What is the Good News?
- Entering a Relationship with God
- What about Other Religions?
- Is it Arrogant to Claim there is Only One Way?
- What about Suffering?
In a time of wars, famines, diseases, and celebrity break-ups it can be refreshing to read some good news. However, it can be difficult to discern what is "good" about good news. For example, suppose a large man bursts into your room shouting and swinging a massive axe. Certainly, this would be terrifying; however, it turns out that the man with the axe is a Fireman and has not come as a representative for the reaper but as a rescuer. In order to understand the meaning of the man with the axe, one must not simply make snap judgments or rely on impressions, but carefully understand the entire situation; similarly, to understand the good news we must understand the entire situation. Jesus offers some refreshingly good news for today about the world, humanity, and about God together these bits of news offer hope to all people.
First, have you ever thought that the world is not the way it is supposed to be? Conflict, disease, and discord are not supposed to be the status quo, in spite of the evidence from human history. This is good news because it brings insight into our situation, like the frustration you might have trying to use a defective phone that hangs up a few seconds after the call connects - it is good news to know that the phone is broken, and not that the person you called hung up or something else. Although the world has so much to offer us, it is broken.
Second, humanity has been created with deep value. Today, many influences in every culture wrongly suggest that human persons are of little value or claim value with no objective grounding for it. The reason you want to be treated with respect or think that you deserve better is because you are connecting in some way with the fact that you are created with value and significance.
However, some might object that some people have a poor self-image ...etc, do not think they deserve better. On the contrary, this proves my point that people are broken, and it is labeled a poor self image because it is not supposed to be that way. Additionally, wars, oppression and wide spread in justice are more evidence of humanities brokenness. At the very least it is obvious that no one lives up to his or her potential, and our brokenness is manifestly expressed in our relationships. Even persons with healthy relationships are unable to satisfy their deepest relational needs because human beings are created to live in a different world and in deeper relationships with one another that are grounded in their deepest relationship with God. The good news is that the deep sense you have that you are something special, is true. The sense of belonging you hunger for is not a vain fantasy but a connection to your innate knowledge of your "natural environment" and your natural habitat no longer exists. Yet, the opportunity to join in that centrally vital relationship with God does still exist that is good news.
Third, God is, in a sense, at the center of both our problem and solution. God is the central problem in that our broken relationship with Him is our deepest problem; thus, being reconciled to God is the foundational relationship of all relationships. However, I can no more invite myself into God's inner circle than I can invite myself into the President's Cabinet, in addition to the fact that I am simply not qualified. Thus, the invitation for relationship and the motivation for relationship must be from God to us.
This third area is when the Good News all comes together at a single point, because God is the solution. The world God created and intended was good, and was the perfect context for relationships - love. When humanity rejected God's love, the foundation of the world cracked leaving humanity and creation separated from God. But God does love us, and provided for our reconciliation. His love and provision is still pictured in creation and can be seen even though the glass is cracked and the frame is damaged. Further, we can have hope because He has promised to remake the world and set all things rights our native habitat will be restored. In short, our habitat is union with God and interconnectedness with other people, mutually engaged in meaningful relationships and work in creation.
With respect to humanity, God loves us (i.e. motivated); so, He takes the initiative to invite us back into relationship with Him, and He provides qualification for His inner circle at great cost. When humanity separated from God, we were separated from the source of life - God Himself. So, God became a human being (Jesus) and poured His infinite life out on a cross, so as to make His life available to all who would receive it. To receive it is both difficult and easy; you simply trade your dying life for His undying life by asking for His life as a free gift. Although He pays for it all (easy), it is humbling to trade in one's life and forsake all of one's own efforts of being accepted (difficult). God simply loves us, we simply receive His love and His life. Wow! That is Good News.
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