Why is the Gospel 'Good News'?
What many people have accepted without question as the gospel offers no solution to humanity's sufferings, frustrations, and perpetual troubles. The true gospel Jesus brought proclaims the solution to the world's troubles, but men rejected that gospel and crucified Jesus for preaching it!
Millions of people today believe on Christ - they believe that He lived, died for our sins, and was resurrected - but they do not believe His gospel because most have never heard it! They have heard of Christ - of what He did - but not His message of how to solve all of mankind's troubles and how to receive eternal life with joy, abundance, and accomplishment. Thus, millions have been deceived into believing a false gospel that does not lead to salvation.
The evangelist Mark begins his recounting of Jesus' ministry with these words:
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)
Gospel in English derives from godspel, meaning "good news." Similarly, in the Greek in which Mark wrote, evangelion means "good tidings."
Why is the announcement of God's Kingdom being established on earth "good news"? As strange as it may seem, for many people this is not good news at all! People like the gospel when it is limited to the forgiveness that is available through Christ's sacrifice. However, when they hear that God's Kingdom includes obedience to His standard of conduct, they cannot tolerate it, preferring the pagan fantasy of easy grace and its self-indulgent reward of floating around heaven in eternal idleness to the truth of the Bible. For many, the true gospel is anathema because it contradicts them, their traditions, and their ideas.
Yet, to those who "have an ear to hear," the gospel is good news. Christ's gospel is the proclamation of the coming government of God to govern all nations. The establishment of God's rule is the only way today's confused, embattled earth will ever have peace, joy, and abundance. The true gospel is the powerful message of God's government, now over individuals in God's church who voluntarily submit to that government, then later over all nations at His return.
Mankind's history is a sordid record of destruction, corruption, oppression, immorality, and abuse. "The way of peace they have not known," Paul tells us, quoting the prophet Isaiah (Romans 3:17; Isaiah 59:8). God says through Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). We simply do not have it within us to build a society that is benevolent to all its members and will last for more than a few generations. Even though there have been times of relative peace and prosperity, they are inevitably interrupted by war and destruction. Rather than "evolving" to a better place, the Bible shows mankind's plight getting continually worse:
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22; emphasis ours)
In the years following World War II, mankind has developed the capacity to wipe all life off the planet. God will allow events and conditions to progress to the point that we will be forced to admit that we are not capable of living peacefully and in abundance. If God did not intervene in world affairs, this world would cease to exist! But God will intervene - although not before we recognize the bloody futility of man attempting to govern himself. God's solution is to establish a world-ruling government led, not by selfish, corruptible men, but by His own Son and the glorified saints.
The prophet Daniel. given a vision of the end of man's rule on the earth and the beginning of God's Kingdom, writes:
I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. ... Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him. (Daniel 7:13-14, 27)
The perfect government headed by God Himself, with just laws, benevolently looking out for all of its subjects to produce unprecedented prosperity and abundance - what could be better news than that?
Next: False Gospels (10/12)