He Preached Good News

Today’s reading is Luke 3.

“With many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.” That’s what Luke says about John the son of Zechariah. However, did you actually read what he had just preached? “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Certainly, there is some good news in there for the wheat, but what about the chaff? In today’s climate, I’m not sure if this would qualify as good news. Not to mention, part of his preaching was specifically against sins like that which Herod and Herodias were committing. Not only did that get him arrested, it ultimately got him executed. This may not be what we would put on a marketing poster for the gospel, but while it is good news, not all of it is pleasant news. The good news includes salvation, but that is only good news because there is judgment from which we need to be saved. We may not like to hear about the wrath and fiery judgment, but without that bad news, the good news is just news. In fact, if it weren’t for the bad news, the good news wouldn’t even be news. Judgment is coming, but, praise God, Jesus came to gather the wheat and save those who would believe in Him from the judgment. That is good news. You can be part of it. Are you?

Next week’s reading is Luke 4.

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The Old Good News

Today’s reading is Hebrews 4.

Did you know we weren’t the first to receive good news? I don’t mean that people have heard the gospel since the first century even before we arrived. I mean, God gave good news before He gave what we call “the gospel.” Yep. God gave good news to the Israelites who were in Egypt. He gave them the good news of rest in His Promised Land. As we have often said, there is law in the Gospel, just so there was gospel in the Law. Recognizing this gives some insight. The Israelites received good news, just like we have. However, a whole generation abandoned that good news and missed out on the Promised Land because they lacked the faith to obey God’s promised good news. They could not see God had given them the land, therefore they refused to take possession of it. God has a rest prepared for us. We must fight the battles to take possession of that land He has purchased and prepared for us. May we believe His promised salvation and because we believe it, may we obey His battle instructions. And where we struggle, which we will, may we turn to Jesus who is our great High Priest. He is able to sympathize with us and, therefore, will help us in our time of need to gain the victory. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Hebrews 5.

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Established By God

Today’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 2.

Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians is that God the Father and God the Son will establish them in every good work and word. This is in contrast to what God is doing with those who ignore the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness. With those, God sends a strong delusion. He pushes them further down their path of unrighteousness (see also¬†Romans 1:18-31). As they have pursued instability, He gives them what they seek. He destabilizes them. The good news is when we pursue God’s word and work, He will provide stability. He will establish us. We can’t make God do anything. But good news; He is doing His part. Today, let’s love truth (God’s word) and pursue righteousness (God’s work). Then let us pray and take comfort that God Himself will establish and stabilize us in, through, and for these pursuits. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 3.

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Only One Good News

Today’s reading is Galatians 1.

There are plenty of things parading as good news, but only one really is good news. There are plenty of things that offer hope, but only one that really is hope. There are plenty of things that claim to give good guidance and help through life and into eternity, but only one that really shepherds you into God’s presence. Do not be deceived. Do not be duped. Do not be taken in. Get in God’s Word for yourself. Learn the one, the only, the true Good News that comes from God Himself through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Then walk in the hope that only God can give and look forward to an eternity that only God’s will experience. And hang on to it no matter what anyone or anything else says, offers, or promises. God’s good news works. And it is the only good news that does.

Tomorrow’s reading is Galatians 2.

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The Good News

Today’s reading is Romans 5.

We’ve been needing good news. It is now proclaimed. And how great this good news really is!

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 6.

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I Still Need Good News

Today’s reading is Romans 3.

You may not have believed me yesterday. But Paul makes it completely clear in today’s reading. Everyone who is patient in well-doing, who obeys the truth and righteousness, who does good, who seeks glory, honor, and immortality gets eternal life. But wait. “None is righteous, no, not one.” “No one seeks for God.” “No one does good, not even one.” “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Where does that leave us? Fury, wrath, tribulation, distress. That is what I deserve. That is what I’m headed for unless God gives me some other news. Praise God, He does. I am not justified by how well I have done good, obeyed righteousness, and sought immortality. I am justified by Jesus Christ on the cross. Don’t get me wrong. I am not justified while ignoring what is good, righteous, and immortal. But the good news is even though I am one of those who has disobeyed the truth and has obeyed unrighteousness, by the grace of Jesus Christ on the cross, I will be justified as a gift from God. That is good news. I don’t need to be ashamed of it. I need to proclaim it.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 4.

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I Need Good News

Today’s reading is Romans 2.

Paul seems to give us a plan. He explains that everyone who does evil, obeying unrighteousness, whether Jew or Greek will suffer wrath and fury. However, those who seek glory, honor, and immortality by doing good will receive eternal life. Then he follows it up by saying “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” Wait a minute!!! The hinge between Paul’s teaching about the difference between the death-bound and the life-bound and this statement is “For God shows no partiality.” In other words, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you are good, you get life; if you sin, you get death. And that is the kicker. Romans 2:6-11 seems like an explanation of how to be saved. Instead, it is an explanation of why every one of us is lost. Sure, everyone who does good by seeking for glory, honor, and immortality by obeying truth gets eternal life. But everyone who sins whether under the Law or outside the Law perishes and is judged. Where does that leave me? I’m toast! I am a sinner. The news for me is bad. I need some good news. Praise God, Paul will be bringing some as we keep reading. Today, let the weight of the bad news settle on us, but don’t despair, Good News is coming.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 3.

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