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The Good News

The central message of the entire Bible is “the gospel.” The word literally means “good news.”  It comes from the Greek word euangelion, which is where we get the English word evangelism, “to share the good news.”  In Jesus’ day, the word gospel meant one of two things: 1) that a male heir had been born to the royal throne and would one day be King or 2) that a royal victory had been won by the King. The Christian gospel is both.

The Royal Heir

In the opening chapters of the book of Genesis God creates the heavens and the earth, establishes vegetation and wildlife on the planet and then creates mankind in his image and for his glory. (Genesis 1 & 2) The earth and its inhabitants were established in God’s moral perfection and God saw that “it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) By chapter 3, the “prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:1-2) Satan comes to Eve as a Serpent and deceives her into disobeying God, an act of treason to God the King, punishable by death. (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23).  She invites her husband, Adam, to do the same and they both become corrupt, morally flawed sinners who marr their reflection of God.

This is where the war of the kingdoms begins.  God, the supreme authority over all created things, is opposed by Satan.  Satan, knew that he couldn’t pick a fight with God and win, so he declared war on God’s highest created order, mankind.  In his deception God’s people became captive to Satan, sin, hell and death. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Jude 21-22)  God then calls a family meeting with Satan present.  At this meeting he declares the curse that men and women will endure for their sin.  He then declares Satan’s curse by briefly describing that God’s heir will be born to the throne and will crush Satan with his heel.  (Genesis 3:8-20)

The rest of the Old Testament reveals the need for God’s King to save his people from their sins in the Law, (Genesis – Deuteronomy), prototypes the coming of the King in the History Literature (Joshua – Esther) explains the wisdom of his Kingdom in the Wisdom Literature (Job – Song of Solomon & Lamentations)  and foretells the coming of this King who will win salvation for his people in the Prophets (Isaiah -Malachi). 

The New Testament then reveals this King as Jesus in the gospels (Matthew – John), records the work of the King among his people (Acts) unpacks the salavation victory of this King over Satan, sin, hell and death in the Epistles (Romans – Jude) and declares the return of the King, and the establishment of his Kingdom in the book of Revelation.

The Royal Victory

The New Testament, then begins by declaring the birth of the King who is heir to the throne of God.  Both Matthew and Luke’s Gospel accounts, recall the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.  An angel from God comes to Mary and Joseph to tell them that the anointed heir to the throne of God is going to be born to them and that they are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1; Luke 1)

Jesus then lives the morally perfect, law-filling life we could not live and goes to the cross to die in our place and for our sins.  In the garden, we substituted ourselves for God, giving ourselves to Satan, enslaving ourselves to sin and condeming ourselves to hell.  At the cross, Jesus exchanged himself for sinners, taking our sin, our guilt and the punishment of God’s wrath that we deserve. (1 Corinthians 15:45-48; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 4:14-16)

God then raised Jesus from the dead, defeating Satan, sin, hell and death as the true King who wins victory for his people by his death and resurrection through which God, by his unearned, undeserved favor calls ill-deserving sinners (you and I) to salvation, which leads to repentance.  True repentance is marked by faith in Jesus, baptism and service in the local church, made evident by living obediently under his rule as King. This life of obedience bears witness to this present generation that he is in fact King. (Luke 24:1; Matthew 28:1-8; Ephesians 2:8-9Romans 7:24-8:4; 1 Corinthians 15:54-56; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; 1 John 3:8; Romans 6:1-23)

Jesus spent 40 more days with the disciples and ascended into the heavens where he is ruling and reigning over all races, religions, political parties, languages and peoples as King of kings and Lord of lords commanding all people to turn from sin to trust him as Savior, obey him as King and love him as Lord.  There is coming a day when he will judge the living and the dead.  At that time those who have rejected, neglected, refused and abused him will be subjected to his reign as King in the eternal, conscious torments of hell, while those who, by grace, have received him will rule with him in eternity forever. (Acts 1:1-8; Philippians 2:9-112 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Revelation 19:11-21; Matthew 25:31-46)

A Summary

Therefore, the good news is that Jesus is the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of God who has won eternal victory for those who repent of sin and trust in him as Lord, God, King and Christ. It is the truth that we do not achieve victory over Satan, sin, hell and death by our works, but that we receive the victory by faith in the work that Jesus has done. From that truth we then live in obedience to Jesus as Lord and King by the power of his death and resurrection at work in us.

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