If the “gospel” means “good news,” how can there be any “bad news” when sharing it?
This two-blog series walks us through ten points for understanding God’s plan of salvation that we can share in evangelism. Unfortunately, this gospel does start with three points of bad news.
1. God Created Humans in His Image, but Adam Sinned
God created humans perfect (Gen. 1:31) and “in his image” (Gen. 1:27). That means (on a much smaller scale than God) we possess intellect, emotion, will, and conscience.
God placed Adam and Even in an ideal paradise (Eden), where they had an intimate relationship. But God also gave Adam and Eve the perfection of “free choice.” With that gift came the ability to either obey or reject God’s commands. And they decided to rebel against God’s authority (Gen. 3).
Their disobedience resulted in what’s known as the “Fall” because it breached God’s perfect law, and Adam’s sin spread to all humans (Rom. 3:23).
2. The Result of Adam’s Sin is Death for Us All
At the moment of Adam and Eve’s sin, death was introduced into creation (Rom. 5:12). As the apostle Paul says, the “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
Death means separation:
- Spiritual death: the loss of intimacy with God
- Physical death: when our physical bodies separate from our soul (or spirit)
- Eternal death: eternal separation from God
Because God hates sin, he must judge us guilty of violating his law and quarantine anyone in hell after death if they reject Jesus as their God (John 3:18, 36).
3. Humans Cannot Do Anything to Work Their Way to Heaven
Only a perfect, sinless human can be in God’s presence in heaven. Let that sink in for a moment!
Here is more bad news. There are no sinless humans, and God doesn’t grade on a “sliding scale.” Humans are either perfect or not. And we are not.
After the Fall, every human is born with a sinful nature (Rom. 3:23). We can never work our way to heaven by doing good deeds on earth to force God to change His mind. As Paul summarizes, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight” (Rom. 3:20).
As a result, there is an impassible, bottomless chasm between sinful humans and a perfect God that we can never bridge by our own “good works” (Rom. 3:20). And what is worse, our sinful natures blind us to our evilness in God’s sight (Rom. 3:10–12; 8:7-8).
Do I Have to Share This?
All of this “bad news is challenging, but the message is going to get much better.
A word of caution to those of us sharing the gospel with others: we may want to shy away from telling others this “bad news.” I understand. I ignored this bad news personally until I was 28 years old! I thought I was a “good person” doing good work, and God would let me into heaven because my good works outweighed my bad ones. It wasn’t until I humbled myself and realized my sinfulness, utter hopelessness, and need for God, that I became receptive to the gospel’s truth.
To correctly set the stage for the power of the gospel, we need to be honest. Otherwise, we are proclaiming an incomplete message. Non-Christians deserve full disclosure to adequately comprehend the reality of their situation to make an informed decision.