Good News!

The good news, more familiarly known as the gospel, is the central and most important part in the story of our entire world, partly because only those who hear and believe in it to the point that it affects how they live here and now are guaranteed to be saved. That’s because the gospel is all about knowing God. The tragedy is that in the end, to everyone who doesn’t know Him, He’ll say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

Reasonably, then, we must be sure that we’ve found security with God before that time comes. The purpose of this page is to have outlined in my own words the one way for how He has made that security possible, for either the eternal good or the encouragement of whomever might be visiting Thoughts of a Learner right now or in the future.

Many people have thought that we can reach God on our own either by our own deeds or because of some liberality on His part that lets everyone, no matter what they believe, be somehow eternally acceptable. They and many others have sadly instead made up gods in their own minds. They don’t understand the one and only God’s true character, which is a holy holiness so pure that it He can’t let something the least bit unholy live on as it is. It has to soon die forever. That is how He works.

And so, the real question that everybody should be asking is: have any of us been holy? The Bible tells us exactly what holiness looks like in its books of the law.

Have any of us always spoken the truth and never a lie? Have any of us honored to perfection our God-given authorities, whether parents or teachers or government officials? Have any of us been completely innocent of any premarital and/or immoral lust either in our out of the heart? And here’s a hard one: Have any of us always loved God the most–God, Who made us all and everything else and Whose existence can be proven by the sheer complexity, vastness, grace, and order of the universe as well as by the rule of law? And these are only a few of the things that deem only a person who can say yes to each and every one of them all holy.

The fact is, I myself have not accomplished any one of those things. Have you? But even if you are able to justify yourself in your own mind and by your own mouth all the way down the list, you are not holy either because in God’s Word, the Bible, it says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV) and “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of it all” (James 2:10). With these verses provided, I do not need to even examine myself to be sure that I am holy enough to stand forgiven on my own in the presence of God, and that is that.

This means that I have no say or security in my own self that might let my soul avoid His wrath. Without His mercy by giving me a righteousness not my own but that would cover up my sin, God’s eternal wrath would come either toward me personally at the end of my life or to everyone including me at the end of the world. It’s Hell.

Easy things to do in response to the news that God has just reasons for being angry toward individuals include running to the pleasures of one’s own imagination or figuratively shoving the Bible down the trash by insisting that mere fellow people made it up. I like my imagination, but it can’t prevent anything situated far above the stars from coming down to us in real life. And why would anybody make up such a complex and humiliating account as the Bible for us all and automatically (and fictitiously) condemn himself as well? No one, after honestly researching the ancient texts and/or the historic places mentioned in the Bible, has ever found evidence from their experiences that contradicts it. And how can you explain a book that has been so well-preserved and feared for millennia by people all over the world?

The wrath that is promised to be so terrifying that people understandably would not want to believe in it–it’s coming whether people want it to come or not. Love drives Christians to speak of it, it is not hateful to warn somebody of their true spiritual position. Imagination and denial are no proper or sufficient means to escape a reality that governs all other realities and that has power far greater than that of the fiercest thunderstorm. God would be unjust if He didn’t let it happen.

At the same time, that isn’t all of His heart. In spite of everything, God wants people to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 says so if nothing else does).

And if you have read the Bible for yourself, or if you’ve gone to any church, undoubtedly you have heard the name of Jesus over and over again in songs and/or in discussions. Perhaps you have heard His story for the millionth time already and it has either changed your life for your good forever or has been bogged down to the dullest part of your brain. Regardless, we must bring Him, God’s Son Who was once born into the world, up right now because He’s God’s Answer and the one and only Answer to the problem: our sin and the punishment that is due.

Here is why Christians love Him!

In God’s Word itself, in 2 Corinthians 5:16b-17, it says, “Be reconciled to God”!–before showing readers how and why we can be that way: “He made Him Who knew no sin [that is, Jesus] to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 

In 1 Peter 2:24, it explains what happened to Jesus: “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” (NIV84)

John 3:16-17 sums it up well. “’For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.’” (NIV84)

Lifted up was He to die/ “It is finished!” was His cry, / Now in Heaven, exalted high. / Hallelujah, what a Savior!*

God made it clear that this Jesus was no ordinary person and that He will most certainly raise His followers up from the dead at the end of the world. He did so by Jesus rising from the dead on a Sunday. (God and Jesus are one, see John 10:22-42.) This stunning reality has been testified about in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15, and Revelation 1:9-18.

Now what is there to do when God has basically paid the fine so that we don’t have to go to eternal prison after we die? What is there for us to do when the way that Jesus saves is the only way for anybody to be saved? He said, after all, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” in John 14:6 (ESV). Because of Jesus the curtain dividing the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world was torn in two; the wall of hostility between God and us was torn down; because God no longer sees our sins on us because He saw them on Jesus when He was on the cross.

So, what is the way to respond?

Well, how would you say thank you enough to someone else for loving you like this?

See, we are still accountable to God. We still belong to Him and are under His authority even after His saving act. Look at what He said in John 15 to His disciples. Note verse 14 (and don’t hesitate to read the rest!). What God desires is the relationship between Himself and mankind to be what He meant it to be. We are only made things, and owe even Jesus Who is both God and a Man our greatest submission. But this is not altogether the sort of relationship between a whip-cracking master and cowering slaves. God loves us like sons. He does discipline those He loves (read Hebrews 12:3-11) in preparation for when they can come be with Him at the end of their lives or at the end of the world. This should be very amazing and is worth your seeking out. Pray to Him earnestly!

Hearing back from God all starts in reading His Word. It has been passed down for thousands of years and the truths about Him in it remain true forever. Find the translations that have stayed as devoted as possible to the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts (not everyone has to read the archaic English King James Version by the way; go along also with what you can understand the best. He’s meant for Himself to be understood). People whom God has saved have Himself inside of them in a special way, accompanying their soul, called the Holy Spirit. He never leaves those He loves. Isn’t that so loving of Him?

Now some people like to say they are saved followers of God [Christians] when they are really not. The Bible books of 2 Peter and Jude have much to say about them and are worth your careful attention. 1 John on the other hand is full of what truly converted people should basically be to God and each other in this life. That is also worth your attention. You should look for a church of people who are like those described in 1 John.

It was a humbling honor sharing with you the best and most important news meant for all of mankind to hear. God has blessed you very much and may He mean enough to you so that you too may bless Him these days and forevermore in the future.

 

*From “Man of Sorrows” What a Name by Philip P. Bliss, 1875. Public Domain.