Saturday, August 06, 2005

The gospel really is good news!

Some English translations are clearer than others in conveying the joy of the message of Jesus.

For example, Jesus' answer to the question of whether he was the Messiah is obscured when the word gospel is used: "The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news" (Matthew 11:5, CEV). As is clear from that translation, the poor heard the good news that Jesus brought healing and life even before he predicted his death, the death that would purchase the spiritual healing and bodily resurrection anticipated by the Messianic signs.

How many heresies might be exposed simply by using, in both spoken and written communication, good news in place of every occurrence of gospel? One instance is the legalistic teaching that one must repent in the sense of having a pious hatred of sin, not merely a fear of deserved punishment, before coming to Christ for forgiveness through the "gospel." Requirements like this one do not bring gladness, as they are heavy burdens, not good news.

What is this good news?