Image there was a supreme, other-dimensional being that decided to create some humanoids. He would have a plan for them to love each other and even love him. If they got out of line, there would be strict consequences, for they were the created beings without the right to dictate their own way.
Imagine that the beings that were created were considered awesome by this supreme being, and he began to love them as if they were his own offspring. However, the created ones began to rebel and do their own thing. They began to treat one another with disdain and hatred rather than love. They began to destroy the habitat in which they were placed. They began to destroy one another.
The supreme being had set the rules in place from the beginning of this creation, and now he had to justly punish these beings, but he loved them.
He tried to encourage them to turn back to his ways by showering them with blessings even allowing them to reap the consequences of their behavior. Try as they might, however, the created ones just couldn’t break this selfish habit that had become ingrained into their culture to the very roots.
The supreme being could destroy them. He created them, after all. But he loved them. He wanted to see them succeed and find the blessing of life with him. He wanted them to have the opportunity to graduate from this lesser world of imperfection and be able to become perfect in his realm.
But he couldn’t understand why they turned away. They didn’t understand how much he loved them.
So one day he created himself into their world as a humble baby. Maybe if he grew up as one of them he could understand them more and see how to show them the way to himself. Maybe if he was tempted as they are he would be able to have compassion for them, and they would be able to see his compassion and love.
There still lingered the need for consequence for their decision to turn their backs on him and overthrow his reign over their lives.
He loved them so much that he decided to take their punishment for them. He inflicted on himself the death that they deserved. He granted them freedom from the consequences of their selfishness so that they would turn to him and live once again in a love-relationship with their creator. He proved his majesty and promise-keeping ability by raising himself from the dead with witnesses.
This freedom from consequences would be granted to all people for all time with one catch. They would need to want it. They would need to want a relationship with the creator defined by love and freedom.
Some wanted it and some didn’t. Even today, some respond to the call, and some don’t. But for those who realize the goodness of this creator, the salvation offered isn’t just good news. It’s great news!
When the angel announced the birth of the messiah, this is the story to which he referred when he proclaimed the “good news of great joy…for all people”. Good news. Gospel.
“By this gospel you are saved…” (I Corinthians 15:2)