In a world of bad news...
...there is hope.
What is the
A World in Chaos
Our world today seems to be filled with nothing but bad news. A global pandemic, escalating crime rates, one crisis after another...and an inescapable feeling that death could be just around the corner for any of us. But in a world that seems full of nothing but bad news...THERE IS HOPE.
Before we get to the good news, brace yourself for a little more bad news. It's an undisputed fact that every single one of us will eventually die. Death could take hold of you in five years, fifty years, or tomorrow. Your time could come at any moment.
Consider how many precautions you’ve probably taken to protect your physical health during the pandemic. And yet, how often have you stopped to think about where you’re going when you die?
The Bible says, "It is appointed for man once to die, and after that comes the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27). We’re given one life to live - no second chances.
The God You May Not Know
Many people have their own pre-conceptions of God, and if you've ever attended a church, even the pastor may shy away from the warnings found in Scripture about Judgement Day. But despite our own personal feelings or what many pastors today choose to leave out of their sermons - you need to understand the truth. The Bible is absolutely clear that this Judgement Day IS coming, and it will determine what happens to you in eternity. If you're found innocent on that day, you will be granted eternal life in a never-ending paradise, called "Heaven." If you're found guilty, you will face eternal judgement in a place of endless torment, called "Hell" (Luke 16:19-31).
No rest...no relief...for all eternity.
Jesus even warns that people who claim to serve God with their lips, but don't follow Him with their hearts will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Many people might say they're Christians, but listen to the sobering words of Jesus in Matthew 7.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23)
A popular question is, “how could an all-loving God create Hell?” While God certainly is love (1 John 4:8), that is not His only characteristic. He’s also just and righteous. A just judge won’t turn a blind eye to criminals who have broken the law, and God will not turn a blind eye to sin. And above all, He is “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3) - the only attribute of God proclaimed three times for emphasis. Because God is holy, sinful human beings can never enter His presence. And because God is the infinite Creator of the universe - the punishment for those who rebel against Him is infinite, as well.
The Bible says that one day, He is going to judge the whole world to decide who is going to Heaven, and who is going to Hell. What are the standards for this eternal judgment? Absolute moral perfection.
So...how will YOU measure up on Judgement Day?
Because we’re made in the image of God - our purpose is to glorify Him through our obedience. In the book of Exodus (beginning in Chapter 20), we see God’s standard for judgement: the Ten Commandments.
Keep in mind that Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
Have you ever told a lie, even a little one? If someone lied to you, you’d consider them a liar. In the same way, if we tell a single lie, we’re guilty of being a liar. The Bible says that "lying lips are an abomination to God" (Proverbs 12:22). We aren't accurately representing God to the world when we tell lies, because He does not lie (Titus 1:2).
Have you ever taken God's name in vain? Carelessly saying "OMG," "Oh, Lord," etc., as if the name of the Creator of the universe is nothing more than a word to express disgust? If so, then you're guilty of what the Bible calls "blasphemy." Isn’t it interesting that so many in the world who even claim to reject the existence of God still feel compelled to use His name in vain? It’s just further evidence that the Bible understands the corruption of our human hearts.
Have you ever dishonored your parents? At times, we all have.
Maybe you've never committed adultery - but listen to the words of Jesus. He said, "he who looks with lust, has already committed adultery in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). Ever done that? If so, you're guilty.
Have you ever hated someone? Perhaps you’ve never committed murder - but Jesus said that even silent hatred is murder of the heart. Even the invisible act of jealousy breaks one of the commandments. Jealousy implies that God has not been kind enough to you, and that He somehow owes you more than all the blessings He's given you in your life.
The Worst News of All
We've not even covered the whole list yet - but you are not alone. We’ve ALL broken these commandments. Romans says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)." This means none of us could ever claim to get to Heaven by being a "good person."
A criminal can't expect an overturned guilty verdict simply because he gives to charity and has helped his neighbor mow their lawn - and in the same way, the God who sees and knows every sin we've ever committed doesn't tip the scales of justice simply because we try our best to be nice.
James 2:10 says if we break even one commandment, it's as if we've broken them all.
So here's the problem: by the time we've learned about these commandments, we've already broken them! What does that say about us?
First, it says we're not naturally good people. If we were good enough for Heaven on our own, we would never need God. Contrary to much of what the world and even most modern churches would say, we are actually very bad people when left in our natural state; hopelessly drawn to the opposite of what God's desire is for us. And what is God’s desire for us? To glorify Him by loving Him and obeying His commands (John 14:15, 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Why is it so hard for us to trust and obey God’s Word? And why do we even feel outraged at the thought of being called out for sin?
