There might be as many definitions of “the Good News” as there are Christian denominations. However, they all have the same general flavor: Jesus died so God doesn’t have to punish you.
Some versions even say God the Father killed Jesus, so He doesn’t have to kill you.
Not The Good News
If you consider this idea with objectivity, you would conclude that it is not really “good news.”
Certainly, if God had to kill us, it would be good news that there was a reason He would not.
But this version of the good news is based on the same lie that Satan pushed in heaven and Eden: God is a selfish, power-hungry dictator and will kill you if you don’t do what He says.
Fortunately, that’s not the Gospel according to the Bible, and it is not good news anyway! It makes God out to be a harsh, vindictive, arbitrary dictator.
(We’ll explore how this false gospel came about in other blog posts. For now, I want to present to you the actual Gospel.)
Imagine your child was murdered, and you attend the trial of the killer. The judge is about to pronounce sentence when the killer’s brother stands up and says, “I will take his punishment!”
The judge orders the brother to die instead of the killer, and the killer walks free.
Does that sound like justice to you?
This is exactly what we’re told about how God’s law and justice works. But it is a lie, and it is based on a misunderstanding of God’s law and God’s character.
And no wonder. This lie has been foisted on humanity since Eden, when the serpent deceived our parents into mistrusting God. This lie has been preached for centuries from pulpits in fiery sermons that instilled fear in its hearers.
“God loves you,” they claim, “But if you don’t love Him back by following all these rules, He will torture you with fire.”
Reasoning human beings have been wondering about this ever since it was asserted back in early church history: would a God of love really torture his beloved children forever in hellfire? And human beings have been bending over backward trying to make sense of it all. Sadly, they have built up a wobbly structure of rationales and excuses on a foundation of a most devious and insidious lie: God has to kill those who break His law.
Fortunately, God was not content to sit back and let the lies pile up and the deception grow. God the Son took on human form and came to earth to set the record straight on God’s character. And, the Good News is, God isn’t like his enemies make him out to be.
God is love.
And what is love?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Since God is love, we can read it this way:
God is patient and kind. God is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. God does not demand His own way. God is not irritable, and God keeps no record of being wronged. God does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. God never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, paraphrased)
So, if your concept of God does not align with Jesus or the Bible’s own definition of love (read the above again if you need to), you are believing a lie about God.
This is Satan’s plan! If he can get you to believe a lie about God, he can get you to reject God. If he can get you to reject God, he can get you to reject God’s remedy and His free gift of an eternal life of peace and joy in paradise.
The purpose of God’s people–those who know and love Him–is to expose the lies and shine the light on the truth about our Father God.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3–5).
We demolish arguments that prevent others from obtaining the knowledge of God. That is not a war of physical combat, but a war of words and ideas. And rightly so! Satan cannot defeat God in a physical war. Satan is not claiming that God is not powerful. Satan is claiming that God cannot be trusted with all that power.
Only the truth can destroy lies.
Fake Good News: “I will kill you if you don’t love me.”
Real Good News: “I love you, and I will save you if you let me.”
It’s time to start embracing the best news you’ve ever heard: God is love, and He loves you!