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The Essential 'Bad News' of the Gospel

Romans 1:18-20
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (NIV)

'Gospel' means 'good news'. It is the message of how to be saved from God's wrath. But before the good news can make sense, people need to understand the bad news that God is intensely opposed to every manifestation of wickedness; He cannot tolerate it in His presence and those who persist in suppressing the truth will encounter the full force of God's judgement.

Without that bad news, the good news is meaningless. If God benignly smiled at godlessness, then there would be no problem. But that is not true. And, to make the bad news even worse, the creation is sufficient evidence that God has extreme power at His command. So those who refuse to live by the truth should expect His severe wrath in judgement. And deep inside everybody's conscience, we all know that is true.

God has not hidden His character. It is expressed in the created world, the inspired Scriptures, the church and most clearly in Jesus Christ Himself. There is no excuse anybody can offer on the final day for not knowing that they are accountable to God. Only those without any wickedness will enter His heaven. That is why they need to hear the gospel of God's grace. So to hear that Jesus is able to save us completely, is wonderful news indeed. Don't forget that many of our friends and colleagues cannot see a reason to believe the good news, because nobody has told them the bad news of God's wrath.

Great God of truth and power. Thank You for revealing Your awesome power and divine character to everybody. I am sorry that, like many of my friends, I often do not take You sufficiently seriously. Forgive me for tolerating wickedness in myself. Forgive me too for failing to tell others about Your wrath against sin; thereby losing the context for the gospel message. May I never give the impression that I am good enough for God, but rather that I am a sinner who has found safety from God's wrath as I cling to my Saviour, Jesus Christ. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams