Why is the gospel such good news?
Three simple hope-filled reasons:
- It’s good news because it’s God’s story.
- It’s good news because it’s our story.
- It’s good news because it’s the world’s story.
The gospel is God’s story
The gospel is God’s initiative, God’s declaration.
In the beginning, it was God’s proclamations that established the earth under the heavens, and it was good.
At Sinai, God’s words established a nation to show the nations his reign. When that nation fell, God’s voice proclaimed the restoration of his reign:
Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Did you get that? The gospel is the proclamation of God’s reign.
That’s the gospel Jesus proclaimed: the good news of the kingdom (Matthew 4:2; 9:35; 24:14).
When the world’s rulers crucified God’s anointed, God’s proclamation raised him from tomb to throne. The resurrection of his Christ was God’s gospel proclamation, the re-establishment of God’s reign:
Romans 1:1-4 (Tom Wright, Kingdom New Testament)
1 Paul, a slave of King Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for God’s good news, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the sacred writings — 3 the good news about his son, who was descended from David’s seed in terms of flesh, 4 and who was marked out powerfully as God’s son in terms of the spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead: Jesus, the king, our Lord!
God’s good news calls earth-dwellers to recognize his Son as our Lord. That is God’s gospel call: calling all the nations … who are called to belong to King Jesus … called to be God’s holy people (Romans 1:5-7).
That gospel is God’s story.
The gospel is our story
God’s gospel calls us into his story. His good news establishes us as the kingdom of God in Christ. God’s gospel is the foundation for our communal life as the kingdom raised up in the king.
Life on earth is defined by the good news of peace through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). We’re no longer at war because he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).
God’s good-news declaration of Christ’s enthronement changes everything for us and in us:
Colossians 1 (NIV)
6 The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world — just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. … 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption …
Those who recognize the Christ as our global leader are defined by God’s gospel:
We are the community of the gospelized: the company of the gospel, the public face of the gospel, the hermeneutic of the gospel. The worship, mission, ethics, symbols, testimony, and spirituality of the church are shaped by what it thinks of and what it does with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the mark and mission of the authentic church of Christ.
— Michael F. Bird, Evangelical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 707.
1 Thessalonians 2 (NIV)
2 … with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel … 8 we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. … 9 We worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.
God’s gospel is our story.
The gospel is the world’s story
The gospel is the hope of the world, the good news of heaven’s reign restored to the earth.
King Jesus gave us one sign of how God’s goal would be reached in his earthly realm: This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will be here (Matthew 24:14).
The hope of the world is that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
While the fullness is yet to come, the gospel is the hope already established in heavenly places for you, the truth of the good news that is already present in you (Colossians 1:5-6).
This hope calls us to be faithful to God’s proclamation of Jesus as our Lord, until his proclamation is fulfilled throughout his world, to continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel (Colossians 1:23)
The gospel fills us with hope. The world’s story does not end in nuclear destruction as our rulers attack their enemies with such ferocity that it ends in apocalyptic devastation, leaving us to search the universe for another inhabitable planet so we can destroy that one too. The gospel fills us with hope that peace will come through the leader God has appointed.
Walking in the footsteps of the crucified leader who reigns by God’s decree, our feet are fitted with the readiness that arises from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). And, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news (Romans 10:15).
What a world-changing message this is, announcing the good news of peace that arrives through Jesus the anointed ruler who is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). This is such good news because the world has not been under God’s reign.
So even if you feel the way God’s people did before Christ — like exiles under foreign rule — the gospel calls us to remain devoted to the true king, to revere the Christ in our hearts, always ready to give an answer to anyone who asks us the reason for the hope we have, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
God’s gospel forms us as hope-carriers for his world.
How often do you speak of God’s gospel? Is it a phrase you rarely hear?
The gospel is good news because it flows from God’s character, God’s mouth. It’s good news because he is the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth who is setting all things right in Christ.
“God reigns” is good news! Good news that’s already present in those who are in Christ.