The Good News
Євангеліє від Іоанна, добра новина для вас
Life in this modern world has a lot to offer.
In these modern times, an almost inexhaustible stream of information is available through the media for example television and Internet. Unknown civilizations hardly exist anymore and the modern man can travel thorough the world to exotic holiday destinations. Even the know-how of technique and science is well advanced to provide us with a lot of comfort and ease. Often one hears that the modern man does not need God (anymore).
God or religion is then associated with a primitive dependence of a higher force which is encountered in primitive civilizations. The modern human thinks that he is able to manage alone. Also one hears negatively speech about beliefs and religion and thereby the missteps of the church in the past are quoted. Using it as an argument that religion does not improve the world.
On the other hand, we see a growing desire in the modern man and a search for fulfillment in life. There seems to be an emptiness which cannot be filled by money or products, yes not even by friendships and relationships. This emptiness is hard to describe, but it clearly has something to do with giving sense: Where do I come from, why am I here and where am I going to??
WHO AM I? WHAT IS THE SENSE OF MY EXISTENCE? AFTER DEATH, THAT IS THE END, NO MORE?
As Christians we believe that God Himself, Who designed us and has giving us life, also has built in a desire to search for Him and to find the source of life.
When we look around, we see that man has always been sensitive toward spiritual matters as well curious about the super natural. The mentioned example of primitive civilizations bear witness to that, but also modern man is sensitive for spiritual input. Examples are horoscopes, Eastern religions as Buddha, astrology, yoga, meditation and new-age.
What do Christians believe in and why is this so exclusive?
Christians believe that the Bible is the revelation of the only God. And that man is a sinner, and he/she is unable to save him/herself from the wrath of God. Therefore that is necessary the salvation in Jesus Christ, life in Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, without sin, died for the sin of man on the Cross. And He rose from the dead after three days. He overcame dead and thereby every one who admits to be a sinner and believe that Jesus Christ died for his/her sin, receives eternal life in Heaven. When we open the Bible and reflect the views, we see God as a Person with character and not some faint ultra force. This God has been there for ever and is almighty, knows all, is omnipresent and is not limited. This God is the thinker and maker of this universe, the earth and living creatures. From the first pages of the Bible, we learn also that God has made the most special creation: man (Genesis 1:26-28).
One can discuss about evolution and creation, but in the end the primary essence is that God is the One Who have created all these beautiful and special creatures, plants, animals and human beings.
Why has God created man?
Since God is a God of love (the whole Bible witnesses of that), it is His desire to have a relation with man. Therefore God has created man as an "image" of Himself.
That is, we have enormous potentials within ourselves. For example to create things and discover things (like telephone, computer), but too we are guardians to watch over and control nature. Also the human character (without sin) is a reflection of the character of God. In respect to animals, humans have more feelings and a link with the spiritual world. God created man to have a relationship with Him and to rule the world.
The Bible says: "You have created man almost godlike". In Genesis we read also that God walk together with man.
Shortly, God created human beings for a direct relationship with Him. Unfortunately, we must conclude from the first pages in the Bible, that man chose for himself and causing a crack between himself and God.
What went wrong?
Most people know the history of the paradise, of Adam and Eve, and the forbidden fruit. In short, it comes down to the fact that man decided to be disobedient to God, his Creator. God had trusted man with an enormous freedom, but also with one prohibition. There was a yard full of fruit trees, but from ONE they were not allow to eat. Adam and Eve (the first people on earth) decided to go against Gods will, they desired to have it all, going against the one prohibition. The first sin is a model of rebellion which we encounter in man, and is far more that just taken and eating the forbidden fruit. The consequently and succeeding lies as well as the escape away from God characterizes the situation that we entered into.
Adam and Eve realized that it had become impossible to face any longer the face of a complete sinless and almighty God.
The situation of the paradise in which they lived, could not be continued in a direct relation with God. Man encountered a complete new situation: a world with sin, troubles, sickness, disappointments, killing, war and death in the end.
This transitions is called "the fall of man".
Sin is a word that nowadays is not often used and it really means "missing its target".
It is a collection name for all that is wrong, impure in the human thinking, speaking and acting. As Christians we believe that sin goes much further than things at hand such as murder, stealing and telling lies. In fact, sin is hidden as complete part of our character and nature nowadays. The Bible shows us a good example. Jesus points that out over and over again and He says that the person without a sin, throws the first stone.
