The Good News
Good News for the World
It has been said that the gospel (the “good news”) is simple enough for a child to understand, yet profound enough for the greatest theologian to ponder for a lifetime. How, then, do we begin to get our minds around such a grand and glorious theme in Scripture? We’ll begin by stating what the gospel is and what it is not.
What the Gospel Is and Is Not
The gospel is not good do’s. That is, the gospel is not right living—though right living is certainly important in the Christian life.
The gospel is not good views. That is, the gospel not right doctrine—though right doctrine is certainly important in the Christian life.
The gospel is good news. It’s the joyful announcement of what God has freely done—and has promised yet to do—for his people in Jesus Christ.
The English word “gospel” is an Old English term that means “good news,” or “glad tidings,” or “happy headline.” When World War II ended, the newspapers announced a gospel: “War Is Over.” It was a verbal declaration that called for a response of belief and celebration on the part of the reader.
Background to the Word ‘Gospel’
This Old English word comes from the New Testament word euangelion. For the Greeks, euangelion was not just any good news; it was specifically the good news of a victory in battle, or a victory in court. “Spread the euangelion; we won the battle! We won the case!” The gospel, then, is a happy headline or a joyful announcement.
For the Romans, euangelion had that same meaning, but they added a concept—namely, the good news of a new king who had just been born or had just ascended the throne. A herald would go to the top of a hill, light a fire, and shout his euangelion, his good news, in a loud voice, spreading it to all who would listen.
The Good News of Jesus
As applied to Christian theology, then, the gospel is the good news announcement that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived the life we should have lived, died the death we should have died, and rose again from the dead, sharing his life with all who believe. He ascended into heaven, taking our humanity into the Trinity, and now stands vindicated by his Father and triumphant over the powers of darkness.
As a result, there is now no condemnation for those who turn from their sins and believe in Christ. Instead, they now have eternal life and everlasting joy, participating in the great story of God’s restoration of all things. To those who receive Jesus Christ by faith—to those who believe in his name—God gives them “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Living in Light of the Good News
Having been captivated by the grace of God in Christ, we now delight to follow the ways of Christ, and thus the life-long journey of spiritual transformation begins. But life transformation is not the gospel; it’s a result of the gospel.
The Christian good news is rooted in God’s grace alone, not in humanity’s moral performance. If it were, it wouldn’t be good news at all because “all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23a). If it depended on moral performance, we would make ourselves partially our own saviors, which is impossible. Human beings are spiritually broken. Only Jesus, the Son of God, can bridge the gap between sinful humanity and holy God. His cross was the bridge.
Tim Keller has said, “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
The simple gospel—the good news announcement of what God has freely done for us in Christ—is pride shattering yet life affirming. It first reduces a person in order to raise a person. It wrecks an arrogant soul in order to re-fashion a grateful soul. It has nothing to do with good works, yet it always leads to good works. It’s not something we do, but something that’s been done.
That’s why Jesus shouted from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). And out of that finished work, we do his work by his grace.
Good News for You
Trust that Transforms
The good news is that God has reconciled the world to himself in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19), and now he is restoring the entire cosmos through Jesus (Revelation 21:1-5). You can get in on this by faith—by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16).
Let the Journey Begin
When you trust in Christ for salvation, the journey of a lifetime—and a brand-new eternity—begins. For you, this good news will be the best news ever!
Please contact us here at Christ Community Church if you would like to talk more about having a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ.
Artwork “Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear
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