Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land (Proverbs 25:25, NIV)
I have good news to share with you. You know what it is like to receive a letter from an old friend or a phone call from one you love. The fond memories evoked can leap the barrier of years and miles and bring the one so distant into your very presence. How much more rewarding is it when the occasion of the communication is to share good news.
The good news I have for you comes from a far country. That country is none else than Heaven, the abode of God. God has something He wants you to know that He has revealed in the Bible. It is a message of amazing grace and love. The God who made us is interested in us. Imagine that! God cares for people like you and I!
God's interest in us is even more astounding when we realize how badly we have treated Him. There is not a person alive who has not at times looked upon God with indifference or hostility. We all stand guilty when it comes to giving God His rightful place in our lives.
What is so bad about living life without giving much thought to God? Isn't religion a private matter, a personal preference? Am I not free to live as I please without anyone telling me what to do, as long as I don't harm anyone?
When it comes to God, that Someone that is being ignored or disdained is the very One Who has given us health, life, and all things that we enjoy. We rightly look upon a disrespectful and ungrateful teenager with disapproval. Especially, is this true, when the rebellion is toward selfless parents who truly love their wayward child and who have sought to do the very best for him. Why is it that we fail to see the great wrong being done by those who rebel against God? We are all His offspring, but what a wayward lot we are. What did God do about this?
The justice of God would bring us to the place where we reap the consequences of our sinful choices. A life apart from God, with its disregard of His guidance leads to misery and heartache. In the inexperience of youth, one often lacks the foresight to see the results of present choices, but once one is older it is easier to see wrong choices made and be filled with regret. What a sad lament is, "If only I _________ "(fill in the blank).
The "good news" is that God, although He is just, is also merciful. He has come with a heart of compassion to fix what is broken, to heal the broken hearted, to give a new life, a new start. He has come with forgiveness and the promise of a new beginning.
Where do you stand at this moment? Are you reaping the consequences of poor choices or do you know something of the life-giving mercy of God? Do you wish that you could start with a clean slate? Do you have before you the hope of a better tomorrow?
There is a familiar story in the Bible known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the story, a son turns his back on a loving father and goes off into the world in pursuit of his dreams. He has thrown off all former restraints and does what he wants to do when he wants to do it. Before long, the supposed "good life" he sought turns sour. In the midst of great hardship, he came to himself and turned his heart toward home. He realized what was missing. He thought of the security he formerly had at home because of the love and care of his father.
So what did the prodigal do? He went home. He confessed his sins and found his father's welcome, embrace, and forgiveness.
You know what it is like to wrong someone and then feel the wall that comes between you and the one that you wronged. Is there a wall between you and God? Wouldn't you rather experience His favor? There is forgiveness waiting for all those who come to God and confess to Him their waywardness and sin.
If you committed a crime, those whom you wronged may forgive you, but that would not necessarily mean that you are free to go. There are consequences to actions. Criminals when they stand before the judge, if found guilty are sentenced. There is a penalty for wrongdoing. It could be jail time, payment of restitution, or even death.
The "good news" of God found in the Bible is not only that He is willing to forgive, but that He will bear the penalty for the sin committed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6, NIV)
Even though we have gone our own way, God as the Good Shepherd, has sought us. Though the penalty for sin is death, God, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came into the world and paid the penalty on our behalf.
Jesus came into the world to save us. In place of death, He gave us life.
Listen to the Bible:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23, NIV)
God made him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)
In this verse we find that God exchanges our "unrighteousness" [our lack of doing right, sin] for Christ's "righteousness."
We are made right with God not by the "good" things we do, because we could never be good enough. We need God to intervene and do for us that which was impossible for us to do. Christ came into the world to rectify the wrong done by you and I.
This is how Jesus came to save us. This is the good news. Do you believe it?
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life " (John 3:16)
Friend, there is a new life, a new beginning for you, if you will turn from your sinful life devoid of God and turn toward God. Ask Him to forgive you. He will. Believe that Jesus has come to pay the penalty for your sins and you will not experience the death that comes after death (Hell). Instead you will experience eternal life with God which will bring you at the close of this life to heaven itself. Best of all God will no longer be an adversary to you, but your most intimate friend. He will speak to you through the Bible and you will speak to Him through prayer. You need not fear what tomorrow may bring, because in God you trust. You will find Him to be faithful and true to His word.
Remember, you can't be good enough of your own effort. You need One to rescue you. That One has come. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that is good news!