By Jimmy R. Mickells
How often do you listen to the local or national news on T.V. and hear something good reported? Not nearly as often as you hear of things which are very troubling. When we read the news paper, it is filled with stories about killings, robberies, thefts, wars, etc. I know of some who have stopped reading the paper and listening to the news for that simple reason. I’m convinced that we all like to hear of “good news” stories from time to time. Such has a tendency to lift our spirits, knowing that there are still good people in the world doing good deeds for others.
As we open our Bibles and begin to read, there are “good news” stories from beginning to end. That does not mean that within its pages there are no stories about the wickedness of men. It does reveal about man’s evil deeds, yet it also reveals that there is hope for him through a Savior. A Lord who was prophesied about in the Old Testament, came into the world to give His life as a ransom in the gospels, and who will return to take home His people from Acts to Revelation. What a “good news” story!
The word gospel is used approximately 133 times in our New Testament. It is translated most all the time from two Greek words (a noun and a verb), which are similarly defined. Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, gives us this definition of one of these words: “to bring good news, to announce glad tidings” (p. 256). It is not “good news” to everyone, because there are some who reject its message of salvation through Christ Jesus. But to those of us who believe, it is the power of God that will deliver us from our sins, saving our souls from eternal damnation (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Most all “good news” stories affect only a few people at the most. The gospel that was brought to light by our Lord and Savior is “good news” for the entire world. He told His apostles to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). It didn’t matter about the color of one’s skin, the country in which they lived, whether they were rich or poor, nor if they were educated or uneducated, etc. This message was for all men and women who would listen and be obedient to its precepts. I’ve been an eyewitness to the joy on the face of an individual who has been told that the gospel is for them. No, they have not been to evil, done too many things wrong, nor come from the wrong class of people. God’s love and mercy, through His Son, extends beyond any barriers of the human mind. God’s grace can even save me!
This “good news” involves the only thing I have that is of any value, my soul. Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Because of sin, I have been separated from my God (Isaiah 59:1,2). I need the forgiveness of those sins that is offered by God through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). Christ gave Himself, not for a select few, but for the entire world (1 Timothy 2:3-6). I may not have the material wealth that some people have, their power , nor the honor bestowed upon them by other men, but I can save my soul by humbly submitting to my Maker (Hebrews 5:8,9). We must remember the lesson taught us by Job, “And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). What great news, the one thing that I have of value, God said I could save with His help!
The “good news” contained in the gospel is that I have a Savior who died (in my place) to redeem me. He was crucified, not for sins He committed, but because of the iniquities of others. He was sinless. The apostle Peter said, “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24). We are so unworthy of such love and sacrifice. Yet, God loved us so much that He gave the greatest gift that has or every will be given, His Son, to save you and me (John 3:16). What a truly, truly, “good news” story!
When you read this “good news” story, how does it touch your heart? Does it make you want to be obedient to His commands? It should. Will you believe in the One who died for you (John 8:24); will you turn from your sins in repentance (Luke 13:3,5); will you confess His name before men (Romans 10:9,10); will you be baptized in water for the remission of those sins (Acts 2:38)? Unless I’m willing to do these things, this story will not be “good news” to me. Have you obeyed and turned your back on your Savior? Repent and ask the Lord to once again have mercy on your sinful soul (Acts 8:22). The “good news” is that we all can be saved!