The Best News That Has Ever Been Published
With tears of joy brimming in her eyes and blurring her vision, the woman gazed at the letter which had been placed in her hands by the man at the Red Cross office. The letter was dated only a few weeks before. Her son, from whom the letter came, had been reported "killed in action" long sad months before. The news was that her son was alive and safe. That was good news.
Just minutes before the man was to take the last long walk he received word that the governor had pardoned him. That to that man was the good news. Someone receives word that his stocks have risen; another hears that he has inherited a large sum of money. The doctor tells the relatives that a loved one will recover. Such is good news. It is real good news to the individual involved.
Early in the morning August 14, 1945, the news reporters began announcing the end of World War Two and then at seven o'clock in the evening President Truman officially announced that it was over. That was to those who had lived through the war about the best news possible. After three years, eight months, and twenty-five days (for the United States) of fear, hate, anxiety, grief, sacrifice, and five hundred eighty four thousand dead, (this is people we are talking about — 584,000 people killed) from the U.S., Great Britain, Canada and other dominions, to say nothing of the dead Germans, Japanese, etc., the war was over. "Everybody" was glad. Gladness and joy was the key note of that day. People were not ashamed to let their neighbors see that they were happy.
This recitation of "good news" or "glad tidings" could go on and on but the relating of these things is not simply to remind in order to provide the pleasure of reliving those wonderful moments in our minds but to illustrate the nature of good news and see what place it occupies in the lives of individuals and nations, and lead you to thinking of the best news.
"The gospel (good news or glad tidings) of your salvation" is the best news ever published. Its subject is incomparable and its reach is the greatest. The possibility of personal salvation for everybody in all the world for every age is the good news which should have the attention of every responsible person.
"Gospel" means "good news or glad tidings." The gospel of our salvation is the news which we have in mind in selecting the subject for this article. The gospel of salvation has three fundamental propositions — the death of Christ for man's sins, his burial and his resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:1-4) But where is the good news in this?
The fact of the death suffered by Jesus on the cross is certainly not news which would cause a normal person to be glad; it is the design of that death which provides grounds for gladness. By his death, Christ made remission of sins available. This death however would not have accomplished the magnificent design had the one who died remained in the grave. The efficacy of the blood shed in that death was established by the resurrection from the dead. Jesus, although "born of the seed of David according to the flesh," was more than flesh — he was "declared to be the Son of God....by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:4) It is readily seen that "if Christ hath not been raised," the news or tidings of the gospel cannot be thought of as good or glad. If Christ hath not been raised the tidings in the New Testament rank among the most cruel and cynical hoaxes ever concocted by evil forces. "But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep." (1 Cor. 15:20) "The word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation" is well supported by the testimony of fully qualified witnesses so that we can joyfully exclaim with the apostle, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 15:57)
The "glad tidings" recorded in the book which we call the New Testament is said to be "the power of God unto Salvation." (Rom. 1:16) This conviction enabled the apostle to confidently and eagerly anticipate opportunities to preach it. He said, "As much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome." (Rom. 1:15)
In the gospel is revealed the divine scheme of righteousness (justification). "For therein is revealed a righteousness of God...." (Rom. 1:17) No work revealed in the gospel is a work of man's righteousness. All will be acknowledged as a righteousness of God by those who "trust in Jehovah with all (their) heart and lean not upon (their) own understanding." Many of the Jews of Paul's day failed at this point. "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God." (Rom. 10:2, 3) Their ignorance of God's righteousness was their failure to acknowledge that the things revealed in the gospel were "a righteousness of God." A righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel but some today like the Jews of old are unwilling to submit to these revealed things and go about to establish a righteousness of their own. The modern day "zeal without knowledge" groups rant and rail at God's appointments. They make light of those who submit to the righteousness of God. They speak scornfully of such appointments of God as baptism, eating the Lord's supper, etc.
What, exactly, is it to fail to submit or subject oneself to the righteousness of God? What did the Jews of Paul's day fail to do when they "failed to subject themselves to the righteousness of God"? It was said by the apostles that their ignorance of God's righteousness resulted in efforts to establish their own and in failing to submit themselves to the righteousness of God. The word from which "submit" or "subject" in Rom. 10:3 is translated means "to subject oneself, to obey, be subject to." From this it is seen that to fail to submit to the righteousness of God is to fail to obey the righteousness of God. The requirements of God's righteousness are revealed in the gospel and when one fails to obey the gospel he fails to submit to the righteousness of God.
The gospel can and must be obeyed — "and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus...." (2 Tim. 1:7,8)
— Lufkin, Texas