One of my least favorite things about scrolling through my social media feeds these days is the overwhelming onslaught of negativity and bad news. It is such a desert of hope. The main effects that I am left with when scrolling through these feeds or timelines or stories is greater anxiety, depression, and frustration with all that is wrong with this world.
Sometimes – ok, let’s be real – most of the time, I am just looking for good news. I don’t want to be slammed with all the bad stuff, I want to be lifted up with the good stuff. Tell me who won. Celebrate people who made good decisions. Let me experience some great excitement. Show me that all is not lost. Give me hope.
I just want some good news.
Those of us who call ourselves Christians, claim that the Gospel, the story about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, is good news. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we think that the Gospel is good news? Certainly the Gospel is good news for me. But why?
Entrance into the kingdom is what Jesus made possible with his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead for all who believe in him. So yes, the Gospel is certainly good news. But why?
I think, the question that begs asking is, “What is the final ‘good’ in the ‘good news’? Why is the good news ultimately considered good?”
Is it justification by faith? Is it forgiveness of sins? Is it the removal of the wrath of God? Is it redemption from guilt and liberation from slavery to sin? Is it salvation from hell? Is it entrance into heaven? Is it eternal life? Is it deliverance from all pain and sickness and conflict? All of these are amazing privileges that have been bought by the blood of Jesus for everyone who believes in him. But they are not the final ‘good’ of the Gospel. In fact, I would say that unless they lead to something else, these things aren’t really good news at all.
It is possible to believe in all these things, and to want them and expect them, and still never have tasted what makes all the good things in the good news good. So what is that? What is the final ‘good’ that makes every part of the Gospel good news?
The answer is given in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 6. And the parallels between these two verses show the depth and the wonder of what each of them means:
“In their case [the case of those who are perishing] the god of this world [that’s Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Here is one of the most important statements about the Gospel in the Bible. We know from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that the foundational events of the Gospel are these: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” Yes. That is gloriously true. Without this there is no gospel at all. But what must we see in those events if they are to be gospel for us? 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 6 tell us: We must see “the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” That is, we must see “the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Why? Because that is what the Gospel is: good news. And we do not see the decisive ‘good’ in the good news if we do not see the glory of God in Jesus in these events, who is the image of God. Notice the use of the word Gospel in verse 4: It is the “gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” This is the Gospel: Jesus seen and celebrated in the work of redemption is the good news.
This is the final ‘good’ that makes all the other good things promised in the Gospel good. Justification is good news because it makes us stand accepted by the One whom we can finally know and enjoy above all things. Forgiveness is good news because it cancels all the sins that keep me from seeing and enjoying Jesus, who is the image of God. Removal of God’s righteous wrath and salvation from hell are good news because now in my escape from eternal misery I find eternal pleasure knowing God through the mediation of Jesus, who is the image of God. Eternal life is good news because “this is eternal life,” Jesus said, “that they know me and him who sent me.” And freedom from pain and sickness and conflict are good news because, in my freedom from pain, I am no longer distracted from the fullest enjoyment of Jesus, who is the image of God.
Jesus is the ‘good’ in the good news.
How does your view of God grow when you consider that Jesus is the ‘good’ in the good news?