Intro: What is the most dreaded disease today? Is it cancer or when one is HIV positive that leads to AIDS? However, cancer is curable but AIDS to this date has no cure. Death will surely come and it cuts short the life of one affected by it. When one is affected with this, he or she is just waiting to die and I’m sure it is causing mental torture because there is no hope of recovery. When medical science discovers a cure that would be the best news for those already affected? God created man both, as physical and spiritual and in His image. Now we will look at the other side of life, the spiritual that is also infected with the equivalent of AIDS. God calls that SIN. But there is a cure and that’s the good news.
“What is so good about the Good News?”
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Rom. 1:16-17
The word gospel is translated and commonly used today as “good news.” The first time I heard the gospel it was good but now after almost thirty years and as I have grown in knowing God, the Bible and its reality I now consider this as the best news ever. When the apostle Paul said that he is not ashamed to tell it to anyone be it the king or the pauper or those who may ridicule him, even wants to kill him, yet nothing could stop him from telling. And when Jesus was telling this good news, he was ridiculed, mocked, attempts to kill Him then falsely accused and finally crucified on the cross. He was also stripped naked and humiliated beyond that of any man.
Every one of us has gone through a physical check up. For some it is yearly and some when one feels something is wrong. But what happens if the doctor finds some disease in your body that you did not even feel or had any symptoms. Some who are diagnosed with cancer only finds out when it is too late because it did not show any signs. What kind of news will that be? Bad news. But when you hear from the doctor that there is a cure will that not be good news? So in order to appreciate the good news one must fully understand and believe the bad news. Usually the initial response of the one affected is to get a second opinion to make sure that the diagnosis is right. And when fully convinced, only then will he submit for treatment.
There is a parallel in the spiritual life concerning our spiritual health, whether our relationship with God is right. However one does not usually go for a spiritual check up. All of us has been influenced and brought up in religion of our parents because they believe this religion is what will get them and us to heaven. Some religion does not even guarantee that you will get to heaven because it depends on how you lived and perform your religious obligations to God. One also made up a place where one will suffer temporarily and be cleansed of sins they call purgatory. So where’s the good news in that, and who then will go and tell people what they need and where they are spiritually in their relationship with God? That was the passion of Paul after he heard the good news and believed because he understood the bad news. Jesus spoke to him directly in a voice and confronted him by asking, “Why are you persecuting me?” Paul was a very religious man, zealous for his religious belief but going the wrong way. Having found the right way, he is not ashamed to tell everyone the good news even at the risk of losing his life.
So why is the gospel good news? It is the “power of God for salvation”. This tells us that only God has the power to save us from the bad news.
“For the wages of sin is death.” Rom. 6:23
What does this mean? Wages is the payment of services rendered after you work in your job. It is rightfully yours because you have earned it. In the spiritual life, wages is what we receive from God for sin that we have committed against Him by breaking His law and we deserve it. God has the right to execute His law because we have rebelled against a holy God. And because God is just He must punish the sinner to satisfy His law. Death has two meanings and consequences. Death is physical, some die young and some live longer but still dies in the end. The other death is spiritual. It is separation from God. God and sin does not mix because He is holy and pure. God is true to His word and must carry it out. Is there hope for the sinner?
Yes, there is and that’s the good news. This is what we must first believe.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” Rom. 5:12-17
The truth is this, from the time of Adam to Moses, even when there was no law sin has already affected every one. It’s like Adam had AIDS and he passed it on to all his descendants. In the spiritual we call this thesinful nature. The moment we reach the age of reason and understand what is right and wrong we will sin because that is our nature. Our parents never taught us how to sin but we sinned because of our nature and right after we sin we die spiritually and separated from God. Now here’s the good news from God.
“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23b
God by an act of His will and pleasure provided the means to restore us in fellowship with Him, have eternal life and spend eternity in heaven with God. He did this out of His love by sending God the Son, who became a man just like you and me but without sin because he did not come from Adam but was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin. Jesus is the only human who did not inherit Adam’s sinful nature and as he grew up He never sinned in all his life. Therefore, he is the only one who has no wages to pay and have never been separated in fellowship with God.
From the passage we read from Romans 5:12-17, here is the truth that is good news. “God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.” God’s grace is the act of God in behalf of undeserving sinners by giving us the gift of salvation at the cost of His Son. Someone made an acrostic of GRACE. God’s -Riches - At - Christ’s - Expense. God’s riches is salvation to be spent in heaven and the price paid to save sinners is the sacrificial death of His Son. Paul encapsulated this truth this way,
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
Paul is reminding those who are already saved in Ephesus how they got saved. These are the three important truths one must believe and accept.
GRACE –The kindness of God drawing sinners to Himself through His Son
FAITH – The response of a sinner to believe, trust and fully rely in Christ.