Since the Fall, there is a fracture between the sinless, ethic high-principle God and us human beings who are imperfect in acting, doing and thinking.
Why can God close His eyes?
God is love. The whole Bible witnesses about that and also the experiences of many peoples are a proof. You might wonder if God cannot close his eyes and let our mistakes pass by thereby restoring the situation of paradise.
A study of the being and character of God is necessary in order to answer that question. God is without sin and perfect. A word which we use for that is Holiness. Gods holiness and incorruptibility, combined with His being the almighty makes it impossible to enter into His presence.
Opposite sin God is a great blazing and consuming fire. God hates sin with a complete hatred.
What is then the Good News? Forgiveness of sins
God hates sin, but He loves man, His creation.
The Bible says that God wishes that every person become saved and enter into a relationship with Him again. The gap between God and us must be bridged first. God Himself has given the solution for it, since man is not able to overcome this gap.
What is then the solution? The Bridge to God or the 4 Laws for forgiveness
In the Old Testament (first part of the Bible, before the birth of Jesus), we see that at a certain moment God choices for Himself a nation (with Abraham as patriarch). This is a special nation with special rules of conduct and laws. The nation Israel was meant to be a nation that served God and bringing sacrifices as a satisfaction for sin. These sacrifices (mainly chosen animals that were slaughtered and burnt on an altar by priests) were a symbol of the replacing punishment for sin.
The Bible speaks clearly that the punishment for sin is death. Of course the sacrifice of animals was limited and the main purpose for the nation Israel was to be aware of their position towards God.
The whole old testimony is full of references and predictions of the Saviour, the Messiah, Who should come to save the nation and die for sin.
Also the salvation should related to all man on the whole world. This Messiah would be the Son of God due to the fact that He would be without sin and therefore capable to bring the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all man. That is the Good News.
2000 Years ago, this prediction come true by the birth of Jesus. At Christmas we celebrate His birth. Many Christmas story are sweet and lovely, but the coming of the Son of God to earth is an enormous intervening fact. God becomes human. HE CAME TO US, from Heaven to earth.
Already from the start, there was no place for Him (the taverns were full in Bethlehem and according to the Bible his cradle was with the animals). Jesus grew up in a normal (poor) family, but the Bible also states the main difference for other man: He was completely without sin.
Completely as was predicted, his fellow man did not consider that Jesus was their Saviour, they expected a King.
During His life on earth, He passed from city to city, from village to village, to tell about the coming kingdom of God and forgiveness of sin, curing sick people and even raised a few from the dead. However he was continuously attacked by scholars (called Pharisees and Sadducees). Their accusations were blasphemy.
On this charge, Jesus was betrayed to the scholars at the age of 33, by one of his followers. Then arrested and with the help of false testimonies, torments and such like taken to the authorities. The governor could not find any injustice in Him. Despite the fact that no valid accusations were found, the Roman authority gave permission to crucify Jesus. And the Roman soldiers nailed Him onto the Cross.
Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem. The crucifixion was a Roman martyrdom, awfully painful and only applicable to heavy criminals. However, again with this, the predictions were fulfilled. His followers were disappointed and did not realize that the predictions of the Old Testament were fulfilled and His death was necessary to atone for their sins. They did not realized that Jesus had to die and receive Gods punishment for our sin, in order that they and we can live.
When Jesus died, he shouted: "It is completed". Jesus' death meant namely the perfect sacrifice, He did not sin, obeyed completely to the Will of His Father in Heaven. It is and was the complete victory over sin and death, and over Gods enemy: Satan.
At the cross, Jesus bore the punishment of our sins, so that we could be completely free from Gods punishment over sin.
To receive this amnesty, it is only necessary to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. This means that you do not bear your debts and punishment yourself, only ask Him for forgiveness and accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
The above Bible verse John 3:16 is also applicable to you!!! Whatever your situation is, whatever you have done in the past (or future) or whatever you have experienced, God is also calling you. Gods Son has also died for your sins, but He is awaiting your reaction. He is not forcing you, it is your personal decision to accept or to reject His free offer. God calls YOU.
Gods Son died for you too, but God is waiting for your response. He is not going to force you, it is a free gift. But like any gift, you have to accept it, in order to receive it. If you do not accept the gift, you do not get the gift. Refusing Gods gift to you, means accepting Gods punishment over sin.
After you have read this, do not reject, for it is the absolute truth. A truth which makes you really free (from Gods judgment over sin).
