The Good, Good News
Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming the "year of the Lord's favor." Spell that, o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y. In other words, Good news! The time is now. The grace of God has come. Be of profoundly good cheer, my friends. If you believe in the One who proclaimed this message ("he spoke with authority"), salvation has come to you. Go forth singing. There is now no condemnation. It has been taken out of the way.
A few days back one of my readers sent me this article. It's all about preaching the Good News to yourself every day. As you know, that's my thing. It's a great and very practical message. I highly recommend it.
The apostle Paul blesses the Corinthians, at the end of his first letter to that church, with these words:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.Note the order of things here. It may be significant.
First, "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." Spend some time thinking about that, why don't you. The Good News must be received as grace (that is, free of charge and undeserved): that's the starting point. If you receive it as payment, as if you could deserve it, or if you receive it as something you will have to pay for by means of your own future good works, or if you receive it as something that comes by some other means than Christ "and Him crucified," then I'm afraid you have not received it at all.
Then comes, "the love of God." Can you ever truly grasp the love of God if at first you have not considered that it is totally by grace, tested and proven at the Cross? Can you truly comprehend the length and breadth and height and depth of God's love if you have not first settled the fact that it is offered purely and simply as a gift?
And then . . . and only then . . . the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. If you are crying out for power, crying out for the Spirit . . . if you want to be used for the Kingdom and have the gifts of the Spirit stirred up in you . . . perhaps you need to go by way of the grace of Jesus and the love of God. In other words, the good news. When you were steeped in your sin, Christ put off immortality, took on flesh and went to his death at the hands of evil man, so that you might be called a child of God. Glory only in this. And then see what God will do!