The Good News!
Before the beginning of time, God existed. He is the creator of time, space, and matter as we know it. Science has confirmed that our universe indeed had an origin, or a beginning that was created by something, or someone. This uncaused first cause is God. Genesis explains the origin of the universe and why God decided to create it and everything in it. Despite errors of misinterpretation or extrapolation throughout church history and scientific history alike, the truth is still discoverable through continued investigation. To this day, science continues to affirm the biblical account of the origin of the universe.
Now, let’s dive into where you and I come into the picture…
Free Will & The Fall
God created many things with life, but man and woman He made in His image. He gave man the gift of free will so that mankind could choose to be in relationship with Him. Like any relationship, both parties are given the agency to choose the other. Free will allows for this real love, which is a choice–instead of a pre-programmed obligation. The very concept of free will is good as it reflects God’s loving and patient character.
God, being omnipotent and omniscient, knew that man would sin (or deviate from His perfect order) by choosing to doubt God’s goodness. Adam and Eve were the first created of mankind and they made the mistake of deciding to disobey God. This allowed sin to enter the world since it was a deviation from God’s perfect order. What was thought to be freedom from God’s “rule” actually turned out to be slavery to sin and perversion from perfection. In effect, Adam and Eve traded a true freedom under God’s order for a deceitful “freedom” that only led to separation from God and enslavement to sin.
Sin has plagued mankind for generations and continues to create a divide between God and man, since God is holy (set-apart and perfect). Sin is the cause of every evil we face within ourselves and throughout society today. For evil is not a thing in and of its own. It is simply the privation of goodness – an effect of a separation from God (just like “cold” is the absence of heat).
No matter how good of a person we try to be, each of us has sinned and we cannot make up for it by trying to cancel out bad works with good ones. God can see our hearts. If we do good deeds from selfish motives, again, we’ve sinned. So it’s not as simple as following rules and living a moral life. We cannot be both the problem and the solution. We need a savior.
The Plan & Fulfillment of His Promise
Fortunately, God had a plan. He made himself the sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins because we couldn’t possibly make up for our transgressions. Jesus Christ — God who took on human flesh and lived a perfect human life — willingly endured tremendous suffering, laying down his life as an innocent and perfect sacrifice on the cross. With His blood, He paid for our transgressions and reconciled us to right relationship with a holy God. He defeated death and rose back to life, proving His identity as the giver of life and promising a restoration of perfect, eternal life.
Life & Life Eternal
All people have eternal life. We were created as eternal beings, so even though our bodies may pass away, our souls remain alive. Death is not an escape or an end. It is just the beginning!
What follows this understanding is that everything in life matters. Who we live for and put our faith in matters. God is faithful to forgive when we repent and ask for forgiveness. The only sin that is unforgivable is denying Jesus Christ.
This isn’t an arbitrary rule that God created to exclude people from heaven. It is a conclusion that follows from a logically consistent understanding of the truth: If Jesus is our intercessor and paid the price for our sins, we only need to believe in Him and accept His gift to be saved. If we do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our souls, we’ve rejected the very thing that God has offered to save us. We’ve rejected forgiveness itself. What we do with this information has eternal ramifications.
God does not sit idly by watching the horrors of evil and suffering without compassion. He is storing up His wrath against the evil we see in our world and patiently waits for the appointed time when He will return to make all things new: To right every wrong, and to wipe away every tear. Our God has already conquered evil and death and will welcome us into the glory of heaven if we are in Jesus Christ. In the meantime, He allows suffering so that our character would be refined and our faith in Him would increase. There’s nothing good about suffering itself. There is only the opportunity to welcome God into the picture so that He can create beauty from ashes and redeem what is broken. He knows every kind of suffering and pain that we can possibly experience as He physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually experienced it all.
God’s Goodness & The Offer of Salvation
The God of the Bible is the ONLY “god” known to humankind who reached down to humanity to save His people. There’s no climbing to perfection nor trying to earn brownie points into heaven by good works. (Scripture tells us that our good works are filthy rags to a God that is the very embodiment of goodness and perfection). He doesn’t need us, yet He chose to save us because of His love for us. And not because there’s something inherently good in us, but because God is good and God is love. It is in His character to do something so loving for a people so undeserving.
The offer of salvation through Jesus Christ is still on the table for anyone who is alive today. God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance and receive His gift of life (2 Peter 3:9). May we all accept this gift with gratitude. We can start living in His good promises right now, by abiding in the presence of Love Himself. Let us approach His throne of grace with eagerness to know our Creator and be known and perfected by Him.
This message is for all people of all nations. Believing in Jesus allows us to live into our God-given purpose here on earth as we prepare for the time to come.
To the fellow Christian: Let us remember that God desires to save all people, including those we may consider “enemies”. Truly, the only real enemies we face are our own flesh (the heart is deceitful above all things), the temptations of the world, and the Devil himself. What a joy it is to partake in the work of sharing what Jesus has done in our lives! He has rescued us from slavery to sin so that we could be free to choose love.
He is the greatest news of all.