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I Have Good News and Bad News

by Alan Allegra  
5/29/2015 / Salvation


Doctor: I have good news and I have bad news.

Patient: What's the good news?

Doctor: The good news is that the tests showed you have 24 hours to live.

Patient: That's the good news? What's the bad news?

Doctor: The bad news is I forgot to call you yesterday!

"Gospel" means "good news." It is bandied about like a cricket ball, so let's set the record straight about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel is simple enough for a child to understand (Matthew 19:14) yet complex enough to fill thousands of books (John 21:25).

The gospel is eternal, from eternity past: "[Christ] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you" (1 Peter 1:20).

The gospel is powerful: "[I]t is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).

The gospel is mandatory: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). "[God] commands all people everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30).

The gospel is not popular: Jesus warned, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18).

The gospel is exclusive: "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

The gospel is controversial: "While some said, 'He is a good man,' others said, 'No, he is leading the people astray' . . . So there was a division among the people over him" (John 7:12, 43).

The gospel is universal: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). "God . . . commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).

The gospel is life-changing: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The gospel is urgent: "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14).

The gospel is unchanging: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8).

The gospel has rewards: "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates" (Revelation 22:12).

The gospel is absolutely free: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). It requires no custom, no compulsion, no cash, no performance, no partnership, no particular posture -- just an open heart.

The opening joke highlights one important truth: We don't know when our time will come. We are all recipients of the bad news of the death penalty for our sin. The good news is that we can freely receive an eternal, complete, irrevocable pardon from the Judge, no fine or bail needed!

Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!

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