Good News or Bad News: Which do you want first?

Have you ever had someone say to you, “I’ve got good and bad news, which do you want first?”  I would venture to say that most people pick the bad news first, not because they are a “glass is half-empty” kind of person, but rather because hearing the bad news first always seems to make the good news that much better.  Imagine your doctor coming to you and saying, “Good news, I have a cure for your problem” (without you even knowing you have a problem).  You might respond by saying, “Well, that’s great, but I didn’t know I was sick.”  Turn that scenario around and imagine your doctor coming to you and delivering you bad news, like you have a condition that is causing you to die. Then he says, “But I have good news, I have found a cure!” The bad news remains bad, but gets completely overshadowed by the great news you just received.

One of the biggest problems in our world today is that most people do not understand the exact nature of their spiritual condition before the Holy God of all creation. They simply have not been told the bad news. Many know about Jesus, but do not know how much they truly need Him. Most people are simply seeking to “add God” to their already very full lives, instead of giving Him their whole life. I am convinced this is because many people have not heard the bad news first.

The Bible tells us very clearly in Romans 3:23 that all human beings are sinners. Ephesians 2:1-3 speaks of all humanity being children of wrath, dead in sin, and left without any hope of redemption.  The Scripture is crystal clear that, because of sin, every human being stands to bear the wrath and judgment of God.  Our sinfulness leaves us condemned before a holy God and reveals we have no hope of salvation on our own. This is really bad news, but it is the truth.

It is important to understand such bad news. The bad news must be told if the good news is to be fully embraced. Without the bad news, the good news just becomes okay news. Humanity cannot understand their need for Jesus, for a Savior, if they do not understand the depth of their sinfulness. To say it another way, a person cannot be saved, if they do not first understand they are lost. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is bad news and good news, and both must be heard and understood. Romans 3:23-24, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (bad news) and are justified (saved) by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (good news).”  The Gospel tells us that we are sinners, but that God did something about it. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” The full redemptive plan and message of God centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. This is great news!

Ephesians 2:4 says, “BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, for by grace you have been saved.”  Hallelujah for God’s grace! Without Jesus, we stand condemned, but with Jesus, we are redeemed. When a person hears and understands the Gospel, they first feel helpless, leaving them to look to something beyond themselves, but then as they look to Jesus, they find all that they need. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “When man gets to the end of himself, that is when he gets to the beginning of God.” The problem is that most people never get to the end of themselves. If they do, that is when they understand the good news and find the hope, forgiveness, and salvation that Jesus alone brings. But, to receive those things, you must realize you need them.

Jesus Christ redeems and rescues us from the wrath to come!  Through Him we no longer stand condemned and helpless! Jesus becomes our righteousness and defense, and gives us the ability to stand forgiven and fully justified in the presence of God! I recently heard someone say, “Hell will be full of people who think they deserved Heaven, and Heaven will be full of people who know they deserved Hell.” In order to find God, you must understand what you deserve apart from Him. Look to Jesus today. He is your only hope.

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