Our hearts are so corrupt that the Bible describes us as being dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). Sure, we are capable of doing nice things for people: being polite, even donating money to charities or going to church our entire lives...but those good deeds could never begin to erase our debt of sin. The Bible says our hearts are deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We think we are moral and good when, in reality, we are not. We deceive ourselves when we try to cover up or ignore our sin. The Bible says that our very best attempts to please God are as valuable to Him as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Why? Because God is holy and we are not.
The Bible says that God’s Law has been written on our hearts, so we intuitively know right from wrong - and yet, countless times, we ignore our conscience and choose what is wrong. The word “conscience” actually means “with knowledge.” God has given each of us the knowledge of right and wrong. Our conscience has a purpose - it operates like a smoke detector, convicting us when we’ve done wrong - alerting us that we have sinned against God. And yet, our sinful nature wrestles against the warnings of our conscience and seeks to suppress the right and true conviction of our sinful behavior. The book of Romans says that we "suppress the truth in unrighteousness."
What can we say? How can we justify ourselves?
We only have two choices. We can agree with God's assessment of our helpless sinful state and throw ourselves at His mercy...
...or disagree with Him and turn our backs in complete prideful rebellion.
There is no other option.
Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God.’” It would be foolish to ignore a smoke alarm going off in your house, and even more foolish to remove its batteries. Don’t ignore your God-given conscience that tells you He exists, and that you need to have your sins forgiven. You need to be made right with your Creator. Your conscience is a gift from God that points you to Him for salvation.
ARE YOU A FALSE CHRISTIAN?
"This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
1 John 1:5-10
Did you know there are TRUE and FALSE Christians?
A message the majority of Christian churches didn't begin teaching until the last several decades is that you simply need to pray a prayer to "ask Jesus into your heart" - then they imply you can live your life however you want after that, never again questioning your salvation.
But is that biblical?
Chances are pretty good you even prayed that prayer in a Sunday School class or another church event as a child or even an adult. You may have even led others in this prayer or been baptized.
But we must ask the question - is this prayer found in scripture? Is the aim of the Christian life simply to pray a single prayer - and there's nothing more to it?
Remember, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
In Matthew 13, Jesus gives several examples to explain the reality of true and false conversion, such as the parable of wheat and tares. Although the wheat and tares grew together in a field, they were gathered up at the end of the season, then separated - the wheat was taken safely into a barn, and the tares were collected and thrown into a fire.
The Book of Matthew describes Judgement Day and the separation of Christians and false Christians/non-believers as a shepherd separating "sheep" and "goats." Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28).
Which side will you be on when this Judgement Day comes?
Ask yourself these questions:
•Am I grieved over my sin because I have sinned against God?
•Do I have a desire to study God's Word? When was the last time I even read the Bible?
•Do I have a desire to grow and fellowship with God's people in a local church?
•Do I want to run from sin?
•Am I compelled to follow worldy ideologies, or am I compelled to follow Christ - regardless of what others may think?
Maybe you've "prayed the prayer" like most people - but have you truly been
When someone is a TRUE Christian, a radical change occurs in your heart - where you suddenly hate the sin you once loved, and you desire to live in accordance and complete submission to God's Word. You want to follow His voice, no matter the cost. This is an inward change brought about by the Holy Spirit - the Bible calls this being "born again" - and it's the only way to know you've been truly saved, because there will be a drastic change in your desires and behavior.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:17
When we are born again, we are saved not only from Hell - but saved from our sinful desires that once ruled over us. Our desires have changed so that we want to do what is right.
If sin does not bother you, it's very likely you have never been truly saved in the first place, because you were never born again - it is vitally important that you examine your heart right now to understand you are in grave danger.
Our hearts are corrupted by sin because we inherited the sinful nature of Adam, when he committed the very first sin of disobeying God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) - despite God's warning to Him of the consequences. God cursed the Earth because of Adam's sin, and allowed the spiritual and physical corruption of sin to enter this once-perfect world, which is why we are plagued by death and despair.
God's Word says that apart from Him, we can do nothing good (John 15:5). Nothing that pleases Him can come from us in this fallen state, because we aren't yielding to Him the glory that He is due from us, as we are His Creation. He is the only reason we even exist.
Every sin is a big deal, because it is a sin against the Ruler of the Universe. Every breath you've ever taken, every meal you've ever tasted - every single good thing you've ever enjoyed in life, including your family and friends - it's all from God's gracious hand (James 1:17). Each moment we’re given is a testament to God’s mercy and patience with us, while every sin we commit is nothing but an act of rebellion against this gracious and infinite God.
How can we change to love what is right, instead of loving what is wrong? We need a new nature. A new heart that isn't corrupted by sin. Not only that, but we also need our past sins to be erased. We need to be "born again" (John 3). We need God's grace and intervention to save us. Apart from that, we are hopelessly lost in our sin and headed for an eternity in Hell.
