“In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.” (Gen. 1.1)
In learning about the good news, it is first important to learn that the Earth and the material world is a product of purpose, not of chance. After this statement, we learn about the order in which God created things that were to be on the Earth. In the third day, he created the plant world and after this the basic animal kinds. These were all created with a genetic information system, which made it possible for them to reproduce after their own kind perpetually. Fish have been fish from the very beginning, and monkeys have been monkeys from the very beginning. After this, God created human beings, separate from the animals.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1.27)
God’s attitude toward man was one of grace and kindness.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Gen 1:28)
From this we learn very clearly that humans are not the descendents of animal ancestors. Further, from this text, we learn that life for human beings is not meaningless. Indeed it is full of meaning and God given responsibility.
Success in man’s caretaking responsibilities would be largely based upon his obedience to the Creator’s commandments. After so long of time, however, we learn that an act of disobedience, by the first man has had a serious and negative effect upon all mankind. With regard to these things, the scripture says,
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5.12)
Sin is a word that means “to miss the mark”. The mark that has been missed is the absolute and consistent righteousness of God.
We are all the historic offspring of Adam who disobeyed the Lord God. Through physical birth we have inherited his nature -- a nature that has the capacity and willingness to do both good and evil. So, for us it is impossible to maintain consistent righteousness. Thus, the scripture says,
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3.10)
It is true that we are able to do good works in word, thought or deed. However, because of this defective or polluted nature we continually from time to time do bad works as well. Here again the scripture says,
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
No human being is free from this predicament, and it is an inescapable situation. No amount of good works or religious activity on our part can remedy the problem. This is because our good works come from the same nature that produces our bad works.
The word gospel means, “good news.” The good news is that the Lord God, the Creator of the earth and life on the earth has taken it upon himself to resolve this problem.
No religious works on our part can make an acceptable atonement for our sins. Only the work of God our Creator can achieve this,
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” (Titus 3.5,6)
Isaiah the prophet records both the human problem and the divine solution,
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53.6)
The ancient prophet told the people of God that one day the Lord God would provide an adequate sacrifice, which would bare the punishment for the sins of all.
Jesus Christ, God’s son, testified to this historical fact in this way,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3.16)
Here then, is the good news of what Jesus has done for us, as stated in the New Testament,
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures...” (I Cor. 15:3-4)
This is the essence of the gospel. Jesus Christ, God’s son, was crucified on the cross, and there paid the penalty for our sins.
“For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Cor. 5. 21)
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” (I Peter 2.24)
He died and was buried, and three days later was resurrected from the dead. In his death he paid the penalty for our sins and his resurrection showed that he was triumphant over death. This indicates that we who put our trust in Jesus Christ will receive not only the forgiveness of sins, but also everlasting life.
Again, when Martha was talking to Jesus about the death of her brother, they had this exchange
“Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die....” (John 11. 25,26)
This great work of God for us was accomplished about 2000 years ago. Then it was all recorded in the Scriptures. Historically it has been known as the gospel, or good news. It is now ours to receive, not by religious works, but through faith.
“By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2.8,9)
And, if one should now ask the question, “What must I do to be saved, to be able to have my sins forgiven,” here are the Scriptural answers,
“...believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved...” (Acts 16.31)
Referring to Jesus, the Scripture says,
“But as many as received him, to them he gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1.12)
Paul, the Apostle, writes,
“...if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10.9,10)
This day can be the day of your salvation and your step into everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10. 13)