The word evangelical comes from the Greek evangelion, meaning “good news” or “gospel.” An evangelical is someone who shares the Good News of salvation through Christ with others. The message is a part of their DNA, and they would not be living up to their evangelical identity if they failed to share it. The apostle Peter commanded believers to be ready always to tell people about the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15).
Their guidebook, the Bible, states that we are all unclean, and even our best behavior is insufficient to pay our debt for sin. Our good deeds are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6) and we fall far short of His perfection (Romans 3:23). He sees us as unrighteous sinners, and no amount of good works can remove our sin and restore our relationship with Him. We are all like sheep who have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).
That’s bad news.
The evangelical message? Yes, the Bible teaches that our relationship with God broke when Adam sinned, but God provides a way to restore it: by faith in God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ. He died for my sins so that, by faith in Him and His redemptive work, I can have a relationship with God for eternity. God, who judges us for sin, has also provided a way of escape!
And that’s good news.
The Law in the Old Testament illustrated the concept of redemption: Only a near kinsman could buy back a relative’s property by paying his debt. For our sin debt to be paid in full, someone without sin would have to shed his blood for us. This person must be related to us physically to qualify as our kinsman-redeemer.
I get it.
It is God alone who provides a Son of Promise to defeat the great rebel, Satan, and reverse the consequences of humanity’s fateful decision to join Satan’s rebellion against the Creator (Genesis 3). Isaiah foretold that God’s promised Son would be born of a virgin. She would conceive and bear a son who would be called Immanuel, meaning “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). Isaiah also puts forth that God’s promised Son would be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). We can be healed by His suffering because the Lord laid our iniquity on Him (v. 6). He endured personal agony for us (Psalm 22).
God gave far and beyond what we deserve to rescue us!
God promised to bless the nations through Abraham’s Seed (Genesis 12:3). God’s Servant, the Messiah, not only would bring Israel back to Him in repentance, but He also would be a light to the Gentiles; and His salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:5-6).
Hope for the world.
Why, oh why, do some unbelievers want to shut down evangelicals? The biblical message makes sense. It’s good news. It’s amazing! It is hope for the world. It must be the second paragraph—they don’t want to hear the bad news. But it’s true news. And we all must grapple with it. We all must decide. Just listen and think through it for yourself. Come with an open mind. Oh wait, OPEN MIND. Something radical liberals don’t have. So shut down the evangelicals. That will solve everything.
~ D. Norris
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