D. James Kennedy, of “Evangelism Explosion” fame put the Gospel in these words; “Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase for us a place in heaven which he offers as a free gift.” I’ve used that sentence hundreds if not thousands of times over my 40 years of ministry. I never get tired of reviewing that truth in my life. There are two sides to the Gospel of Jesus and they are alluded to in Kennedy’s statement. Both of them are “Good News” indeed! First, Jesus died for my sins! He was perfectly holy and righteous! I am a sinner of a pretty bad variety. I don’t think I was as bad as some, but it doesn’t matter. If you’ve fallen at one point of the law you have fallen at the whole law. That’s the way James put it in 2:10: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” One blogger explained it this way, “If I break a speed limit I have broken the law of the land, if I murder I have broken the law of the land in the same way it doesn’t matter which of God’s laws you break you have broken his law and are guilty in his sight.” Wikipedia says that repentance is “sincere regret or remorse.” I disagree! I believe a biblical understanding of repentance is to acknowledge the reality of my own sinfulness. It’s not just admitting a particular sin, but acknowledging my true sinful nature. As the cliche puts it, “I owe a debt to God that I cannot pay! Jesus paid the debt that He did not owe!” That’s Good News!

The other part of the Good News as Kennedy states is that Jesus not only died to pay the penalty for my sins, but he purchased for me a place in heaven that is offered to me as a free gift that is received by faith. Just believe it! Sin disqualifies me for heaven. I must be perfectly righteous and that cannot happen of my own accord. My sinful nature guarantees that we all have fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). But the Good News of the second part of the Gospel is that Christ’s righteousness was put into my account. God sees me mercifully through the blood of Christ. One side of the Good News is that of God’s wrath for our sin has been absorbed by Jesus! The other side of the Good News is his undeserved grace that has been deposited in our account.  I am  justified! I am standing in a right relationship with God, not on my own merit or on the basis of what I have done but on the basis of what Jesus did.” Now that’s Good News too!

The Good News, both sides, are objective truths that stand forever. They are not dependent on me in any way. It’s not my effort, will or goodness that contributes anything to my eternal destiny. Jesus promised eternal life to those who believe (John 3:16) and God can never be unfaithful to His promise even when I am unfaithful in this life. This objective truth gives me joy! Not only does it comfort and encourage me, it transforms me from the inside out as only God’s love can do! Daniel Bush and Noel Due conclude their discussion about the Gospel being objective truth and not a subjective experience by saying, “Transformation occurs precisely because when the gospel is viewed objectively, we’re assured of God’s love located in the person and saving event of Christ, which is outside us—not dependent upon us. But if we view the gospel subjectively, God’s love is held captive to our emotions and becomes dependent upon our performance, which is never complete. Instead, let Jesus’ words from the cross echo in your heart: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).”