We all LOVE good news. We love to get it, and we love to give it. There’s never a time when good news isn’t welcomed in a person’s life.
Did you know the Bible contains some Good News? In fact, the Bible tells us the very best news there is. And it’s not just good news for you, or for your family. And it’s not just for people who live in America. It’s for EVERYONE.
Here’s what John 3:16 says in your Bible:
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (NLT)
Chances are you’ve heard this verse before. It’s probably the most popular Bible verse. Why? Because it explains the Gospel. GOSPEL is a funny sounding word that we only use in church. It means Good News—and particularly the Good News about God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
You may be thinking, “Why is this news so good? I mean, I like the part about not perishing, and the part about having eternal life. But why does Jesus have to be involved in the process?”
Good question. To answer that you’ll have to look up a few verses in the Bible that will sound like bad news.
Read Romans 3:10-12 As the scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless.” (NLT)
- According to this passage, who is righteous?
- Who understands?
- Who seeks God?
- Who does good?
The answer to all those questions is NO ONE. Boo. That sounds awful, doesn’t it?
Now read Romans 3:23. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)
Who has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? The answer is EVERYONE.
Sin is basically choosing our own way over God’s way. We all do it sometimes. Me. You. Your mom. Your pastor. And, unfortunately, the news gets WORSE (but only for a minute).
Read Romans 6:23, but just up to the first comma. For the wages of sin is death, (NLT)
Wages are what we earn for something we have done. Wages are usually a good thing. When your parents go to work for the week, the money they earn is called their “wages.” When you babysit or mow the lawn, you receive an amount of money from the person you worked for as your “wages.” It’s what you deserve.
So…what do we deserve for sinning? Yep, the verse says it. Death.
This is hard to understand. Why would God require death as a penalty for sin? We’re only human. We can’t be perfect all the time. God should know that, right? After all, He made us!
Yes, He did. And yes, He knows. But God can’t change this one fact: He is Holy. That means He’s perfect. Set apart. Pure. Clean. Awesome.
Sin can’t exist in the presence of the Holy God. And God is life. That means that if we’re the opposite of Holy and the opposite of life, then we are sinful, and we are DEAD.
“But my heart is beating,” you say. Yes, your physical blob of a heart is beating. But your spiritual heart is dead. And if your blob of a heart stops beating while you’re still stuck in your sin, you can count on spending eternity separated from God. It’s what you deserve (see Romans 6:23 again.)
“But I don’t want to spend eternity separated from God!”
That’s good! You have two choices. You can be perfect. Never mind, no you can’t. Okay, you have one choice. And this is where we get back to the GOOD NEWS. (Whew!)
Go back up to Romans 6:23. The part after the comma says this:
…but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)
And Romans 5:8 says this:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)
God sent his only son to earth, and while his son was here, HE lived a perfect life. And then—while we were still sinners, Christ (Jesus) died for us—taking the penalty of death for us. You can read all about how that happened in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These are books of the Bible that tell us about Jesus’s life and death on earth. We call them the GOSPELS. Now where have you heard that word before? You can be sure those books contain Good News!
And the best news is this: Jesus didn’t stay dead. He conquered it. He actually rose from the dead! He went from death to life. That’s what we need, right? To go from death to life?
Check this out:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. Ephesians 2:1-2 (NLT)
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” Ephesians 2:4-5 (NLT)
These verses were written by Paul, a follower of Jesus, to a group of Christians in the town of Ephesus. Notice he said “once you were dead.” That means that before they were Christians, the Ephesians were spiritually dead!
So how did they BECOME Christians?
And a better question is…
How does anyone become a Christian and receive the life that God offers?
Maybe you’ve heard someone say that they “got saved.” Or that they “asked Jesus into their heart.” Or that they were “born again.” These are sometimes confusing terms that refer to the same thing: that moment when a person, dead in their sins, comes alive spiritually through what Jesus did for them on the cross. How did they DO this?
Consider these verses:
- If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NLT)
- Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.
Acts 3:19 (NLT)
These verses contain some interesting words that we need to explain.
CONFESS means to admit something is true. So if you confess that Jesus is Lord, then you are saying you want him to be the one in charge of your life. Wow. That takes some real consideration. Is that something you want to confess?
BELIEVE means to have confidence that something is true, and to be so certain that you will live out your beliefs. For example, if you believe a chair is strong enough to hold you, you will actually sit in the chair. So, if you believe that Jesus was really God’s son, and that he was raised from the dead, you will live a life that follows him. Do you really believe Jesus was God’s son, that he died for your sins, and then was raised from the dead?
REPENT means to turn from your life of sin, and to live for God and his ways. Is this something you want to do?
If you answered yes to all three of these questions, then you are ready to begin a relationship with God.
The next step in the process is to talk to God about all this stuff! We call it praying, but don’t worry—you don’t have to say fancy words in perfect sentences. God just wants to hear what’s on your heart! You might say something like this:
If you prayed that, and you really meant it, you have just gone from death to eternal life!
Now is that GOOD NEWS, or what?
But that’s not the end of it. There’s so much more to this adventure with Jesus! You can start by reading those Gospels we mentioned above. And my finding a really great church family who will help you grow. You can also email me if you have more questions. Friend, the main thing is—you’re now spiritually ALIVE!
And that’s GREAT NEWS.