Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. (1 Corinthians 15:1-11 ESV)
A lot of people don’t know the good news is good news because they are unwilling to receive the truth about the bad news.
Take for instance a sick man who is in denial. Imagine a doctor saying to the man, “Sir, you have tragicsuretodiefromititis. You’re going to die. It’s just a matter of when.”
Now, imagine the man in conversation with the doctor, rebutting in questioning and unbelief about his condition. “What? Listen, doctor, I feel fine. I’ve never heard of that disease. Doc, I believe this is just your way to get me to keep coming to see you. This is just your way to get money out of me. Tragicsureto...what is it? That’s just old-fashioned hooey.”
The doctor might reply, “Sir, think what you want, but the fact remains that you have a condition which no medicine, no change in diet, no exercise regime – nothing in your power, strength, purchase or supply – can do a single, solitary thing about. You do have tragicsuretodiefromititis. Saying I am a liar, accusing me, or not even believing me will not change it. You can even believe you are dreaming or that I don’t exist, and it won’t change the truth or the facts. You can leave here and tell everyone you meet that neither I nor your condition exists, but the truth remains, you’re going to die.”
The doctor might continue: “Sir, there is a cure. You cannot cure yourself, but there is a cure.”
The man might reply, “I don’t need a cure, because there’s nothing wrong. I’m fine.”
Can you imagine such a response or scenario? I can.
Many today reject the good news that salvation can be found in Jesus because they’ve never believed the bad news that they are sick and dead in sin.
The good news is good news precisely because bad news exists that reveals bad reality. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All have offended his holiness. All are dead in their trespasses and sins. All of humanity has gone astray, each to his or her own way. It is tragic and we are more than sure to die from it; we are dead from it!
The good news is always good news, but it won’t be good news to each of us as individuals until we believe the bad news about ourselves. Until we believe we are sick, until we believe this sickness matters, until we believe there is danger in our sickness, until we each see the consequences of our sickness, none of us will be willing to receive the cure.
O! Glory! Praise God, if someone becomes finally convinced they need the help of God, O! blessed God, to that person, the good news will be great news! It will be the best news! It will be news they never tire of hearing!
The bad news is that we are lost and dead in sin. Everyone is born lost and dead in sin. The good news is Jesus. God came as a man, lived perfect, died to pay for sins, rose to conquer death, ascended to rule and sent the spirit to reveal himself to mankind. The good news is that bad news does not have to be the end of our story.