Summary: The good news is that Jesus has taken the sins of His people upon Himself, and that they are clothed with His righteousness.
GOSPEL SALVATION FOR A REBELLIOUS WORLD
We all like good news, and we welcome messengers with happy words.
The Old Testament prophesies:
‘How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion:
Your God reigns!’
The Apostle Paul had such a message. It was a demonstration of God’s righteousness. It was an announcement of salvation for those who had offended God. It was a proclamation of peace between God and man. It was a message of good news.
Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” The Apostle was not ashamed, because the message of the gospel is infused with the power of God’s word. In the beginning God just spoke a word, and all things were created. Through the gospel God also speaks the word, and it carries within it the power to save those who believe its message.
It demonstrates that quality of God which we call ‘righteousness.’ It shows His activity in putting right the wrong relationship which exists between God and sinful man. Above all, the gospel teaches us how the believer is made righteous with the righteousness of Christ. We need the gospel to save us from the anger of God against sin.
Paul says, ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).
God’s anger is not like man’s anger. We are prone to sudden changes of mood. God’s anger is a righteous anger, based in His holiness. God’s anger is directed against all kinds of evil.
Another prophet has said,
‘You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness’ (Habakkuk 1:13).
We all know that there is a God, because we are constantly surrounded by His creation. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God,’ says King David (Psalm 19:1).
In heaven the created beings cry:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!’
Yet man seeks to live without acknowledging the only true God. Man suppresses the truth of God, and exchanges that truth for a lie. Instead of worshipping the Creator, man makes idols representing created things, and worships them. Those who do such things, teaches Paul, are without excuse.
God’s present judgment against mankind is seen in His turning them over to all kinds of lusts and perversions, and even beyond that to the diseases which arise from their perversions. When we refuse to live according to our knowledge of God, God leaves us to the consequences of our sins.
Paul speaks of greed and murder, of hating God and being disobedient to parents. He lists a total of twenty-one sins. We all know that those who commit such things are worthy of death, ‘for the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23).
There is such a thing as human conscience. Yet not only does man commit these sins, but he delights in other men who commit them.
This paints a very grim picture of the plight of man. God has revealed His eternal power and divine nature through the Creation. God has revealed His wrath against those who suppress their knowledge of Him.
But the good news is that Jesus has taken the sins of His people upon Himself, and that they are clothed with His righteousness. ‘Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25).
God reveals His power by saving us from our sins when we believe in Jesus. ‘For He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What must a person do to be put right with God? ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved’ (Acts 16:31). We must put our trust in Jesus as the only Saviour of sinners: ‘There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12).