We have all heard it before, I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Most often I think people say, give me the bad news first, to get it over with and hopefully end on a high note with the good news. The Gospel, the basic message preached by Jesus is Good News. That is what the word Gospel actually means. But there is some bad news that comes first. So it is a typical bad news/good news sequence. It starts out by telling people they are sinners and deserve eternal punishment and then moves to the offer of salvation made possible because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
But what if that was not the whole story? What if there was some good news before the bad news? I think that would be a somewhat important part of the message. The bad news/good news sequence starts with the human rebellion against God as told in the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis Chapter 3. The rest of the Bible is the lead-up to the Good News of Jesus. But the Bible doesn’t start with Genesis Chapter 3. It should come as no real surprise that there are two prior chapters. Those two chapters contain the vital first good news part of the story.
In those two chapters, the word good appears 11 times. Nine of those times it describes aspects of the creation God has made. When He creates human beings, He actually looks at his handiwork and says, “it is very good”. The beginning of creation is a wonderful, beautiful, very good beginning to the universe. Human beings are made in the image of God. They are made with dignity and purpose. They commune with God and enjoy freedom and bliss like we have not experienced since, and God says, that is very good.
Of course, in chapter three, it all goes pear-shaped, and the world suffers from the rebellion that human beings carry out against the commands of God. The repercussions of that rebellion included a broken relationship between human beings and God as well as broken relationships between people. Adam and Even hide from one another and from God because of their guilt and shame. It has been the way of relationships ever since. That is the bad news. We sinned, and we continue to do so. We were then tossed out of paradise and have been suffering in a broken world ever since.
Lots of preaching starts with chapter three and how messed up we are. In recent years I have noticed that this part of the message, starting with the bad news, is falling on increasingly deaf ears. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I mean you can only stand being told how messed up you are for so long before you just don’t want to hear it anymore. It should also not surprising that it is falling on deaf ears, because that is not where the story starts. It doesn’t start with Bad News. It starts with Good News. It starts with an affirmation that God made you for something wonderful. He made you in His image. He made you with purpose. He made you to be in a relationship with Him out of no other motivation than a love for you as the pinnacle of all He created.
All of our religious expressions, all of our spiritual seeking, are rooted in the subconscious desire to regain what we lost. Romans chapter 1 tells us that we all have a built-in sense that God is there and even all creation speaks to that. C.S Lewis put it this way, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” We were made for another world. It was a world that our ancestors lived in for a time and we long for the goodness of it.
The Good News is you were created by God with dignity and purpose and to be in relationship with Him.
The Bad News is we have messed up our lives and our relationship with God and our relationships with one another.
The Good News is, Jesus came into the world to take on himself the punishment we deserve. He experienced isolation and abandonment on the cross so that anyone who puts their faith in Him can have a restored relationship with God, not only in this life, but life eternal.
Do you want the Good News, the Bad News, or the Good News? If you take it in that order, you just may find you feel very differently about yourself, your brokeness, and the God who made you to be in a beautiful relationship with Him that is Very Good.