Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? I really don’t know the statistics, but it seems to me that most people would want the bad news first. Maybe for the same reason I learned to eat the vegetables first. That way the last taste in your mouth is something good, right?
Well, God certainly gave the bad news first. He showed us our sin and then told us the way of salvation. He revealed the whole truth to us.
Many teachers who claim to teach grace forget that there really is bad news before the good. Sin is real and the consequences of sin in our lives are real. Those who are apart from Christ, who are unsaved, are “in sin” according to the Scriptures. That simply means that their spiritual condition or state is under the control of and in the realm of sin. What they will find is that there is nothing they can do about it from the inside. The futility of dealing with sin moves people to seek an answer outside themselves.
As we teach grace, of course, we know that we have the good news to proclaim. Jesus came to take us out of sin and bring us into Himself. I don’t have the space here to go into all that means, but it truly changes everything. Our life source is Jesus. In Him we have hope and peace and strength and wisdom and victory. And we are no longer in sin—we are in Him!
So, the strange thing that I see is the grace teacher who tells the unsaved person that he is forgiven and free and he no longer has to worry about sin, while the law teacher goes to the church and tells the believers that they should live under condemnation and shame because of their sin. What a mess!
Grace is about truth. The truth is that those who are apart from Jesus are lost and remain in their sins. The truth is that those who belong to Jesus are forgiven and are part of His kingdom forever. This isn’t law versus grace. This is the simple truth of the gospel.
And that’s grace.