Thursday, May 12, 2016

Good News, Not Sanitized News

Some people say that the Gospel is a message which only about peace, goodwill, grace, and happiness.  They argue that when you are witnessing to someone, you shouldn’t mention hell or talk about how bad sin is.  They point out that hell and the consequences of sin are bad news, but the word gospel means “good news”.  Actually a better translation of the word “euangelion” is a message well done.  That is, it isn’t the news itself that is good, but it is the one telling it who does a good job at delivering the message.

Suppose the witness to a horrific crime were to accurately describe what he saw to the authorities and that his testimony were to lead to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.  The witness’ testimony is good, but not pleasant.  What makes the testimony good is that it is the truth and that it led to the conviction of the criminal.  It is not that the testimony provoked a warm fuzzy feeling or anything like that.

Similarly, the Gospel is good news because it is the truth and because it leads to the conviction of a sinner.  To be sure, the Gospel is an optimistic message.  The promise of heaven and freedom from sin is the most positive message that there has ever been.  But this is lost if you don’t first learn the law of sin and death.  The apostle Paul writes,

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Romans 7:7-13 (NKJV)

Isaiah wrote:

10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.

Isaiah 30:10-13 (KJV)

Paul wrote to Timothy :

1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 (KJV)

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