Good News For Bad People

By Pastor Charlie Parish

Do you consider yourself to be a good person? A person’s understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ hinges upon how they answer that question. Many people think themselves to be good because their standard of measure is other sinful human beings.

We consider ourselves to be good because we are not as bad as the criminals on the five o’clock news. Or maybe because we don’t cheat on our spouse like the neighbor down the street.

But what if the standard of measure to determine our goodness was not other people, but a Holy and sinless God? What if the measure of which to answer this question was not man’s laws, but God’s?

Do you personally consider yourself to be a good person? Well take this short 5 question test and find out!

Question 1: Have You Ever Told a Lie, Even a Little White Lie?
If your answer was yes, what do you call someone who lies?
ANSWER: A Liar.

Question 2: Have You Ever Stolen Anything, Even a Pen?
If your answer was yes, what do you call someone who steals?
ANSWER: A Thief

Question 3: Have You Ever Used God’s Name in Vain?

If your answer was yes, that is the sin of blasphemy. A very serious offense in the sight of God.

What do you call someone who blasphemies?
ANSWER: A Blasphemer

Question 4: Have You Ever Committed Adultery?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-32 that if you even so much as look upon a person with lust, then you have already committed adultery in your heart. What do you call someone who commits this act?

ANSWER: An Adulterer

Question 5: Have You Ever Committed Murder?

Jesus said in Matthew 5 that if you have hatred for someone, then you have committed the act of murder in your heart. What do you call someone who commits murder?

ANSWER: A Murderer

So how did you do?

If you answered yes to each question, then by your own admission you are a lying, thieving, blaspheming, Murderer and an adulterer at heart…..just like the rest of us.

Just so you know, these were only 5 of the Ten Commandments, proving that we have broken every one of God’s laws.

Now, if you were to stand before God on judgement day with this failed test in hand, proving that you are a cosmic law-breaker, would God declare you innocent or guilty? Would you go to Heaven or Hell?

Many will immediately answer this question by saying that they are guilty, but God will simply forgive them because that is what He does. But there is a problem with that. God cannot merely forgive all of the times we have broken His laws, because that would make Him an evil and unjust judge.

Consider an earthly judge for a moment. Imagine that someone had come into your home and murdered your whole family. The police catch this man and you sit in the courtroom as he is to be sentenced.

All of the sudden, the judge says, “I am a merciful judge, and I see that this man has done more good things in his life than bad, so I’m going to forgive his trespasses and let him go.”

Would you consider this judge to be a good man? Of course not. A horrible crime was committed, and justice must be served.

God is not a bad judge. Therefore He cannot let our sins and transgressions of His Holy Law go unpunished. Justice must be served. This answers the ultimate question.

God is a good God. And we are not good people. According to His Law, we are guilty of multiply crimes and we deserve to be cast into Hell. Our good works do not have the ability to outweigh even one of our sins.

James said regarding the law of God, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10.

The Apostle Paul said in Galatians that if a person ceases to keep every law of God, then he deserves damnation. “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Galatians 3:10.

Paul tells us that even if a person breaks only one of God’s laws one time, that in and of itself is enough to condemn us to Hell. That is how serious God’s laws are, and how wretched our sins.

This seems harsh to many, but only because we cannot fathom the extreme Holiness of God and the heinous nature of our sins.

Do you feel the tension yet?

So what is a Holy God to do with cosmic, serial lawbreakers like us? Our fine committed against the Almighty must be paid. Our offenses cannot be dismissed. This should cause us to plead the question, “What must I do to be saved?”

The answer is the Gospel, which means good news. You see, it is impossible to fully grasp the good news of the Gospel unless we first understand the bad news of our plight and hopeless.

We are not good people. We are the worst of sinners. But God made a way of salvation for His people.

Before the foundation of the world, God set forth a plan to satisfy His justice against us. Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, stepped out of the Heavens and took on flesh. He lived the perfect life that was demanded by the law of God, and He died the death that was due us. And all of those who will believe upon Jesus and repent of their sins are covered by the blood of Christ and stand justified before God.

And in His death, Christ imputed His perfect record onto all of those who would believe upon Him and repent of their sins, and in exchange He took their guilty record and placed it upon Himself. Jesus endured the full wrath of God that was aimed at us.

Therefore when God looks upon a sinner who has bowed the knee to Christ, He no longer sees them as a criminal, but because of the blood of Christ, they are seen as justified before the Lord.

Jesus satisfied the demands of the law of God that you and I could not.

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4.

You are not a good person. Neither am I.

This is why you and I need a Savior. The rich young ruler in Luke 18 did not believe Jesus to be God, but he considered Jesus to be a good person. Jesus, who is God incarnate, answered the ruler by saying, ““Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good-except God alone.” Luke 18:19.

In essence, Christ was saying to the ruler, “If you don’t think I am God, then why do you call me good?” Because no man is good. Our good deeds don’t erase our transgressions against God nor do they cancel out our sins.

““There is no one righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:10.
No amount of good deeds or acts or morality can save us from the wrath of God. As Paul Washer once said, “God saved us for Himself, by Himself, and from Himself.”

This is why it is so important for all believers to witness this way to others, using the test of the law of God to expose them to their desperate need for Christ.

People who do not believe in Christ are not under the love of God, but they remain under His wrath.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36.

If you have friends or family members who do not know the Lord, give them the good person test. Tell them of God’s Holy and righteous standards, and how desperate our situation is outside of knowing Christ.

And tell them that the Lord commands them to repent of their sins, and believe the Gospel. Seeing ourselves rightly through God’s law leads us to fully realize the beauty of Christ and our dependence upon Him.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24.

The video below is a great example of how to witness and share the Gospel with others by using the mirror of God’s law.

Do not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the ONLY power of God unto salvation! And this is extremely good news for bad people like us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.


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