The Confident Witness (3)
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15.20-22
The Gospel is GoodNews
For the Apostle Paul, the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospel was Good News. Really Good News.
Paul had spent the better part of his adult life trying to gain the favor of God by his good works. He clung to his precious heritage – a “Hebrew of the Hebrews,” as he referred to himself – and he worked harder than all his peers to make sure he didn’t come up short in any way.
He looked like a real up-and-comer. But he knew himself to be a fraud, a sinner; and there was nothing he could do to rid himself of that nagging voice of conviction within him (cf. Rom. 2.14, 15; Rom. 7.7-12). He wanted to do good, but he kept doing things to gratify his own lusts and serve his own interests. This feeling of being helpless to overcome his sinful desires and propensities continued even after Paul became a believer. The difference then, however, was that in Jesus Christ He found both a righteousness that succeeded where his own best efforts had always failed, and the power to overcome his inherent wickedness and to know and increase in the pleasure of the Lord.
The Gospel set Paul free from his sinful, self-serving ways because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe (Rom. 1.16). In Jesus Christ God supplies the righteousness we lack; bears the punishment we deserve; and opens the way for us to know and serve Him, without fear of condemnation.
For Paul, this was truly Good News.
Worthy of proclaiming
So we’re not surprised when we see that, immediately after his becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, Paul set about telling everyone he could the Good News of forgiveness and life in Jesus (cf. Acts 9.20-22).
Paul had experienced the forgiveness of God. He knew the indwelling power of God’s Spirit to overcome the evil in his soul with good works of grace and truth. And he knew he had been received as a child of God, Whom he lovingly and gratefully looked to as “Abba, Father.”
Is this the way we experience the Gospel? Is the Gospel such “Good News” – truly amazing news – that we just can’t wait to share it with as many people as possible, as often as we can?
I get the impression that, for some Christians, believing the Gospel is like some kind of spiritual checklist. Once we’ve prayed the “sinner’s prayer” or confessed our belief in Jesus, well, that’s it, mostly. Now it’s just a matter of staying on an even keel until the Lord returns to take us home to heaven.
The Gospel, in other words, is Good News only in that it makes it possible for us some day to be happy beyond our wildest imaginations, hopes, and dreams. We’re patient to wait for that day, trusting the Lord that He’ll keep His Word and recognize us as the guy or gal who prayed that prayer so many years ago.
But if going to heaven when we die is the only “good news” we have in the Gospel, then we don’t understand the Gospel the way Paul did. And it’s no wonder we’re not nearly as confident and consistent in proclaiming the Gospel as he was.
The Good News
So, what is the “good news” of the Gospel?
The Good News is that in Jesus Christ a new realm of life, power, righteousness, peace, and joy has broken into human experience. A new King is on the throne of the cosmos, and a new agenda of love for God and our neighbors is unfolding, as Jesus advances His rule on earth as it is in heaven. All who enter that Kingdom know not just the forgiveness of sins, or the hope of eternal life, but real purpose in life, full and abundant joy and peace, power to make everything new in their souls and lives, and the virtues of faith, hope, and love to sustain and guide them.
All who understand the Good News the way Paul did experience the glory of God and know His power at work within them, transforming them from glory to glory into the image of Jesus Christ. Death holds no fear for them; sin has no power over them; nothing is impossible for them; and they find they are wondrously filled with love for their neighbors and eager to show them the way into this Good News as well.
When we experience the Gospel like this, that is, when we know it, day by day, moment by moment, as the Good News of eternal life with God in Jesus Christ, then, like the Apostle Paul, no one will be able to shut us up. We will be eager to tell others of this glorious Kingdom, and to introduce them to the Savior Who can give them the gift of faith and transport them into His eternal realm of righteousness, peace, and joy.
Our confidence as witnesses for Christ will grow in proportion to our experience of the Gospel – every day – as truly Good News.
1. Why is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God Good News?
2. How does this Good News affect your everyday life?
3. “Our confidence as witnesses for Christ will grow in proportion to our experience of the Gospel – every day – as truly Good News.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
Next steps – Preparation: How have you experienced the Gospel as Good News? Talk with some Christian friends about this question. How would you share your experience of this Good News with someone who doesn’t believe?
T. M. Moore
“The Confident Witness” is one of six studies that make up the core of our online course, Mission Partners. Preview this course at The Ailbe Seminary by clicking here.Mission Partners is one of the courses in our Certificate for Kingdom Leadership curriculum, which will open for registration on January 1, 2019. For an introduction and overview of that curriculum, click here.
How confident are you in your ability to share the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom? Our book, The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help you get your witness and testimony in proper working order, so that you can be a confident witness in your own Personal Mission Field. Order your copy by clicking here.
If you value ReVision as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.