This is the second installment of a series highlighting an expansive gospel. To review, some folks define the gospel very narrowly as “Jesus died to save you from your sins,” and while this is true; it’s not the whole truth.
One of the reasons the good news gets lost on many people is that a narrow gospel lacks context– especially for people who are far from God or unfamiliar with the story of Jesus. Proclaiming “Good news! Jesus died for your sins!” fails to sound like good news when heard by people who lack context. This would be akin to declaring, “Good news! Mr. Smith agreed!” Everyone within earshot of such “news” would wonder, Who is Mr. Smith? What did he agree to? With whom did he agree? What’s this agreement have to do with me? Is this agreement good for the one sharing the good news or others or everyone?
Today, I’d like to provide some gospel context by extending the good news of the gospel to its most foundational message: “Good news! There’s a God”
Now let’s be honest, some people think this is bad news. After all, if there is a God, this may require something of me and I may not want to meet the requirements. Or this God may not fit my definition of “good” and this God may be a malevolent force exerting malice in the universe. Ouch.
Rest assured, the fact of God’s existence is not bad news; it’s good news. Here’s why. If you’ve ever thought deeply for more than half a minute, you’ve wondered if there is order, meaning, or purpose to the universe. You’ve wondered if your life, the lives of those you love, or anything about this world really matters. You’ve wondered if death is the end. You’ve wondered if there is more. The good news is that God is the One who is beyond time and space, beyond life and death, beyond life’s ups and downs.
God created all that is, and this means there is a foundation, a certainty, and a hope that is solid. The good news is that God exists outside of time and space since those were created by God. This is such good news because it means your life – all of life – rests on God. The good news is that Someone is there.
Too often it seems that our world lacks any point of reference. We live in a constant quest to find the truth, but it seems the quest is really just a battle of opinions that lacks a referee. Who’s to say who’s wrong and who’s right? Who’s to say what is good and what is evil? Who’s to say whether giving your life to loving those closest to you and caring for the rest of the planet is any more valid than spewing hate and trying to violate others for your own gain or guilty pleasures?
Without God, the strong impose their will on the weak. What is right gets determined by majority vote (if the majority rules) or by minority edict (if the minority wields power over the masses). Without God, might makes right.
The gospel starts with the refreshing and hopeful news that God is. God is there not just to make wrongs right, but also to establish what is right. God is there to bring us out of the disorienting darkness (chaos) and into the light where we can finally know that there is such a thing as truth, that we can know the truth, and that we can live accordingly. God is our reference point.
Next week we’ll explore what God is like, but for now, just rest in the good news that God is. Here are some questions to help you do just that:
· Imagine a universe with no ordering reality. What does such as universe stir up in you?
· Even if you don’t believe in God, what would God’s existence mean for your life?
· What preconceived notions about God inform your reaction to the good news that there is a God?
· What comfort or discomfort does God’s existence bring to you?
· How does the reality of God bring order, meaning and purpose to your life?