Monday, January 22, 2007

Galatians 1:1-17

The prospect of receiving good news sounds good, does it not? Yet what constitutes good news? In ordinary human terms, good news for one person or group may not figure as good news for another person or group. Consider sporting contests. A win for one team means good news for its fans but bad news for the other team’s fans. Far more seriously, for people or nations in conflict, victory comes as good news for one side but bad news for the other.

Around the early 50s A.D., Paul wrote to the Christian communities in Galatia, a region in Asia Minor (now Turkey). He scolded them for turning from the true gospel or good news to a different gospel. In fact Paul rejected that other “gospel” as good news at all. There is only one true gospel. There are not two or more sets of good news depending on our human perspective.

The true message of good news, captured by Paul in verse 4, is this: that Jesus “gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” This and this alone – Jesus’ sacrificial death to save us and our world from sin and evil – is gospel for you and me and all people. No other message purporting to be good news and salvation – whether religious, philosophical, political, psychological, financial, or scientific – really and truly measures up as gospel for us.

This then – the message of Jesus’ death on the cross as full, sufficient, and perfect saving grace – is God’s good news to us and for us. This is not good news in the ordinary human sense. Because this good news comes from God, it is not good news for one person or group but no news or bad news for another person or group. It is good news for all people and all groups.

It is truly good because God creates and knows us as we do not even know ourselves. He knows what we need when we do not know or care. God provides us the good news we truly need in the form we truly need it: Jesus’ death on the cross to rescue us from our sins and the world’s evil.

Let us never turn from this good news. It alone is true. It alone is truly good. It alone saves us, to the glory of God for ever and ever.

Gregory Strong

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