There is good news for fallen humanity
What is this good news? God is willing to forgive our sins! The Scriptures
reveal what God has done so He can forgive sinful people without
compromising His own righteousness.
God made man upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29); He created man in His own
image (Genesis 1:27). But sin entered the world through Adam
(Romans 5:12) and now: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God (Romans 3:23). Sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2). The
wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
God remedies this sad situation by assigning His righteousness to people
on the basis of their faith, and by allowing His sinless Son to suffer the
penalty for the sins of mankind in their stead.
None of Gods servants in the Old Testament were without sin. But they
trusted and obeyed God. This is called living by faith. The just shall live
by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4).
This has a twofold meaning. A servant of God lives his life on the basis
of his faith (he does not draw back but believes to the saving of the soul
- Hebrews 10:37-39) and God gives him life on the basis of his faith
(not on the basis of his own righteousness - Galatians 3:11). He lives by
his faith and he lives by his faith! God enhances and upgrades his faith
Paul refers to this double meaning when he states that in the gospel the
righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The
just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17).
For example: Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. ... Noah was a
just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God (Genesis
6:8, 9). Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he
did (Genesis 6:22). Although Noah lived an exemplary life based on his
faith, he was not without sin. He needed the grace of God and God was
gracious to him because of his faith.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with
godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he
condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is
according to faith (Hebrews 11:7). Because Noah based his life on faith,
he became an heir of the righteousness God gives to believers.
In the tenth generation after Noah, a man lived whose name was
Abraham. He believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for
righteousness (Genesis 15:6). God promised Abraham that all nations
would be blessed by one of his descendants (Genesis 22:18; Galatians
3:16). Paul says that the gospel (the good news) was preached to
Abraham when God gave him this promise (Galatians 3:8). Jesus said,
Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad (John
By faith Abraham obeyed (Hebrews 11:8). When God passed this
promise on to Abrahams son, Isaac, He explained: In your seed all the
nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice
and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws
(Genesis 26:4, 5). Although Abraham lived a life of faithful obedience, he
was not without sin. But faith was accounted to Abraham for
righteousness (Romans 4:9). God booked Abrahams faith as
Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons whose descendants
became the twelve tribes of Israel. Four hundred years after the time of
Abraham, the Israelites had become a numerous people as foreigners in
Egypt, but also an enslaved people.
They prayed for help and God sent Moses to rescue them from slavery.
Moses was the liberator and law-giver of Israel. He said God would send
them another Prophet, a (liberator and law-giver) like himself, and that
only those who listened to that Prophet would be Gods people
(Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:22, 23; Acts 7:37).
About 500 years after the exodus from Egypt, David became the second
king of Israel. Because of Davids faith, God promised that he would have
a descendent who would establish an eternal kingdom of peace and
righteousness (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 2:44).
Through the centuries God sent prophets who predicted the coming of
this King, referred to as the Messiah or the Christ, which means the
Successive powerful kingdoms were established by the Babylonians, by
the Medes and Persians, by the Greeks and by the Romans. About 1000
years after the death of King David, when Augustus was emperor of
Rome, a baby boy was born to a virgin by the power of Gods Spirit. His
name was Jesus. On the day of His birth an angel declared that He was
the promised King: For there is born to you this day in the city of David
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
About 30 years later John the Baptist began to preach that the great King
was coming. To get ready, people were to repent and be baptized for the
forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4).
When Jesus was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit came upon Him and
God testified from heaven: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased (Matthew 3:16, 17). John the Baptist testified: Behold! The
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).
During three years Jesus performed miracles and preached the good news
that the kingdom of God soon would come with power (Mark 9:1). His
powerful teachings and His miracles confirmed that He was the promised
The prophets had foretold that the Christ would suffer, that He would be
rejected by His own people, and that He would be killed. These
prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
The Jewish leaders were jealous because Jesus was popular with the
people. They imprisoned Him and turned Him over to Pilate, the Roman
governor, to be crucified. Pilate wanted to release Jesus because he knew
that He was innocent. But under pressure he gave in to the cries of the
mob, and had Him crucified.
Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, He did not have to die as
punishment for sins of His own. He said, Therefore My Father loves Me,
because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from
Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have
power to take it again (John 10:17, 18).
As the sinless Son of God, Jesus could have called more than twelve
thousand angels to rescue Him (Matthew 26:53). But He allowed himself
to be crucified to endure the punishment for the sins of mankind, He
bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
Jesus died to free us from the grasp of sin and death. His sacrifice
enables God to forgive our sins without compromising His righteousness.
Gods justice demands that sin be punished. He sent His own Son to meet
this requirement in our stead.
When Jesus died, His followers thought He had failed. They had not
understood the predictions of the prophets and of Jesus himself. Not only
would Christ die, He would also rise from the grave! (Psalm 16:8-11).
The Lord is risen indeed! (Luke 24:34). To the apostles He presented
Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by
them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the
kingdom of God (Acts 1:2, 3). He was seen by over five hundred
brethren at once (1 Corinthians 15:6).
After His resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven and took His place at
the right hand of His Father. Before He ascended into heaven, He
commanded His followers: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who
does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:15, 16). They were to tell
the whole world that God is willing to forgive sinful people if they believe
in Jesus, turn away from a life of sin, and become His disciples.
Jesus said, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to
suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and
remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning
at Jerusalem (Luke 24:46, 47).
Ten days after Jesus went back to His Father, the Holy Spirit came upon
the apostles at Jerusalem. They proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ. When
the hearers realized that they had crucified the promised King, they were
cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and
brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let
every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts
2:37, 38). Those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that
day about three thousand souls were added to them (Acts 2:41). Gods
salvation had come. There was good news for fallen man.
The believers went everywhere preaching the good news of salvation by
the blood of Christ. They proclaimed that God commands all men
everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Those who believed were baptized to
wash away their sins (Acts 22:16).
Baptism is an immersion in water as a participation in the death, burial
and resurrection of Jesus: Or do you not know that as many of us as
were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore
we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also
should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3, 4).
Now, two thousand years later, millions call themselves Christians, but
are they real followers of Christ? Jesus said: Many false prophets will rise
up and deceive many (Matthew 24:11). Paul said it is not good news
when people accept a different gospel, when people pervert the gospel
of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).
In our time, most of those who claim to be Christians, follow traditions
and dogmas of men rather than the gospel of Christ. They are like people
God described in earlier times: In vain they worship Me, teaching as
doctrines the commandments of men (Mark 7:7). Such people reject
Gods good news of salvation and replace it with a man-made imitation.
Baptism of believers by immersion for the forgiveness of sins is replaced
by rituals that are worthless because they are different from the baptism
Jesus commanded. A valid baptism must be based on personal faith and a
personal decision to turn away from sin and follow Christ. It must be
based on the same good news preached by Christ and His apostles.
Although apostate people have perverted many aspects of the original
faith, Gods word does not change. The good news of salvation by the
blood of Christ is just as powerful today as it was in the first century.
People who believe in Jesus and repent of their sins, who confess their
faith in Christ, who are baptized for the forgiveness of sins, are saved by
the grace of God. Their faith is imputed to them by God as righteousness
(Romans 4:11, 24).
Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him (Hebrews
5:9). The promise is for all. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord
shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under
heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
This is good news for sinful people like us!
Do you want to be forgiven by God and to inherit eternal life? Turn away
from sin! Believe in Jesus! Confess your faith and be baptized in His name
for the forgiveness of your sins! Then you will be sanctified, made holy,
and dedicated to God. You will be a citizen of Gods kingdom, a member
of His church. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive