Faith Forum: Not Good News, Great News!

Sometimes it’s all one can do to not turn off the news after a few minutes (although I think some people do at times!). A person may keep watching it and listening, hoping to hear something not depressing, violent or discouraging. A teenager murders twenty of his schoolmates in the US, four members of a community are murdered in Pentincton, the economy is not doing well in Alberta, a person sets a dozen cars on fire with gasoline, Korea is once again flexing its geographic muscle, terrorism and wars abound, family relationships are strained and broken, severe weather has dominated the winter season across North America, and the list goes on. By all appearances, it doesn’t look as if things or people are about to change for the better. 

Amidst the turmoil that seems to saturate world news is a bright beam of sunshine and hope. There is good news, no, great news; and it is meant for every single human being on the planet. 

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1 NLT)

This Good News was promised ages ago:

God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:2-4 NLT)

In Nazareth, his boyhood home, Jesus himself declared that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy from the book of Isaiah, written centuries before Jesus was born:

The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see,

that the oppressed will be set free,

and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.’

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.  Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (Luke 4:17-21 NLT)

Once we have heard this Good News, then our response is to believe it:

But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 8:12 NLT)

The result of belief in the Good News is incredible:

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.” (Ephesians 1:13 NLT)

And in believing, the Good News changes lives:

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.” (Colossians 1:6 NLT)

The Good News broke the power of death:

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News…” (2 Timothy 1:9-11a NLT)

When you choose to believe the Good News, live like Jesus would with his help and anticipate your eventual homecoming with Him:

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” (1 Peter 1:13 NLT)

Along with choosing to believe the Good News, you must stay in the truth, continue to believe and live this good message:

But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News” (Colossians 1:23 NLT)

The scriptures say that this Good News is so wonderful that even the Angels eagerly watch:

They (the prophets of old) were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.” (1 Peter 1:12 NLT, brackets mine)

God says there is a result of not believing:

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 NLT)

By not believing, a person makes a choice. God sent his only son Jesus to come to earth as a human being, lived as a man for his thirty-three years here, suffered mockery, cruel beatings and an anguishing lingering death on a cross with nails in his hands and feet and a crown of thorns on his head – just for you. Then, the Great News was and is that after three days he rose again from the dead, conquering death and providing eternal life with him in heaven – just for you. He also promises to be with you each and every day, in every situation as you learn to live in him and for him – just for you. He doesn’t wish for anyone to be separated from him and his love – but he will deal with sin (wrongdoings) and the choice of unbelief.

The picture accompanying this article is from an outdoor metal sculpture collection just outside Groom, Texas. It portrays an open grave where Jesus Christ was laid to rest after he died on the cross. As it has been said, he didn’t stay there – he rose again from the dead. No other leader in any religion or philosophy can claim that their leader is not dead but living. This fact alone would deserve one’s attention.

This Easter season the Good News can mean a new life for you, too. It is a lifelong commitment, surrendering my life daily to God because I choose now to live for him and not for myself. There lays the freedom and purpose of the resurrection in this great news – freedom from the wrong things I’ve done and ever will do, freedom to become the person I was meant to be in God, freedom to make right choices, and freedom from this old life to go and be with Him forever when my existence is done. What a God of love we have!

Feel free to write me at gloriawes@hotmail.com, and I will be glad to get back to you.

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