Gospel, the word is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, “Godspel”, or “Good News” and is substituted for the original Greek word “Euaggelion” which originally signified ‘a present given to one who brought good news”. And that is exactly what God is offering us with the Gospel, “good news’ about what he did for us through Jesus Christ!
However, do we really hear the right “Good News” being preached in Church ? or more often than not we just hear “Good Advice” ? No wonder the church has failed to connect with so many people out there! The hurting masses of the world are seeking a cure for their ills and solutions for their problems. And too often, the church has promised them everything but given them next to nothing in the name of the “Gospel”. Just more expectations to fulfill, more rules to keep, more activities to maintain, more work to do. The result has been a trail of discouragement and disillusionment. It’s caused a lot of people to reject the church entirely.
The world is full of bad news, from the moment we wake up in the morning, we hear news on TV reporting about “a man being murdered” while the news of “millions of other man living happily” are not reported. We switch another news channel, also reporting “an airplane crashed” while there are hundreds of thousands of airplanes landed safely daily were not reported. Why? Because it seems “Bad News” sells, and thus, the tendency of people to sell bad news is apparent. When the tragedy of Twin Tower World Trade Center New York, USA being attacked by the Terrorist-group under Osama bin Laden, we heard many churches leaders used the tragedy to instill fear in the heart of people by announcing the event as “God is judging America” because of the sins of Americans. People in fear flooding churches in search of safe haven from the “curse of God”, but not for long, a year later, everything came back normal, people again were leaving churches, life as normal. Fear could not sustain faith nor could it hold people in church for long, for if God is to be slavishly feared, then one would rather hide from Him as much as possible.
Furthermore, It is a blasphemy towards God for saying “God is judging America”, God did not and will not judge America nor any other countries / persons!, How could it be! When Jesus Christ had been judged on the cross, and God could not judge the same sins twice. That will make God as unholy, injustice and “double-jeopardy” in the law terms. Churches who proclaim “God is judging America” was indirectly agreeing to partner with Osama bin Laden, because Osama would certainly say “Amen to that, God used me to judge America”. It is somehow absurd what churches were doing sometimes.
More often than not, what is proclaimed as Gospel is just another challenge to “do better”, “Try harder !, Pray Longer !, Be more committed !, Love God deeper !, Stop sinning !,”. This kind of “news” is already widely available in the world, in our work-place, Monday to Friday a man going to work, and his boss telling him “You should try harder, do better, work longer, be more committed !” Some accusation also happens in the office like “it is your fault !”, while precisely in the church is also accusing likewise: “it is your sins !”.
So where is the true good news? Why would you go to church then? Do you want to hear the same bad news you have been hearing in the world daily? or Do you want to find Christ’s Love, Peace and Joy in the church?
God does have a good news for the world, and for the believers, it is just the opposite of “do better” news of the world: The good news God sends us is He came as a man of Jesus Christ, His own Son, to do what human cannot do for themselves, i.e. overcoming sins, by bearing upon Himself, giving His life on the cross, for all the judgment, punishment and penalty of sins, that were due to all mankind now fell on Jesus Christ instead, once and for all. And because Christ bore all our sins on the cross, now the Favor of God, Peace, the Goodness and mercy come all over mankind when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus took our place so that we may take His place. He died for all our sins and He was raised for our justification (= because we had been justified before God and therefore Jesus was raised again). This is the good news! This truth is the truth that will set us free with Love, peace & Joy. It is the gift of “Eternal life” with the eternal quality of God in it, and it has the ability to transcend human limitations and explore the vastness of the spiritual world. And, it comes through a personal relationship with God Himself.
Think if a joyous father who brings home a new car for his sixteen year old daughter. She jumps up and down in excitement, but inside her still feels a sense of uncertainty, for she has never seen a car like this. It has so many buttons, switches, and levers. How will she ever make it work? But her father lovingly and willingly demonstrates the car for her. He drives it around the block, putting it through its paces as she watches. She can’t believe all the things the car can do! But, the father does not just stop there; he then gives her the keys and the title to the car. It’s her car now. And the father still doesn’t leave her just there; but he gets in besides her and patiently shows her to carry out every aspect of its operation. He stays with her, continuing to reveal new and exciting capabilities she never imagined possible. That is the Gospel and the way it should be preached, like the role of a good Father nurturing his daughter with Love, Freedom, and excitement contained in the authentic Gospel, The Gospel of Grace.
God wants us to rejoice over the good news of what Jesus did for us on the cross. God wants us to recognize that our sin deserves death, but Jesus already paid the price and even defeated death so that we too can live forever with God. Paul received this Gospel directly from Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
God wants us to know that it is absolutely pointless to think that we could ever contribute to our salvation in even the smallest way with our own efforts or our own good works. The Gospel is good news, although it may sound foolish to some, for it sounds too good to be true, but Paul claimed he is not ashamed of preaching it; because it tells us that God will do what it takes to apply HIS Righteousness to US if we will only place our faith in Jesus. It is faith alone, “from first to last” that saves us:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Finally, God wants us to recognize that it is in human nature to slowly drift from the good news of GRACE and slip back into thinking that our own good works are actually saving us, for man’s flesh requires “self-recognition”, as what happened to the Galatian church (Gal 1:6-9). But He wants us to know that a ‘works based’ Salvation is NOT good news, because we actually offend God (and will be under a double curse) when we try to act like our righteousness is ANYTHING compared to his. It is hopeless to depend on our own GOODNESS when trying to reach a PERFECT God. We are simply never going to be ‘good’ enough!
God’s Grace is “good news” because it solves a foundation problem that all of us have as human beings. We are fallen. We are rebellious. We are far less than perfect. Beings like us simply CAN’T enter into a perfect realm without God’s complete and total work in our lives. It is our faith alone that saves us, and that is good news, because ANY belief system (all religions in the world) which argues that you can contribute to your own salvation is offensive to God, who is the only source of that salvation. And God doesn’t want to merely CONTRIBUTE here. He wants to do it all, because he knows how incapable we truly are in this area. His gift of grace is truly “good news”. That’s why it’s called the “Gospel”.