So, we've seen that if we were to stand before God on our own, we would be without excuse for our sin. It doesn't matter how much we try to be a good person, because even our best deeds can't remove the stains of sin that are already on our hearts.
We talked about God being holy and just - but God is also loving, kind, and merciful. Proving His love and kindness, God sent Jesus, His one and only Son, to take on human flesh and walk the earth, living a perfectly sinless life. He never lied, never looked with lust, never hated, never stole, and always honored God the Father. He taught God's Laws and commanded everyone to turn from sin and place their faith in Him for salvation so they could be saved from Hell.
At only 33 years of age, Jesus was crucified on a cross, even though He had done no wrong. He bore the full wrath of God the Father against sin. Then, three days later, Jesus rose from the grave, defeating death, and ascended into Heaven where He sits awaiting the day God the Father tells Him it's time to gather His people.
Jesus' death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice. His life was not taken from Him - He willingly laid it down (John 10:18). By giving His life freely for all those who would ever put their trust in Him, He satisfied the wrath of God against sin and took our place on that cross. When we turn from our sin and trust Christ, not only are our sins forgiven, but the perfect obedience of Jesus is credited to us. This is the good news of the Gospel!
Just as a criminal can be released if his fine is paid, Jesus paid for our crimes by giving His life on the cross. He did this so our sin could be justly dealt with by God, and so that anyone who turns from their sin and trusts Christ alone for salvation can be forgiven and experience eternal life in Heaven with Him.
There has never been a kinder act done for anyone in all the world - and this offer of forgiveness and truly amazing grace is extended to you right now, in this very moment.
The Bible says, "man makes his plans but God ordains His steps" (Proverbs 16:9). In His complete sovereignty, God has seen fit that you read this message. He is offering you kindness and mercy. I plead with you, dear friend, do not reject Him. Don't harden your heart to the love, compassion, and forgiveness Christ freely gives to all who call on His name. You could die at any moment and perish in your sins. Today is the day of salvation. Run to the Savior, turn from your sinful ways, and stop trusting in yourself or your own works to save you. He promises to give you a new heart with new desires through the power of the Holy Spirit. He will change you so that it's not a burden to follow Him. You will actually want to do what's right. It will change your family, it will change your friendships, and it will change you.
Do not be deceived - you may very well have been living your life as a false Christian, thinking you are saved when you are not. Christianity is not about a one-time "magic prayer" - it's about complete surrender to Christ as Lord over your life.
We don't pursue righteousness to earn our way to Heaven or to be self-righteous - we pursue righteousness to honor our King who was so kind to give His life to save us.
To surrender your life to Christ is no small thing. Surrender implies that you recognize you were in a battle against God. You were on the wrong side. But by His grace, you see that there is no hope for your salvation apart from Him. You need His forgiveness to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
Surrender means letting go of a worldview that is unbiblical and selfish. It means embracing God’s Word as completely true and the highest authority in your life. You may have been raised with a secular worldview or a Christian one that you walked away from, and this message has challenged you to think you may very well have never been saved to begin with. Simply praying a prayer or walking an aisle does not make you a follower of Christ. Only by turning from sin and trusting in Christ for salvation are we made right with God.
Study God's Word with an open mind - read what it has to say, and see if these claims are true. Find a church that does expository preaching (this is faithful preaching from the full context of God's Word). As you grow in the knowledge of the Bible, it will transform and strengthen you to know, love, and serve God with all your heart.
Jesus said, "whoever is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). Don't make yourself an enemy of God by being complacent with living contrary to His Word, or by trying to straddle the fence between living for the world and living for Christ. The Bible warns, "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31), and that if we are lukewarm, He will spew us out of His mouth on the Day of Judgement (Revelation 3:16).
Humble yourself before God and He will change you and give you a new nature, with new desires to love righteousness instead of darkness. He will bring your soul from death to life. And while we aren't promised wealth, health, or worldly happiness, you can experience the greatest PEACE of all every single day, knowing you'd sinned against the very King of the universe, and yet, He picked you up, rescued you from your sin, forgave you, made you new, and brought you into His Kingdom - all by the gracious sacrifice of Christ on the cross to demonstrate His great love for you.
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
Questions about Christianity? We recommend visiting Ligonier Ministries'
free live chat service, where people are standing by to answer your questions on theology and Christian living (available 24 hours a day, Monday-Saturday).
Another great resource is GotQuestions.org.
While we recommend these resources, WhatIsTheGoodNews.org is not affiliated with the aforementioned websites.
No matter how bad things get, this message of good news brings endless hope, love, and peace to a world that is lost, confused, and desperately in need of being reconciled to its Maker.
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"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."