The Bad News
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is called, “the Good News.” Logically, if it is good news, it is set against bad news. Wall Street has its bulls and its bears. Bad news preempts a bear market while good news does the same for a bull market.
The bad news for humanity began in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3). Satan brought fake news to Eve which caused her to sin against God (Gen 3:6). Before she reaped the consequences for her unbelief in the Word of God, she enticed Adam to join her in the rebellion against God. He, too, disobeyed the command of God spoken to him.
“You shall surely die (Gen 2:17),” is bad news. The reason people do what they do to keep death in abeyance, is that it has been appointed for a man to die once and then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). Death is an enemy to natural man (1 Cor 15:26), who must give an account to God at the judgment (2 Cor 5:10). People are condemned already (Jn 3:18) because of their relationship to sin (Rom 6:23).
All people are conceived in sin (Ps 51:5), as everyone inherits sin from Adam (Rom 5:12–21). This includes the receipt of a sin nature (Eph 2:3). People are slaves to sin (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6). The reign of sin in the mortal body (Rom 5:14, 21) means that the practice of sin is common for sinners (Gen 6:5; Rom 3:23). Sin, as the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18), is the state of everyone, everywhere, and at all times from conception.
Sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4). We know what sin is by being taught the Law of God (Rom 3:20; 7:7). Thus, Moses is our accuser, the prosecuting attorney in the case against sinners (Jn 5:45). If one is found guilty at even one point of the Law, then he or she is guilty of the whole Law (Jas 2:10). Thus, the state of the natural man is guilty sinner. The Bible calls him, “unrighteous” and “ungodly” and “unholy” and “unclean” and “wicked” together with the whole company of the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2), who are the children of the devil (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10), the children of wrath (Eph 2:3).
The wrath of God is evidenced now and, in its fullness, later (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; 1 Thess 1:10). The object of God’s wrath are sinners (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5). All ungodliness and unrighteousness of men warrants the wrath of God, as an act of justice (Rom 1:18). Every sinner is conceived under the wrath of God, and because God is slow to anger, slow to wrath, men press on in their sinful ways (Nahum 1:3).
God is a just judge over all the earth (Gen 18:25). In His righteousness and holiness, He gave man the Law of God (Ex 20; Dt 5). Man is then judged by that standard, and we have already seen that all people have sinned, falling short of that standard (Rom 3:23). The Law demands justice, and the guilty will not go unpunished.
The prospect of God’s wrath should terrify every sinner. One reason is the term of God’s just punishment of sinners. The punishment of offending the infinite majesty of the Holy God is eternal (Mt 25:46; Jude 7). Marvel not that Jesus Christ was the most prolific preacher of eternal hell. People should consider both the kindness and the severity of God (Rom 11:22).
Jesus taught the attributes of hell: outer darkness; torment; unquenchable thirst; impassable separation; full consciousness (worm dies not); weeping; gnashing of teeth; punishment, fire…all of which lasts forever. The lake of fire was prepared for demons and the devil (Mt 25:41), but humanity joined the rebellion and reservations were made for the unsaved to join the fallen angels.
The grim forecast of death, judgment, and eternal punishment in fiery hell should be the humble confession of every person. We deserve these things, revealed to us in the Bible. God is right, and we are totally depraved.
Total depravity speaks of more than incessant evil inclinations of our wicked, deceitful hearts (Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9). It also speaks of our utter inability to remedy our status of wrong standing before Almighty God. We have no will to seek after God and right standing with Him (Rom 3:10–12). Nor do we have any ability to keep the Law of righteousness (Rom 8:7).
The Bible judges each person to be dead in sin, thus, dead to God because our souls are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). There is no good in the natural man; not even a good work that is acceptable to God (Is 64:6). When the things of the Spirit are presented to spiritually dead sinners (1 Cor 2:14), they judge the things of God to be foolishness because they cannot even understand them (Jn 1:5; 1 Cor 1:18). Just as Satan deceived Adam and Eve (Gen 3), so he is the one who blinds the minds of those who hear the Gospel of God’s salvation (2 Cor 4:4). Many have ears and they do hear men speak of these things, but why do they not believe?
WARNING: What you are about to read will test your faith. Examine yourself to see whether the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus (Eph 4:21), is an offense to you. The bad news only gets worse if you do not believe the Gospel of grace. You may discover in the following paragraphs that you are a fake Christian. Believe it or not that is my purpose in writing to you…that you may know the truth that sets you free from false doctrine brought forth to you by false teachers, posing as angels of light, in order to lead you into the pit of darkness.
May I now, with the help of God’s Spirit, present to you the Gospel truth.
Before the foundation of the world, the Creation, God chose a people for His own possession (Ps 100:3; Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). Stated another way, God predestined His elect people to adoption as His sons (Eph 1:4–5), even writing each of their names in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8).
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29), having been slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev 5:6, 12), is Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). His people are those given to Him by God the Father (Jn 6:37; 10:29; 17:2, 6, 24), as it was purposed in His predetermined plan and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23; Eph 3:11).
God the Father draws the elect to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by His irresistible grace (Jn 6:44, 65). In other words, the Spirit of God is sent to each of God’s chosen people, to apply the salvation planned by the Father and executed by the Son (Jn 14:17, 26; 15:26; 2 Thess 2:13). The Holy Spirit fills a man of God, a preacher of the Gospel, to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2; Col 1:28; 1 Pet 2:9).
