Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
The word gospel means good news. Jesus’ gospel is good news because it solves the problem of very bad news. What is the bad news? We human beings no longer have a vital, personal relationship with God. This sad reality affects all of our relationships. We routinely harm each other, and we live in disobedience to our Creator.
The bible says it this way: humankind is created in God’s image. God is very relational, and he designed us to have a relationship with him. This involves knowing him and sharing the responsibility of ruling the earth with him in a way that brings him glory.
God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground,” (Gen. 1:26-31).
Our Creator shows us where our problems come from. They come from refusing a relationship with God and his design for our lives. Our disobedience causes separation from, and shame before God. Humans ignored God and listened to the devil instead of God (Gen. 3:1-24). This resulted in separation from God (Is. 59:2). Mercifully, God prevented us from eating of the tree of life, which would have caused us to live forever as slaves to Satan and our sin. Death is God’s merciful gift until the resurrection from the dead, when all who believe in Jesus will be given new bodies.
All people everywhere have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and now live under the devil’s control (1 Jn. 5:19). There is no spiritually neutral ground. People are either in the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Darkness ruled by the devil (Col. 1:13). This is why there is so much discord between humans. This is why we are
not getting along with each other, and why many are not in a meaningful relationship with God.
Is there a solution? This is not something that people have been able to find on their own. God provided the solution for us. God sent his son, Jesus, to destroy the devil’s work and liberate enslaved mankind. 1 Jn. 3:8 says, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Because of his great mercy, God has chosen not only to destroy the devil’s control over humanity, but also to punish
his own Son with death in the place of his rebellious subjects (Is. 53:5-6; Heb. 9:26-28; Eph. 2:1-5). God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14). This amazing act of God’s love allowed him to maintain his justice while rescuing the creatures he loves. He could not ignore all the wrong that we have done. Nor could he leave us enslaved to sin and Satan.
Rom. 3:25 explains it this way, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” Eph. 2:1-10 continues the explanation, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might
show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
How is this description of the Gospel (or good news) differ from the perspective you've held in the past?
What aspects of the Gospel as described above do you have a hard time accepting?
What is the importance of humankind being made "in God's image" have in the concept of the gospel?
Think about the concept of atonement discussed above. What analogies have you heard used to explain atonement? What other analogies can you think of?
Used by permission from Michael Mowry; Chi Alpha Director Central Washington University