Now For the Good News

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extra-extra-381x250_zps3fcdf708When I was a young 9 year-old boy, I had an afternoon after school job selling newspapers on a street corner in our little town. I’ll never forget the day the headlines of the paper read, “Japan Surrenders. The War is Over.” The date was August 14, 1945. Now that was really good news to our nation after almost four years at war. I sold every paper I had that day and even got a lot of tips!

Have you ever heard the expression, “Good News” when it comes to the Bible? Well, I’m sure you have because it’s a translation of the word for “gospel” and good news is all over the New Testament in many places. It speaks of salvation and everlasting life with our heavenly Father for all eternity. The apostle Paul, for example, wrote to the Roman church these words about the good news:

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). In the most well known Bible verse of all, Jesus said this, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Death is a reality of life that most of us tend to avoid thinking about—let alone discuss. However, the very day you read this, over 150,000 people will die somewhere on our planet and half of them will do so without warning. Death comes as a part of life and no one escapes—it has a 100% success rate. It has been said that death is the great equalizer—because it comes to everyone no matter what their station in life is, whether they be rich, poor or in between; fat, skinny or a perfect build; short, tall or average height; brilliant, or illiterate. It seems so unfair, yet there is nothing we can do about it.

Billy Graham, who is now 95 years old, said this about preparing for our death in the preface of a book written by his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, Heaven My Father’s House, “Our age is one of terribly painful remembrances of the brevity and uncertainty of life. When all around us seems vulnerable to destruction and the constant threat of danger, we search for foundations that will hold. We seek answers to the questions that plague us: What happens to our loved ones who have been taken from us? Why are we here? Where are we going?

I am now an old man. More and more, I cling to the hope of the gospel message that I have preached all over the world (for over 55 years). I have preached in times of relative peace and in times of great world crisis, to people in materialistic plenty and to people in great poverty, in countries of political stability and in regions torn by civil war and social strife—many different faces, circumstances, and histories, but all with the same foundational need to know God. Across the changes of a lifetime, I continue to return to the one sure foundation that has undergirded me since I first began: trust in a loving God who never changes. Who invites us to draw close to Him in Jesus Christ.”

What is the gospel message or good news that Billy Graham spoke about?  What’s “good” about the good news? What’s good is that you and I do not have to fear when physical death comes if we have repented of our sins and asked Jesus Christ to come into our lives. Deserving a death that is eternal, we have been offered a reprieve because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross (Romans 5:6-8). What’s good is that God invites us to spend eternity with Him in His kingdom—free from pain and suffering when this physical life is over.  What’s good is that God removes our guilt because of the wrongs we have committed against Him in this life—and anyone else. He frees us from all condemnation (Romans 8:1-2).

What’s good is that God promises to change our hearts, forgive our sins, restore our relationships, love us unconditionally and hold us closely as we pass through the door to heaven. The good news is that this gospel truth is the same today as it was when first preached by Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. It has never changed. I encourage you today, if you have not already done so, to make your choice while you are able—while you still have life. It will be the best decision you have ever made—securing eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. — 1 Timothy 2:3-5

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. — 2 Peter 3:9 

 

 

 

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