Christians have been commanded to go throughout the world and preach the gospel to all people. But what exactly is the gospel? The word “gospel” means “good news.” But what is the “good news?” If there is good news then doesn’t that imply that there is bad news as well? In this article, I will define what the good and bad news are, and how both are important for understanding what Jesus did for us and for the future.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” This passage teaches us that the gospel is Jesus dying and resurrecting for our sins. We see here both the good (Jesus) and bad (sin) news.
The bad news is first brought to our attention at the very beginning of the Bible – in Genesis. The first two chapters in Scripture teach us about the “very good” world that God had created. However, things become dark in chapter 3. Mankind rebels against God and brings sin, death, and suffering into the world. Paul, in Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45, teaches that, because of what Adam did, we all die. Paul went back to Genesis in order to explain death. Since we are descendants of Adam and Eve, we are all sinners. We have become separated from our Creator, and this would have lasted forever (hell) if something was not done.
What was done is the good news, and that is Christ died and rose from the grave for the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-17 says,
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
This teaches us that Jesus is God, our Creator. What is amazing is that our Creator has become our Redeemer. Since we are sinners we cannot save ourselves, so God became a perfect man to sacrifice himself so that sinful man can be saved.
And the good news does not end there. Romans 8:18-25; 2 Peter 3:13; and Revelation 21:1 teach us that us that there is a future glory that is to come: a new heavens and a new earth. There will be no more death and the curse will be no more. The separation that was introduced in Genesis 3 is reversed. Now God will live with mankind in a purified, redeemed world (Revelation 21:3-4). This is the good news: because of what Jesus did, we will live perfect lives in a perfect world with our Creator, forever – instead of spending an eternity separated from him in hell.
Understanding the good and bad news helps us understand why Jesus came to earth in the first place. In countries where there is little to no Biblical understanding it is important to know that Christianity makes no sense without the good and bad news. The Gospel has its foundation in Genesis, and is not fully fulfilled until Christ’s glorious return and the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).
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