If it isn’t good news it isn’t the gospel

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Paul wrote in Romans 10:15, to describe those who preach the gospel. To Paul, a preacher who could show just how good the gospel is was a joy to watch in action, like watching a brilliant ballet dancer or gymnast and the amazing way their bodies move.

That wasn’t just Paul’s reaction, however, it was God’s too, because Paul was quoting God. “How beautiful” was a quote straight out of Isaiah 52:7, when God himself spoke of the day when people really grasp what the gospel is all about because there are preachers who grasp it too, and they’re belting out the good news for all its worth. So it was God who was the first to say, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation,” because he obviously loves watching a good news preacher in action too.

That’s why he sent Jesus, to bring good news. When the angel announced Jesus’ birth to the startled shepherds he said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” Luke 2:10-11. And when Jesus started preaching, he “travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God,.” Luke 8:1. How beautiful to God were the travelling feet of Jesus too, then, because wherever Jesus went he brought good news to people.

It’s good news that God wants preached. Anything that isn’t good news isn’t the gospel. Imagine how God reacts, then, to a preacher who threatens people with eternal torment in the fires of hell if they don’t become Christians, or tells people that God’s only saving some people, and the rest go to hell. That isn’t good news, it’s terrible news. How UGLY a preacher must be to God who preaches such awful stuff to people, and then claims it’s the gospel.

It isn’t the gospel and it never was, because the word for gospel in the New Testament Greek means “good tidings.” It’s a good news message about the kingdom of God and how, by God’s grace, Jesus began that kingdom on this earth and makes it possible for us humans to enter that kingdom now, just as God intended before he even created us. “In love God predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will,” Ephesians 1:4-5. And if that’s what God’s pleasure is, then imagine how pleased he is with those who preach that message too.

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