The Good News should be… Good!

by Lester Young

Have you ever considered what God might think about how we typically portray Him to the world? I don’t know about you, but I’m not really convinced He’s all that tickled with the image we – as members of His Church – usually paint of Him. Let’s face it: the fact of the matter is that most of the world’s people know what (little) they know about the Lord Jesus Christ through us – His Body here on the earth. And it’s a real possibility that all they’ll ever find out about Him will be encapsulated in their experience with us – which could be tragic, because all too often the impression we give off leaves them, at best, totally indifferent to Him; or at worst running for the hills in abject terror. In other words, not very much in the way of… shall we say… “attracting”.

That’s a real shame (to put it mildly), because the truth is that God is an extremely kind and gracious Father. He’s the Source and essence of Love (1 John 4:8, 16). But if people don’t learn this about Him – and even more importantly begin to sense it through their interactions with us His children and ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 John 4:7, 16-17) – the overwhelming likelihood is that they’ll never, ever turn to Him. Human beings respond to love – we just do. We were made that way. Our heavenly Father – the One Who created us in His own image and likeness – is Love; so Love, by necessity, on some level, must be a central part of us. That’s why we respond when we sense love. And that’s why our Great Commission is to go forth and preach the Good News to all creation (Mark 16:15). The GOOD News. Why is it good news? Because it’s full to overflowing with Love, and Love is good (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Now I’m not saying people don’t need to know what road they may be on and where it ultimately leads. I am, however, saying that if we’re endeavoring to get people to reconcile with God by telling them the Good News about Jesus, we should probably include at least a fair amount of “good” in the program. Preaching hellfire and brimstone for an hour and then ending with a small “God loves you” is usually only going to cause folks to scatter; and without offering at least some type of hope for people’s “right now” problems, they likely aren’t going to see much point in even bothering with God.

God knows that. He understands people. So does Jesus. That’s why He healed the crowds whenever the opportunity presented itself. It’s why He fed the masses when they had nothing to eat. And it’s why He preached the Good News to the poor (Luke 4:18). Now think about it: there’s only one thing ‘the poor’ – as so designated in Scripture – would consider to be good news, and it’s that “you don’t have to be poor anymore!”

People have problems and circumstances they need solutions for right now. They need to know that the Good News of Jesus Christ doesn’t just cover our eternal salvation. It also provides provision for our entire well-being right here and now. I’ve heard well-meaning Christians say that our salvation deals only with the spiritual aspects of existence and has virtually nothing to do with us as we are in this world right now. In other words, what they’re saying is that you can’t (and shouldn’t) depend on God to actually do anything for you until you get Heaven – that physical blessings were only promised in the Old Covenant. But if that’s the case, why did Jesus – our perfect Example – heal and feed and give (lots of) money to the poor? (John 13:15, 29) And if it’s the case why would Scripture tell us the Blessing of Abraham comes on us as part of our salvation in Christ Jesus? (Galatians 3:14) We must remember that God never changes: if He did something back in the day, He’ll do it now, too (Malachi 3:6).

The Blessing is not just for eternity; it begins right now, as soon as we are saved. There’s already been a Death; the Will’s already been ratified by Blood and is in full effect right now (Hebrews 9:16-17). God’s help is in full effect and available right now – because right now is when we really need it (Psalm 46:1).

Certainly, God is a just God and Judgment is coming – and people do need to know that. But what God really is is Love. And people need to know that even more (John 3:16-17, 17:23). Because people respond to Love. So let your Good News be heavy on the “Good”.

 

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