The Gospel preacher bears witness of Christ in the world, wherever he is sent, and to all the creation before him (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15; Acts 1:8). Many are called to come to Jesus for salvation (Mt 11:28; Rom 8:30), but few are chosen to receive Him (Mt 22:14; Mk 10:45) according to the will of God (Jn 1:13; Rom 9:16) and the work of God’s Spirit. In other words, some hear and do not believe the report (Is 53:1); while others hear and do believe the Word spoken to them. Why the difference?
It is the work of God that one believes in Him who was sent (Jn 6:29), that is, Jesus Christ, who took on flesh and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20), in the womb the Virgin Mary (Is 7:14; Lk 1:42), so to avoid the sin of Adam. Jesus was like us in the flesh (Rom 8:3), yet He was without sin (Heb 4:15; 7:26), an unblemished Lamb, if you will (Ex 12:5; 1 Pet 1:19). For this reason, as the Son of Man, fully man, He served as the great high priest for His people (Heb 4:14; 9:11).
Jesus Christ offered Himself as the perfect one-time sacrifice (Heb 7:27; 9:28; 10:10), once for all His own people, that He might shed His precious blood (1 Pet 1:18–19), the blood of the eternal covenant (Mt 26:28; Heb 13:20) that would be effectual for the forgiveness of their sins (Col 1:14) and shield them from the wrath of God directed at each one in the whole world (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).
This substitutionary blood redemption was the purchase of His wayward bride from the slave market of sin (Hosea; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). Jesus bought His bride, a ransom payment to the Law, for many (Mk 10:45). In love, He laid down His life for His bride (Eph 5:25), His church (Mt 16:18; Col 1:18), the Israel of God (Is 49:3, 6; Gal 6:16), His holy nation of royal priests (1 Pet 2:9), called out from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9) who belong to Him (1 Cor 3:23) and believe in Him (Jn 3:16).
God gives eternal life to everyone that He gives the Spirit of His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16; 10:28; 17:2; 1 Jn 5:20). He who has the Son has eternal life; He who does not have the Son does not have the life of God in him, (Jn 3:36; Rom 8:9; 1 Jn 5:11). It is the Spirit and the Word, who give life (Jn 6:63), when the Word is preached, even implanted in the heart (Jas 1:21), and when the Spirit falls upon those who are listening (Acts 10:44). It is the Spirit who opens the heart of His own elect, to respond to the Word spoken (Acts 16:14).
Faith is the response of those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:47; 1 Cor 12:13). Both repentance and faith are granted to those who belong to the Lord (Acts 5:31; Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 2:19). He saved us (Tit 3:5), by making us alive to God in Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13), having transferred us into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13), where we were born again of God by the causation of the Spirit (1 Pet 1:3).
The result is new life for the new creation (2 Cor 5:17) and this life is in God’s Son (1 Jn 5:11, 20). We who believe walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4), in faith (2 Cor 5:7), in the power of the now indwelling Spirit of Christ (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 5:16, 25), who causes us to walk in God’s statutes (Ezek 36:27). By doing this, we walk in a manner worthy of our calling to be children of God (1 Jn 3:1, 10) and sons of light (Jn 12:36; 1 Thess 5:5), who are walking in the truth (2 Jn 1:4; 3 Jn 1:3–4). He is the One who accomplishes what concerns us (Ps 57:2; 138:8).
Because we possess the token, the pledge of God’s love for us (2 Cor 5:5) and the promise that the Spirit of Christ will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5), we have the hope of glory, who is the resurrected Christ (Col 1:27; 1 Pet 1:3). Hope will come to full fruition at the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Tit 2:13). On that last day, the day of His coming to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5), He will sit on His glorious throne (Mt 19:28; 25:31), as all people ever conceived in the womb are resurrected from the dead and gathered by the elect angels to stand before His great white throne of judgment (Rev 20:11).
The dead in Christ, those who have passed from death to life (Jn 5:24; 1 Jn 3:14), will be raised to life (Jn 5:28–29) and will be together with Christ (1 Thess 4:17; 2 Thess 2:1) to judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3). The reprobate (Rom 9:22), those with dead souls and dead bodies, who loved darkness (Jn 3:19) and never left the course of this world (Eph 2:2), on the wide way leading to destruction (Mt 7:13), will be resurrected to judgment (Jn 5:29).
The sentence of the second death, which is the everlasting lake of fire, will be issued and the unelect, unredeemed, unregenerate, unbelieving, doers of iniquity will be cast into their eternal home (Eccl 12:5). The present heavens and earth, having been reserved for judgment will be burned with fire (2 Pet 3:10–12).
The new creation, that is, the new heavens and the new earth (Is 65–66; Rev 21–22) will be where righteousness dwells (2 Pet 3:13). God’s elect, redeemed, regenerate, believing, sanctified people will also dwell in the New Jerusalem (Heb 12:22), as citizens of Zion (Phil 3:20), in glorified bodies (Rom 8:30; 1 Jn 3:2), from that day forth and forevermore.
Can you believe that? It is very good news if you do. The bad news remains if you do not believe it.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 3, 2021