What Is the Good News of Jesus?
What's the best news you’ve ever received?
Maybe it had to do with passing a test, hearing a good report from a doctor, landing a new job, or something else that changed your life for the better.
Jesus was all about good news. You may have heard the word “gospel” before, which literally means “good news.” At the core of Christianity is a message of hope surrounding God and how we can know Him.
One of the most famous passages in the Bible shares this good news with us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Many of us are familiar with this passage—we’ve seen it on posters held up at sporting events, heard it quoted by others, or maybe even memorized it at some point. Within it there are several key phrases that help us understand how Jesus came to bring us all good news.
"For God so loved the world..."
So many religious systems communicate that God is vengeful, angry, and out to get humanity. But that’s not how Jesus talked about God. He shared how God radically loves the whole world, including you. He loves all of us, no matter our gender, race, sexual orientation, or past struggles. He created you, wants a restored relationship with you, and wants you to experience life to the fullest through him. (John 10:10)
"…that he gave his one and only Son…"
Countless religious systems are based on rules, regulations, and rituals. They say that if you want a relationship with God, you need to work your way up to Him by doing the right things, and not doing the wrong things. Many of us approach God this way, which can leave us both exhausted and discouraged.
The Bible, however, presents a far different approach. God knows we can’t restore a relationship with Him on our own—who of us could ever be good enough to approach a perfect and holy God?
As one writer in the New Testament puts it, “All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The Bible also says the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), which means our sin has huge consequences.
“Sin” literally means “missing the target.” It’s not just bad behavior, in which we fail to reach a standard or choose to cross a line we shouldn’t. Jesus taught that it’s a deep condition of the heart—one in which we don’t love God for who He is, and we choose to ignore how He created us and everything to work.
Sin creates a barrier and a debt that must be paid to make it right. We know this to be true when someone sins against us. If a friend wrecks your car, there are financial consequences. If a spouse cheats, there are devastating relational and emotional consequences. Imagine the cost of sinning against an eternal and holy God?
And so, because He knows we couldn’t make it to Him on our own, God came to us. He sent Jesus—God in the flesh who came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead, paying for the penalty of our sins. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus changes everything. God made a way—in a way that only He could. He took on our sin so that we could enjoy a restored relationship with Him.
If you are looking for the biggest difference between Christianity and every other world religion, it can be summed up with one word: grace. Undeserved favor. Jesus taught that salvation is a gift from God, one that cannot be earned but rather is freely given by a loving God who loves us.
"…that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
If we want to start a relationship with God, we can’t do it through our own work and effort.
Instead, we do two things.
Trust in Jesus for the Forgiveness of Our Sins.
We do it by trusting in what Jesus did for us at the cross. John 3:16 says that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Instead of working our way towards God or trying to justify ourselves, we turn, admit we are sinners before a holy God, and trust that Jesus paid it all. The Bible tells us when we place our trust in Jesus alone, we are completely forgiven (1 Peter 2:24), righteous (2 Corinthians 5:17), adopted into God’s family as His child (Romans 8:15; 1 John 3:1), and secure in Him (Romans 8:38-39). All of this is because of God’s incredible grace through Jesus.
The Bible tells us salvation is a gift (Romans 6:23). It cannot be earned. Instead, it is based on the grace (unmerited favor) of God.
So, what do you do when you receive a gift? You say, “Thanks!”
If you have yet to receive the gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins, is there anything stopping you from taking that step right now? All you need to do is believe, which means placing your trust in Him.
You can do that by simply talking to God and praying something like this:
“God, I need You. I am a sinner who falls short of who You created me to be. The only way I am able to come before You is because You sent Jesus to die for my sins. I place my trust in Him alone. Thank you for giving me this incredible gift of salvation. Please help me, and transform me through your grace.”
Jesus came to bring us good news. We can know God and be forgiven—right now, fully, and completely, not because of our own works, but because of what Jesus did for us at the cross.
If you would like to find out more about grace, salvation, and the Gospel, contact us! We’d love to continue the conversation with you. And if you've made the decision to accept the good news about Jesus, you can find out more about baptism as a next step here.