Lessons are built into life. Love and truth must go hand in hand. Love and deceit are contradictory. There is no such thing as love without cost. God’s love to us came at the price of the death of His Son, and we can’t appreciate that forgiveness and receive that love while substituting our own will for the plan He has for our lives.
Think about it: A world without ultimate justice would be a very cruel world. It is here that the Good News of Christ shines in its greatest brilliance. Sin is bad news, but it remains bad news only if we stop short of the remedy. It is good news when we recognize sin for what it is and understand God’s offer of forgiveness.
If we think of our mistakes and our wrongs only in terms of how they affect us, and don’t consider what they mean to God, there really is no hope. Just feeling guilty does not get to the heart of the problem. We make a huge mistake if we think of sin as just unethical or immoral. We are not just unethical; we are lost in sin and spiritually dead.
But this is the Good News! When I recognize sin—whether it be an addiction, greed, lust, gluttony, drunkenness, hatred, jealousy, or any number of other failings—when I can say, “I’m not just guilty, I’m a sinner,” then someone can say to me, “Ah, I have a Savior for you who has paid the price and offers forgiveness because of His grace and mercy.”
The Bible warns us of the judgment of God if we reject Him and alienate ourselves from Him. (See, for example, Matthew 18:8; 25:41, 46; Mark 3:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 6:2; Jude 1:7.) Look these verses up for yourself and you will see that to leave your sin unacknowledged is to choose a destiny of eternal separation from God, cut off from His love, beauty, and purpose for your life. That’s the bad news of ignoring the Good News.
Even more passages in the Bible reveal that forgiveness and restoration come from the heart of God. First John 1:9 states it most clearly: “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”104 In this strange way, sin is part of the Good News of the gospel.
The biggest difference between Jesus Christ and the ethical and moral teachers who have been revered by man is that the teachers tried to make bad people good, but Jesus came to make dead people live. East or west, north or south, ancient or modern, the problem is the same and the solution is the same. Once we understand the heinousness of sin, we will gain a deep and lasting gratitude to God.
I was seventeen years old on a bed of attempted suicide in Delhi when I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I was not a bad man becoming a good man; I was a dead man who was now going to live for a cause greater than himself. Someone has said that sin scorches us most when it comes under the scrutinizing light of God’s forgiveness. All of us who are forgiven know how scorching sin can be. That’s why we can truly appreciate what the converted slave trader, John Newton, wrote: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”