The good news is that the good news IS good news!
It must be notable that the Lord Jesus did not say that the good news is that you can be forgiven of your sins, or avoid Hell, or even that you can ‘go to heaven’ when you die. No, He taught simply that the good news is the news of the Kingdom, that is, the place where God’s righteous and loving rule is experienced both today and into eternity, and how near it is.
In the UK for many years there was a television comedy series called “One Foot in the Grave” about a hapless recent retiree constantly trying to find a new role and a new purpose in life, and never quite succeeding. For the believer we have ‘one foot in eternity’ as soon as we have come to Jesus and received Him as our Lord and as Saviour. Yes, of course we have one foot in this world as we continue to live out our lives here. But we do so as citizens of The Kingdom, where our true loyalty now lies. So we have one foot in eternity right now, with the guarantee of “tabernacling” with Yeshua throughout eternity. That is His promise to us, and it is our great objective ….. to be with Him.
How then can we ‘define’ God’s purpose in Messiah Yeshua? It has been said that the story of salvation is like a red cord that runs throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. That is surely an apt simile, as the red cord reminds us of the blood of our Saviour, shed for us. And we know that Yeshua was sacrificed for us, from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13: 8). In other words, it was always the plan of the Father and the Son, that the Son would give Himself up for Mankind. This red cord is discernable both directly and indirectly throughout the Old Testament (as we shall see shortly) especially in “types” and “shadows” that pepper the Scriptures. We repeat, it was always the plan of the Father and the Son, that the Son would give Himself for Mankind. Praise God! Praise Jesus! How then can we summarise what has been done, what has been achieved? In the next few pages, using the International Standard Version (except one reference taken from the Christian Standard Bible), we allow the Bible itself to comment upon the attitude of God towards Mankind. The emphases in bold type are added by the editors here, but we hope they adequately display the ‘love aforethought’ of God the Saviour:
|God’s Word in Scripture||Our short comment|
The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to find room for repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
|God is reluctant to judge and condemn. Of course ultimately He must do so, but it is not His primary purpose. His primary purpose is to build a family of those who joyfully receive His Son as Lord. Amongst this true family, God will “tabernacle” forever.
It is the Lord’s ‘strange work’ (Isaiah 28:21) to judge. History testifies that judgment is something God is reluctant to do. Consider all the wickedness that has marred human history, all the sin and disregard for God and for His laws. Think of how few times He has intervened with judgment. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (33:11). Truly, God is reluctant to judge.
God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). Israel’s rebellious history reveals that its people were often on the brink of extinction because of their sin. The book of Judges, for example, covers an approximately 335-year period of great moral confusion when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). Perhaps that sounds like our world today!
So God does not “tarry”. He is giving time for as many to be saved as possible. This is the day of salvation. This is the harvesting season! But the harvesting season will reach its end, eventually.
|This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to know the truth fully. There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and human beings – a human, the Messiah Jesus. He gave himself as a ransom for everyone, the testimony at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2: 3-6
We repeat, it is God’s great purpose that all should be saved. Not all will be saved, tragically. But ultimately rejection of Yeshua is the conscious and determined choice of the Christ-rejector. Yet ….
Yeshua gave Himself, willingly, for all. The purpose of Jesus in coming to this world could not be clearer.
No man can redeem the life of another, nor can he give to God a sufficient payment for him. For it would cost too much to redeem his life, and the payments would go on forever – that he should go on living and not see corruption.
Psalm 49: 7-9
|We cannot earn our “salvation” in any way, shape or form. We need to repent of our good deeds just as much as our bad deeds! We tend to put our faith in our response to God’s open hand of forgiveness. We think we can ‘earn’ a little bit of our salvation, but we cannot!
The point here is painfully clear: we cannot afford the debt, so Yeshua steps in and pays it for us. We cannot possibly go on paying forever and ever. No, our debt is settled on the Cross; our only righteous response is to receive Yeshua and accept in faith, His death in place of ours.
Psalm 49: 7-9 is given as a “signpost” to Jesus.
|He was wounded for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that made us whole was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, each of us, to his own way;
Isaiah 53: 5-7
Upon Yeshua has been placed our “iniquity”, that is, our sins and our rebellions.
Jesus gave no word in His Own defence. God knows He could have done! But at the day of judgment, He will give a word in our defence. And that word will be final and definitive.
Isaiah 53: 5-7 is given as a “signpost” to Jesus.
For I passed on to you the most important points that I received: the Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures—and is still alive!—
1 Corinthians 15: 3-4
|It is a simple record of history: Yeshua died on the cross. And He died for us, not for Himself.
But He arose from the grave, and that is our eternal guarantee that the task is complete, the job is finished. Finished once. Finished for all who will receive Him.
Notice, incidentally, that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures – that is, according to the Old Testament! This should be a wake-up call to those “Christians” who say the Old Testament is now redundant!
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life
John 3:16 (CSB).
Yes, God has demonstrated His love for us in this, that whilst we were still sinners, Messiah died for us (Romans 5:8).
It is tough love, and it cost Jesus everything. It cost the Father His one and only Son. How much more can God demonstrate His love?
Most modern Bible translations (“God so loved” or even “God loved the world so much” have rather got this wrong. In seventeenth-century English “God so loved the world” was in fact correct. This phrase is quite right in the old King James Bible. But in today’s language it would be better rendered “God thus loved the world” which then (obviously) refers back to John 3:14, which is the kernel of the gospel. Look it up!
Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, whoever hears what I say and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged, but has passed from death to life.
|The matter is settled! Praise God!
Those who believe on Jesus are saved eternally. We will stand before the judgment seat. We shall be publicly “judged”. Yet we will be acquitted not because of lack of evidence, or on account of our supposed “good works”, but because Yeshua says, in effect, “this debt has already been paid. It was paid on the nail, by Me”.
They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”
This translation is better than some others! We are not called to believe “in”, but to believe “on”. There is a vast difference. We encourage readers to explore the implications.
Still good news
Oh yes! The good news is that the good news IS good news! It is not that bad news to which this World tries to traduce it. As we consider these great truths, we can but rejoice and praise God for His wisdom and His great mercy. In the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 11: 33-36:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. (NIV)
That surely has to be our response as we begin to engage with the awesome truth that God determined His plan of salvation from the beginning, and graciously prefigured it to the eyes of faith. We have only to open our eyes to see!
This subject is explored further in Peter Sammons’ book “The Messiah Pattern”, available here: https://christian-publications-int.com/default-23.html?ID=142
A Prophecy Today UK Review is here: https://www.prophecytoday.uk/study/resources/item/712-review-the-messiah-pattern.html