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The Bad News

By Tim Hartzell
     
 

(We are currently in a conversation about the good news of Jesus Christ. To read previous articles in this series, simply visit www.webbweekly.com and click on my picture.)

The good news of Jesus Christ contains some news that, at first glance, doesn’t seem that good. While it is true that (1) God loves us, and that (2) He has designed us with a purpose, it is also true that (3) sin has separated us from that love and purpose. That’s the bad news.
You may be tempted to stop reading right there, but please don’t. Let’s talk this over a bit.
Listen, there’s only one thing worse than knowing there is something wrong with you — and that’s not knowing. I often talk with people who are putting off going to the doctor because they fear there is something wrong. Think about that for a moment. If there is something wrong, aren’t you better off knowing so that you can do something about it? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that if someone had gone to the doctor sooner, they could have been helped.
When I go to my doctor, I want her to be painfully honest with me. If something is wrong, I want to know. Doctors don’t like being the bearers of bad news, but being truthful is a very important part of the healing profession. Without the truth, problems are not identified, and they do not seek healing. The same goes for this conversation. If I’m going to serve you well, then I must be honest with you.
It is true that God loves you and that He has designed you with a purpose, but it is also true that sin, your pride, and fear, has separated you from that love and purpose.
Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23 are short and painfully honest Scriptures: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And, “The wages of sin is death.”
In Romans 3:10-18, Paul gives us the bad news rather bluntly, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
And friend, all of us were born with this terminal sin illness. (Read Romans 5) Spiritually, every one of us has entered this world on the wrong side of the life/death equation. That may sound cruel and unfair, but true is true - and it’s better that you know.
You certainly may disagree with the diagnosis we find in the Word of God. I went to a doctor once, and he told me that I had a particular problem. I disagreed. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “OK. But the symptoms will get worse.” I didn’t want to hear the truth, but that didn’t make it any less true. And yes, the symptoms did get worse. After I suffered a bit, I swallowed my pride and went back to the doctor.
That’s where you may be right now. You may completely disagree with the concept of sin and separation from God. That’s your prerogative. But please understand that the symptoms will get worse. Denial does not make the truth any less true.
When you are ready to accept your terminal spiritual condition — when you are ready to confess that you are dead in sin and in need a Savior; when your pride is broken, and you are willing to surrender — then you will also be ready to hear the next two statements in the good news of Jesus Christ:
(4) Through Jesus Christ, God extends forgiveness and reconciliation.
(5) Through surrender (belief) we are reconciled to God’s love and purpose.
We’ll continue the conversation next week. Until then, give these verses some thought:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2