Other spiritual things and occult business do not make you free, on the contrary they bind you and in the end it give you fears. Jesus Christ really frees you and takes away Gods punishment for sin!!!
After three days, Jesus arose from the dead as a proof of His force upon death. Afterwards He showed Himself to several hundreds of people. There are lots of arguments from the Bible and history that proved that Jesus was really dead and has risen again.
From the moment of His resurrection Jesus had a new (resurrected and heavenly) body and He went up to Heaven. If you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you too will receive a new heavenly body after your death on earth. And then you will be forever in Heaven without a sinful body, without troubles and sorrows.
Then where is Jesus Christ now?
Jesus did not died after His resurrection. After 40 days, He went up into Heaven, the place where His Father, God, lives and rules. He has promised us that one day He will come again and collect His followers, and take them up to Heaven. After that the earth will be given over to Satan, and the people remaining on earth will face a terrible time.
During that time (the Great Tribulation), God will pass judgment over earth and at the end pass judgment over every person on earth. Believers in Jesus Christ have the certainty that God the Father will not judge them, since His Son Jesus Christ died for their sins.
Persons who during their life willingly reject Jesus Christ will receive what he or she wanted: to be separate for ever from the source of love and peace, and receive the full punishment for their sins!!!! Remember that fully!!!
After the Ascension, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit in order to help the believer. Gods Spirit lives within His followers and He helps, comforts and guides the believer.
Through the Gods Spirit there formed a forceful Christian church: the family of God.
A place to learn and to grow, and together to show the Kingdom of God to the people on earth.
Summary of Gods Salvation Plan:
- Man is a creation of God, unique and worthwhile
- Unfortunately due to our sins we are not in direct contact with God
- God hates sin but He loves the sinner as person. So also you and me
- God has a plan for salvation and He wishes to offer us that
- Jesus has died in lieu, He has taken the punishment for sin upon Himself
- By believing in Jesus, you are completely free from this punishment over sin
- Recognize that you need Jesus and accept Him
- Ask for forgiveness whenever you do things incorrectly and try to avoid them
- Go, talk with God (pray) and start reading the Bible
- Take care to come into contact with Christians and a Christian church
- Develop your spiritual life under the guidance of Gods Holy Spirit
God has provided the solution, you only need to accept it. As follower of Jesus, you are a child of God and therefore you can speak daily with Him. You still cannot see God, and you also cannot literally hear Him, that is in the future. But we may know that He is with us during all the days of our lives.
God did not promise us that He would take care of all our problems on earth and to solve them in a super natural way. He also uses difficult situations to test our belief in Him and to form us in the image of Jesus Christ. God is not Santa Claus who gives us everything upon request. If you sincerely live with Him, you will notice that He is the source of inner peace, insight and wisdom. You will learn to understand Him and His guidance.
When you read this and are touched by it, realizing you are far apart from God. Now you wish to accept responsibility for your sin? You wish to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour but do not know how?
You can do two things:
- Seek contact with Christians and start talking with them. Or write a email to EZBB firstname.lastname@example.org. See also frequently asked questions.
- You also can now, if you wish, go to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life as your Saviour. From that moment onwards you also are a child of God and receives eternal life.
You can speak out the following pray for example, or you can do it in your own words, of course.
Such a prayer you can speak anywhere, at home, in your room, etc. Be quiet and focus on God and His Son Jesus Christ in all honesty:
"Lord Jesus, I do not know you very well yet, but you do know me well and you find me precious. I thank you that you died for all my shortcomings and wishes to set me free. For that I desire. I wish to accept you as my personal Saviour and Lord. Please come into my life and fill it with peace. Teach me to make the correct steps and help me to grow in belief and love and into a sincere relation with you, my Creator and God."
After this prayer, you really can discuss everything with God. He is your Father (in Heaven). He knows you thoroughly, so you do not have to fear not mentioning anything (badly) in your life. Nothing is too bad or invaluable. Also He is a hidden place, a Comforter and curer of mental stresses.
Take care that you buy a Bible. There are several translations. The Living Bible or Good News is a good start. Ask for advice in an evangelical bookshop. You would be amazed how factual and exciting the Bible is.
Take care that you find people to help and guide you and teach and explain to you about the Bible and Christian life. There is lots to learn and a Christian life is not always very easy. A lot of Gods norms go straight into the norms of daily society and consumption society. Remember however:
"I will be with you, all the days of your life, unto the end of the world". God will strengthen you and give you the power to resist evil. Jesus is THE WAY to God and to give eternal life in Heaven.
