The Gospel as: “Good News” and “Bad News”

Here’s a way to present the gospel using the “goods news, bad news” cliché. Begin with bad news. All men die as the penalty for sin because God’s justice must be satisfied. Now, the good news. Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection paid that penalty that men can’t pay. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” It assures payment of the debt incurred by sin and assures resurrection to those who believe.

The Bad News. Paul doesn’t end his explanation of the gospel here. Later he explains, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive … And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45). In explaining why Jesus died, Paul went to Genesis and its account of Adam, Eve and the fall. You cannot understand the good news in the New Testament until you understand the bad news in Genesis. When Adam and Eve sinned they brought death into God’s creation. So all men are sinners in rebellion against God both by birth and by choice. Because we are descendants of Adam we ALL die. Ask the person you are witnessing to the question: “Why do we grieve when a person dies, animals don’t?” It’s because we know in our hearts death is not the way things should be! The lion takes down the Zebra. The herd doesn’t grieve they just continue grazing not even paying attention. Your child or parent dies and you grieve because we are made in God’s image we know death is WRONG.

The Good News. In explaining the gospel in Colossians, Paul points out clearly that our Savior is the Creator. “In whom we have redemption through His blood … For by Him all things were created … and he is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:14–17). Our Creator became our Redeemer and paid the debt we could not! This was necessary because all humans are sinners. We need the penalty for sin paid. Only a perfect man can die to pay it. The solution was for the perfect, sinless Creator to become a man so he could be our Savior! Jesus paid the debt we could not pay!

The Future Hope. In 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21 and 22, we’re told the consummation of the gospel there will be a new heaven and earth. There will be no more death. And the curse (imposed because of sin in Genesis 3) will be no more. In countries where there is no Christian basis, how could people ever understand the gospel without knowledge of the Creator, sin, and the need for salvation? Understanding the foundational aspects of the gospel in Genesis is a vital key to reach the world for Christ.

This blog is adapted from pages 114-115 in Always Be Ready to Give an Answer! Charlie is also author of: ANSWERS For “The Hope That Is In You.”

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