When we share the gospel with people, but present it as a works based religion (not the real gospel), it may look like we are encouraging spiritual maturity, but what we are actually creating are just more Pharisees.
Why? Because when people get trained up to think they can do it on their own if they would just exert a little more willpower, discipline or self-control, it sends them on a prideful works trip, constantly with their eyes on themselves and their own strength and ability, often comparing themselves to others.
In contrast, sharing the gospel of grace with people and pointing them to Jesus (who is grace) works quite the opposite. This sets people in a place of rest and peace.
If they are hearing the true gospel they know that God is not good to them because they have been good enough to deserve it, but simply because He Is Good! This in turn causes them to want to put their trust in Christ more and more to do His work in and through them.
Then guess what happens? This results in people who are extremely grateful to Jesus. They simply can’t help themselves. They become consumed with living full force for Him!
I know it’s hard for people to believe this sometimes, but there really is NO bad news in the Good News. The only bad news for you is if you choose not to believe the Good News.
For example: As a Christian, if you scream at your kids and you choose not to believe that God loves you just as much as He did before you screamed (see Romans 8:38-39) and if you choose not to believe that you are still righteous in Christ (see Romans 3:28) and if you choose not to believe that you stand forgiven because of Jesus’ blood (see Hebrews 10:11-12), your unbelief will lead to bad things, including guilt, anxiety and fear that will end up causing you to scream more often and behave even worse.
But if you choose to believe the Good News about grace (God’s unmerited favor – meaning there is nothing you can do to earn or deserve it), you will fall deeply in love with Jesus and be one of the most thankful people on the planet and since you have chosen to receive God’s grace instead of trying to pay for your sin through your own self-effort – the Holy Spirit will then go to work in you, changing you from the inside out. Then you’ll be even more thankful that, in addition to everything else, He keeps changing you by His grace. “Seriously” You’ll be thinking, “God is SO good!”
I’m telling you right now – you’ll end up walking in love with your kids more and more and screaming at them less and less as you choose to believe the Good News and as you remember that there’s no bad news in the Good News… that is, unless you refuse to believe it!
Update, Update! I just had to come back to this blog post today, 2.5 years after first posting this and say that believing in the Good News really works.
For example, I’m a much better Mom than I used to be?
How? I have been spending the past 5.5 years receiving God’s grace, including the following aspects of His grace:
- Remembering I’m unconditionally loved…not matter what
- Remembering I’m righteous in Christ…no matter what
- Remembering I’m completely forgiven…no matter what
And believe me, I know it’s only because of God’s grace that I get to receive these wonderful gifts, made possible all because of Jesus.
Before, when I wasn’t living under God’s grace but was living under the law, if anyone complemented me on being a good Mom I would immediately give credit to the parenting principles I had learned and implemented over the years. I’m not saying good parenting principles are not helpful and important, but I didn’t even think about giving God the glory back then.
Now I know the Good News is the Good News about God’s grace – about the person of grace – Jesus Christ. I now understand that anything I ever manage to do right is by His grace and by His grace alone!
I refuse to stop believing in and receiving it. If I did, that would be crazy of me (read Galatians chapter 3), for His great grace has radically transformed my life and it will radically transform anyone’s life who has come to the end of their own way of doing things and their own self effort and is ready to step under and live under the waterfall of God’s grace!
If you’re not already living there, I encourage you to step under it and just keep receiving from Jesus… no matter what.
If you’ll agree to live there, there is no way possible that you can keep from being changed, from improving, from getting better, from being more effective, from fulfilling all that God has called you to do; because while your resting in Jesus, relying on His finished work and receiving from Him, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Grace) will be changing your heart from the inside out.
Believe me – I Am A Witness!
6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. 7 ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” (NASB)
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!