It all started with the creation of the earth by God. Genesis 1:1 says: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
God created trees, plants, animals, birds and fishes.
Genesis 2: 27 says:
And God created man in his image: male and female He created them.
These two people were given the names:
Adam and Eve
They were without sin and walked with God.
God had created very many trees with fruit.
To Adam and Eva, God spoke:
You may eat the fruit of all trees, except one tree, however, you may not eat the fruit, because then you will die.
God had an adversary, satan, who had been an angel, but he rebelled against God, because he wanted to be equal with God. He did not like at all this new earth with lovely animals, trees, birds, fishes and the man Adam and the woman Eva, because this was all God's work.
Therefore, satan suggested to Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, for he said:
You may not allowed to eat from the trees? The woman answered: we may eat the fruits of all the trees except one, because if we eat of that tree, then we die. However, satan said to the woman: you surely will not die, but God knows, that on the day, that you eat, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, yes, that the tree was desirable to thereby to be wise, and she took of its fruit and ate.
Satan told lies to the woman, half truths, and the woman kicked in there and ate the forbidden fruit. And then offered it her husband Adam. Now he had a conscience choice: follow his wife or obey God and not eating. Adam chose the wrong and went consciously against the command of God and ate of the fruit. So entered the Sin and death in the world.
As a result, God removed the disobedient Adam and Eve from paradise. By their disobedience to God, man no longer lived happy and diseases came into the world. But also, man has only a limited life on earth, in the beginning the man lived a thousand years. but through all disobedience of man, who goes increasingly against God's commandments, that is now restricted to a 120 years.
Years after the first sin of the first people, God gave a number of commands, so that man knows his disobedience to God. Exodus 20 states:
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.
ou shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work.
Honour your father and your mother.
You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.
You shall not covet anything that is your neighbour's.
In short: you need to love God first, and in addition to love your neighbour as you love yourself.
Later, there is written in the Bible (Galatians 5:19-21): fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like (Mark 7:21-22 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness).
This and also think of lying, stealing, murder, hate, lovelessness are all properties of the man and are a cause of his disobedience to God.
We can try to live good, but time and time we fail. But yes, after the death on earth, follows another life. Because every person lives forever. After the death on earth, follows another life:
Or separate from God, or together with God.
God cannot approve sin. Just as a criminal cannot be acquitted by an earthly judge, so God must punish sin. Because man violates many times God's commandments and laws, our punishment is huge.
Therefore, God thought of a solution. An example, someone is sentenced by the Court to pay a fine of 100,000 dollars. This person cannot pay and therefore send to the prison. Now comes another person who says, I pay that fine for you. Now this person has two choices: either accept or refuse this offer and go to prison.
Jesus Christ is that other person, Who paid the penalty for your SIN and has suffered greatly by a crucifixion on the cross of Calvary, a 2000 years ago.
Jesus Christ is the son of God, Who is without sin, and He is born a 2000 years ago. We celebrate His birth at Christmas.
The Bilbe says in John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
What does this mean? Well, now each person has two choices:
Or man accepts this offer by believing that Jesus Christ died for your SIN and thereby you receive forgiveness of your SIN. As a result, one is no longer separated from God. And one will receive a life with God in heaven after your death on earth.
OR man does not accepts this offer, and thereby the punishment of your SIN remains upon oneself. And after death, one will be accountable to God, and as a result one go to prison and one will be forever separated from God. And that prison is absolutely no fun, but a horrible place to stay, hell.
Now you can say, but my life on earth has also no fun, a life of pain, misery, poverty, sadness. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, acknowledge being a sinner, and recognize the need for forgiveness by God. They receive a new healthy body, without sin, after death. A body without disabilities, without handicaps and without diseases.
However those who reject this grace of God in Jesus Christ, will not receive new body, and forever they will be suffering pain and sorrow.
This offer is always valid, but do not delay your decision. You can soon meet with an accident, or get a heart attack, or anything else. Then it may be too late, so make your decision soon, before it really is too late.
If it is possible, go on your knees. Fold your hands and close your eyes and pray you for example the following prayer:
God, Who is in Heaven, I confess that I am a sinner and that I do not maintain your commandments. I acknowledge being a sinner and I know that I am not able to take my punishment for my sins. Thank you for that Jesus Christ died for my sins at the cross of Calvary. And I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour for my sins and as my Lord. Please help me to understand this all. Take my life in your hands and guide me.
Thank You. Amen.