GIFT – Salvation is free to be received in the person of Jesus Christ.
NOT BY WORKS – The wrong way and wrong teachings by religion. Salvation cannot be earned and worked for otherwise it is no longer a gift. And that gift is packaged in His Son as revealed by Jesus Himself.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Salvation comes from God, provided by God in order to be right with God. Because all of us have sinned, in God’s sight we are all unrighteous. Only Jesus Christ is the righteous man to ever live on earth. Therefore, He is the only one who can go to heaven on His own merit because of His perfect life. The only way for us to go and enter heaven is to have the righteousness of Jesus. And God’s only way is for us to exchange our life of sin with His life of perfect righteousness. What must we do to have His righteousness and be saved? Believe the gospel.
“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:2-4
So then, what must one do to make this a reality and not believe in vain. Holding firmly comes from the sincerity of the heart. Believing involves a commitment to the offer of God and to be faithful. It’s like the commitment in marriage that each party will keep their vows. Believing involves accepting the terms set by God in order to be saved. Believing in Jesus starts with this requirement for us to respond
“Repent and believe the good news.” Mark 1:15
“Unless you repent you will likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
Repentance is the first step. Imagine yourself going in the direction toward a cliff and sooner or later it will be disaster and sure death. Here comes Jesus calling you with the offer to save you from going to hell. But He is behind you and he is telling you to turn to Him in repentance and give up your sins to Him so he can pay for them. Many today claim to believe in Jesus but lives have not changed. They are still going in the same direction towards destruction and hell because there is no repentance of all sins. They only want to go to heaven but are not willing to follow Jesus and live their lives as they please. But God knows the heart if there is true repentance.
So what happens when a person repents because he believes in Jesus? He gives to Jesus all his sins and takes the final step of receiving Him into his heart as Lord. This is because he also believes that Jesus is alive and was raised on the third day. Jesus is the gift of God that must be received. And to complete the offer one must take this final step by faith. Faith believes without seeing but is not blind faith. Faith believes all the truths relevant to salvation according to the Bible and finally the object of that faith is in the person of Jesus Christ, who He is, what He did and what He promises to do for you. Faith is acting what you believe by receiving God’s gift.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
Jesus is the only one who gives that right to be a child of God, no one else.
And when this is done, the person who received the gift will now experience forgiveness of sins and the love of God. This is because there is an exchange deal that took place. When one gives all his sins to Jesus Christ, He takes them all, forgives and gives him a clear conscience. Then exchanges His righteous and perfect life while He takes our sinful lives and applies the punishment in his behalf at the cross. We now have His righteousness. It’s like owing a bank Trillions of dollars, a debt we can never pay but when we surrender them all to Jesus, He takes the debt and pays them all, then puts a stamps of “fully paid” and if there is more unintentional debt to pay in the future His funds is sufficient to pay them all. That’s the exchange deal, His perfect life in exchange for our rotten and sinful life so that when God sees the sinner He now sees the righteous and perfect life of His Son. Then God is now free to pour out His love and this truth becomes a reality.
“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.” John 3:16
How is it with you today? Has this already happened in your life? When a person is infected with AIDS and does not know it, life goes on as usual. When the symptoms and effect of this disease appears how does this affect him now knowing that his days are numbered? Likewise in the spiritual life, when the symptoms of the reality that you are already bound for hell and will be eternally separated from God what will you do? Let’s see how the symptoms show brought about by sin. According to the Bible sin has its consequences that affects every ones life. So what are some of the sins.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal. 5:19-21
What is the consequence of those who commit sexual immorality, if married it leads to divorce and broken home. For the unmarried it could result to STD. Those who indulge in pornography - it leads to impure thoughts and unfaithfulness to their spouses or even rape. When one is full of hatred, it is medically tested to cause hypertension, stroke or heart attack. Fits of rage could lead to battery and domestic violence and in the freeways of California rage results in shooting. What about drunkenness? How many are in jail for DUI? Drug addiction has many consequences. Jealousy, envy and selfish ambitions are temptations to get rich quick, so you take your chances in the casinos then later losing all and going bankrupt. These are symptoms to mention a few of spiritual AIDS caused by sin. And if not cured will end in eternal punishment in hell.
Paul reminded the Christians who they were in the past and the reality of the people who are still controlled by their sinful nature and are not yet saved.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 6:9-11
If you have not heard and received this good news, you are here not by accident but by the grace of God. This good news will be yours right now if you believe, then come to Jesus by taking this big step of faith.
“That if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom. 10:9-10
I urge you, respond to His invitation and come to Jesus as you are. Don’t let unbelief or pride hold you back from being saved from hell. Come to Jesus!