If I asked you to define the Gospel in two words or less, you might answer, “Good news.” And it certainly is for all who embrace the Savior – a Savior who paid in full our debt of sin and granted to us eternal life. But for those who reject the Savior, the news is not good. John came baptizing with water, but he declared of Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Holy Spirit means salvation, but the fire means judgment. The context makes that clear. “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” God is a saving God, but He is also a just God. Those who reject the only Savior will perish. If we belong to Jesus, we are the wheat and we will be gathered by Him, for we belong to Him. But all who do not belong to Him will know only His judgment, a judgment that never ends. After John made this clear, Luke says, “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.” Judgment is real and people need to know that – but we also must continue to proclaim the good news that people can be rescued from judgment and become part of the harvest.
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