With all of the problems of the world, it is sometimes hard for me to keep hopeful and positive. Global climate change, ISIS beheading people in Syria and Iraq, Iran and Israel on a collision course, tensions with Russia, tensions with China, Ebola in West Africa, the global government debt crisis, earthquakes, hurricanes and wild fires all over the world. If I didn’t have some good news, I think I would want to run for a cave and hide. What is the best good news that is possible?
The Best Possible Good News
Love is the hardest thing that we as human beings ever attempt to do. Is it easy to love your kids or do you some times want to smack them around? Is it easy to love your friends, or have you lost friends over seemingly trivial matters? Is it easy to love your parents or do they sometimes drive you crazy? Is it easy to love your spouse, or do you sometimes wonder if you have made a mistake? Is it easy to love your coworkers, or do you sometimes dread going into work? Love is extremely difficult and, if you are honest with yourself, you can easily find examples in your own life where you have blown it and not loved God or others as well as you should have. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’s love.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
Now what are the consequences of failed love? If we look around, they are not hard to see. Divorces, broken homes, hurt children, rape, murder, theft, genocide, racism and every other type of evil are all caused by the imperfect love that human beings have for one another. And yet if you ask around, everyone is in a constant state of denial. We are fine, we are doing well, we love perfectly and none of the problems on earth are our fault. Someone else is always to blame.
There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10)
At some level and despite our own failures, however, we all long for perfect love. We all long to be among people who genuinely love and care for us. The popularity of television shows like Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Firefly and The Big Bang Theory illustrate this deep-seated desire. At the same time this powerful and central urge is constantly frustrated by our own selfish and self-centred natures. We want others to love us, but we find it very difficult to love others in the same way we want them to love us.
How do we reconcile this fundamental difficulty? On the one hand we desire a perfect and unconditional love. On the other hand, we are incapable of having this perfect love towards others and unworthy of it ourselves. With regards to this dilemma, Jesus Christ makes a unique offer. If we repent of our evil and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we can have peace with God and gradually learn to love one another with the love that God wants for us over time. Yes we will continually fail, but if we stick to it then over the long term we will gradually improve as we learn to live in complete dependence on God’s forgiveness and mercy. Only by accepting God’s guidance, forgiveness and love in this way can we experience life as God intended.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10)
What are the consequences of rejecting this offer? Because Jesus Christ died to give you eternal life, you have it. If you reject God’s love. forgiveness and guidance, however, you will live forever without love. What will that be like? Look around this world and see the consequences of imperfect love and you get the basic idea. Eternal life without God’s love is a life of misery, loneliness, hatred, bitterness, anger, envy, strife and disappointment without end. God figuratively compares this bleak and horrible existence to living in a Lake of Fire. (For those who doubt that living without the love of God will be truly horrible, see my post “An Artifact of Eternity“.)
The best possible good news is that there is a God who loves you and created you for an eternity of blessing, joy, fellowship and love. This God created strawberries, sex, music, dancing and swimming and wants to bless you beyond anything you can ask or think. Eternal paradise is only possible, however, if the people in that paradise accept God’s help to love God and one another perfectly. Because God cannot force His help on us, He created us and put us in a world where our need for His forgiveness and assistance is as obvious as it possibly could be. Amidst the pain and suffering of this world, our need for perfect love is crystal clear and in that context He invites us to accept the grace and forgiveness that Jesus Christ purchased for us on the cross of Calvary. Only by accepting divine assistance can you be capable of loving well enough to enter into paradise and experience the eternal blessing for which God created you. Rejecting this blessing has truly horrible consequences.
What do you say? Will you accept that you are incapable of perfect love without God’s help and that you are, therefore, a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness? Will you accept the love, forgiveness, grace and mercy of the God who loved you so much that he was tortured to death on a Roman cross that you might have an eternity of joy and blessing? If you accept this offer, then you will share in the eternal joy of his resurrection and life. If you do not accept this offer, then you will live a life without love and joy forever.