A king goes to battle to defend his people against an invading army. It is known throughout the kingdom that if the king defeats the army he’ll send back heralds—people to proclaim the good news of the victorious king. If the king loses that battle, he’ll send back military advisors—people to instruct others on where they are to go and what they are to do in order to survive. This scene is given by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he juxtaposes two very different approaches to the Christian faith.
Are we advice people or news people?
Advice is given for something that has not yet happened. There is something to be done that will alter the outcome.
News is a report about something that has happened. There is nothing to be done except respond to the outcome.
When the military advisors are seen riding in from the battle, there is a great depth of response. There is much to do and much to fear. When the heralds of “good news” are seen riding in from battle with the victory banner leading them, there is a great depth of response. There is much to do and much to celebrate. In the Christian world, these actions are often indistinguishable from one another, but the difference in motivation—the difference in purpose—is night and day.
The Good News of Jesus drives people to joyfully obey because the battle is won and the enemy is conquered. This joy may manifest itself as praying, giving, serving, etc. Advice, on the other hand, drives people to fearfully obey because the battle is raging and the enemy is nearing. This fear may also manifest itself as praying, giving, serving, etc.
The end result looks the same, but the motivations could not be more different.
As Christians we are to primarily be a “good news” people, not a “good advice” people. This is why we center our lives on the Gospel—the “Good News."
When the King (Jesus) defeated sin, death, and Hell through His life, death, and resurrection, He provided good news. The best news. The news that the King fought a battle (on our behalf) that we could not win and accomplished a victory (on our behalf) for which we receive the benefits.
What, then, do we do with this wonderful news?
What is our posture?
How do people experience us?
Are we known as people who bring good news or people who try and deliver good advice?
Do we suggest ways to improve the outcome or share the truth of the perfect outcome that Jesus already secured?
Do we boil down the Gospel to “how-tos” or do we share it as “good news?”
Do we see that the difference between the two is not subtle just as the difference between “The battle is won!” and “Prepare for battle!” is not subtle?
The Gospel is not advice to modify behavior; it’s news to believe—joy-filled, awe-inspiring, beautiful, historical, relevant, transforming, glorious news.
This news—The Good News—brings joy, not fear.
Let our advice be to believe The News.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts our fear. -1 John 4:18
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. - 1 Peter 1:8