Monday, July 11, 2005

Good News

A letter written recently to a group of teenagers, encouraging them to embrace the Gospel as good news in every area of their lives:

You all know by now, from our study of Mark, that the word “Gospel” means “Good News”. We all like to receive good news. Sometimes, though, Gospel truth doesn’t seem like good news to us at first. Sometimes we think obedience to God will make us less happy, so we refuse to obey.

We must fight these thoughts by believing this fact: if the Gospel is Good News, then all of its commands must be Good News too. If you’ll think with me for just a moment, I think you’ll agree that this is true.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record the events of the Gospel – the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God – and include Jesus’ teaching that God is to reign as King of our hearts, that we are to leave all and take up our crosses and follow him, and that external religion is useless without inward reality. Jesus offers us freedom from the penalty, power, and presence of sin; and fellowship with God. This is certainly Good News!

The rest of the New Testament, from the book of Acts through Revelation, is Gospel too. It shows us how the Gospel reaches into every area of our lives. Nothing is left untouched. Manhood and womanhood, humility and modesty, dating and marriage – the New Testament contains clear teaching on all of them. The explanation of the Gospel in these books holds out to us the hope of a transformed life and deep and satisfying fellowship with God now and for eternity. This too is certainly Good News!

The great need of each of us, then, is grace to embrace the Gospel teaching. If the Gospel is Good News, then the standards it sets for us and the obedience it calls us to must also be Good News. We must not think that God is out to ruin our happiness.

When God says, “You shall do this, and you shall not do that,” he means it for our good. He longs to give us happiness far greater than we can possibly imagine - if we will only say “yes” to obedience! We will not always obey perfectly, but God is patient. He loves us and desires to teach us how to live.

Don’t be fooled by the world’s false offers of happiness – this God-given happiness is far greater than any we might secure for ourselves apart from him. He is very great, and very good.

This Sunday, we’ll be talking about modesty and humility. The Gospel teaching on these issues is clear. Will you be willing to embrace the commands of the Good News? Is God calling you to new obedience in modesty or humility? If so, embrace it! He is for you. God’s will is exactly what you would want if you could know all the facts. Let's each pray for a willing heart.

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