice for breaking his law he decides to show us grace and mercy by not giving us what we do in fact deserve and then he promises to send a human to eventually right every wrong and bring justice to God law being broken by the humans. What exactly is the punishment for breaking God’s law?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23
The worse the crime the more severe the punishment. If I were to scratch a car in a dump, I may have a small fine for trespassing but the car is trash anyways. If I scratch a used car in a lot the fine would be worse. If I scratch a brand new Ferrari on the lot then I may have a lot of paying to do. This is why we have laws in place to punish more severe crimes in our justice system. The punishment fits the crime. God, as creator is by nature the most valuable thing in the universe. If we determine value based on power, uniqueness, and beauty, then God is by far the most valuable thing. Since we have sinned against God then the worst punishment a human can get is death. Their very life is their being. What Jesus Christ does, God’s very own son but also the son of a man, comes and bears our sin for us and takes the penalty of our sin. He dies for us but even worse than that he bears the weight of all of our sin.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21
Now we have been seeing the name Jesus in this presentation. Who is he? He is God’s very own son. He came from God and was born of a virgin being both fully God and fully man. He was the man, the human that God promised Adam and Eve he would send to save us from our sin against him. That promise that God made, instead of giving Adam and Eve the wages of their sin which was death, was intended that we might know how amazing God is. He isn’t sadistic and cruel and he does not rejoice in suffering. This is why he sent Jesus and made the promise to Adam and Eve. He did not want to give Adam and Eve death, he wanted to give them life, but they disobeyed his law and punishment must be dealt for justice to be maintained. This is where 2 Corinthians 5:21 comes in. Jesus lives a perfect life and was completely righteous. He never sinned one time. Due to this perfection he could truly represent us and bear our sin as God laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 52:11).
This is our hope and this is good news. However, the good news isn’t just about Jesus saving YOU or Jesus saving ME but more like Jesus saving the world. The world was plunged into sin, and we saw last century just how bad things have gotten. Governments, rulers, institutions, and the like have been elevated to God status as a false savior. They in reality are in the same boat that every other human is in. However, the only government, the only leader, the only KING is Jesus. He has all authority and power. This is the good news. The only one that ever had the capability to save us from sin is God himself. Mankind cannot relieve themselves of this sin problem. Only God could do such a thing, and that’s why Jesus was FULLY GOD, that he might succeed in the task where mankind failed, but also FULLY MAN, that he might truly represent us and be like us and make us what we were always meant to be. We were not meant to be evil. Jesus is the new Adam the new first human and we will all be like him as we behold his glory, this great king. This is what I believe and every true Christian on the face of this planet. This is the fuel and power behind my podcast/blog/website. Come with me, lets follow this great king.
For The King – Rocky Ramsey
Note: all bible texts are taken from the ESV translation