Why the Real You Isn’t Good News
Who are you? I don’t mean your name necessarily. I mean, what makes you, you.
If we were meeting for the first time, we would both introduce ourselves with the good stuff. We might talk about our families, our jobs, our hobbies, our school . . .
We like to polish our identity up to a high shine, but that’s not the whole story, is it?
David has a way of writing with a brand of brutal honesty that I love. Here’s one way he answered the question, “Who are you?”
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight (Ps. 51:1–4).
Want to hear my true confession? I’m a sinner, too. So are you. The Bible says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). That’s the not-so-shiny truth about who we really are. Put that on your Facebook profile.
Paul answered the “who are you” question by describing himself as the foremost of sinners. Sometimes I feel like I’m giving him a run for his money.
The truth is, who we are is very bad news. We are sinners who cannot shake our sin nature. No matter how much we want to or try to, we cannot live sin free.
And the bad news keeps coming . . .
For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
The cost of our sin is death. Who we are has put us on a path toward destruction.
But . . .
The reality of who we are is very bad news, but there is good news. The rest of Romans 6:23 says, “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The bad news is we deserve death. But the story doesn’t end there.
What Is the Gospel?
Have you ever heard of the gospel? That’s a word that shows up in the New Testament about the time Jesus starts preaching and teaching. Gospel simply means good news. But what is the good news, exactly?
Even though the gospel is mentioned nearly 100 times in the New Testament, Paul sums it up for us in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
The gospel is this:
- We are sinners who deserve death.
- Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins.
This is the reason why Paul called this message the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24). It is why all Christians are called to proclaim the gospel to those who are still sentenced to death by their sin (Mark 16:15).
A Gospel Worth Preaching
The gospel is what makes us Christians. It is a message we should want to shout from the rooftops. Romans 1:16 says it this way: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Simply put, the gospel changes everything.
Written by Erin Davis