The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its second estimate of third quarter GDP. Adjusting for inflation, the economy grew at a solid annual rate of 3.3 percent—in line with pre-report expectations, but 0.3 percent higher than the first estimate. Upward revisions in nonresidential fixed investment, state and local spending, and private inventories were responsible for most of the increase.
In 2017, the economy has grown at annual rates of 1.2 percent in the first quarter, 3.1 percent in the second quarter and 3.3 percent in the third quarter, so the trend is favorable. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Nowcast model estimates the economy will grow at 3.93 percent in the fourth quarter. In contrast, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model estimates fourth quarter growth will be 3.5 percent.
Competing tax reform bills passed by the U. S. House and Senate are heading for reconciliation. Although differences exist, both versions should spur economic growth. Both give businesses greater opportunity to earn profits and be internationally competitive. Both will put more money in most consumers' pockets.
Because of a tighter margin for error in the Senate, the final bill is likely to contain more, if not all, of the provisions proposed by the Senate. Compared to the House, the Senate's version delays corporate tax rate cuts until 2019, but still allows full expensing of most investments beginning in 2018. The Senate bill lowers all individual tax brackets, increases the child tax credit, allows the student-loan interest deduction and expands the medical interest deduction temporarily. Both versions have a 20 percent corporate rate and nearly double the standard deduction for individuals.
Most economic trends have been positive. The stock market continues to regularly set all-time record highs, economic growth is solid, profits are good, employment is up, unemployment is down and inflation is low. The growth in regulations has been slowed. Tax reform is on the horizon. Nothing is certain, and many geopolitical factors are worrisome. But the U. S. economy has been seeing a rash of good news.
In the world, we occasionally experience good news. In the kingdom, we have the opportunity to hear, experience the fruit of and share the good news in this life and for eternity. According to GotQuestions, "gospel," which occurs 93 times in the Bible, literally means "good news," and is the word from which evangelist, evangel and evangelical are derived. The gospel can refer to all Scripture in a broad sense, or more narrowly, the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. This article will refer, primarily to the latter.
Paul taught that the gospel (good news) he preached to the Corinthians had resulted in their salvation because they believed. He reiterated that the good news was that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day. He told the Romans that the gospel of Christ is the power of God for salvation to all who believe and that he is not ashamed of it.
"Now, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which you have received, and in which you stand. Through it you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by Cephas, and then by the twelve" (1 Cor. 15:1-5).
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, 'The just shall live by faith'" (Rom. 1:16-17).
Jesus taught the good news of the kingdom. Paul taught the good news of Christ. Their messages were the same. Both of their messages had attesting miracles.
"Jesus went throughout all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all sorts of diseases among the people" (Matt. 4:23).
"by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 15:19).
The good news of the kingdom implies power (see 1 Cor. 4:20). The gospel has the power to save through the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-5, Eph. 1:13). The gospel consists of righteous, peace and joy—through the power of the Holy Spirit.
"For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20).
"In Him you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit" (Eph. 1:13).
"For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
Good news is exciting! We all have difficulties waiting to share good news. Do parents or grandparents share the accomplishments of their children or grandchildren? Do sports fans share the exploits of their favorite team? Are unexpected honors or opportunities shared?
If we truly believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, are we willing to share it? Are we willing to testify of the blessings we have received from our Savior?
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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