young-adults

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE ANSWER

– Mike Beecraft

I’ve been in a ton of VBS dramas over the years acting as the hero, but I’ve also had the joy of playing the evil villain. Maybe it’s me, but playing the bad guy is great, being the one who causes the trouble, conflict, and all-around mischief. But sadly, in the end, my earth-dominating plan comes crashing down and I get what’s coming to me (usually a classic accident—like this tragic fall—or untimely exile to some lonely island).

If the script writers are particularly skilled, the enemy will come to a place where they become a good guy, experiencing full-scale redemption. Cue the altar call!

We love to categorize. There are “good” people: caring, loving, generous, patient, selfless, and compassionate—and then there are bad people: selfish, mean, rude, immoral, and hateful. We draw lines and choose who belongs where, some on our good and some on our bad side. It’s a mechanism we deploy as humans to cope with our own “badness” and make ourselves seem better in comparison. Maybe by this time Matthew 5:44 is floating through your mind, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Well I have news for you! A line was drawn along time ago, and not by us. God made it. Guess what side we were all on? The bad side.

Romans 5:6-10 describes us as weak, ungodly sinners, enemies of God. This clearly lays out for us that there is one common state to all humanity: bad. God even once hit the reset button on humanity due to our badness.

Genesis 6:5 – “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Ouch.

This verse hammers home the state of mankind. We like to think that, post-flood, things were all fine and dandy, but it seems lots of water and death weren’t the answer to the human condition.

(At this point you may be wondering, “Mike, where’s the good news? Hold on—it’s coming.)

Knowing our state apart from Christ is bad is the great equalizer of mankind. I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me. We’re both bad; we’re both sinful. As humans we strive to reach an elite status, but the sinful heart is something we all have in common. Our sin may show up in different ways, with differing circumstances as a result, but any sin always equals death.

The good news? Our answer to the problem is the same too. The solution for the human condition is life—the perfect life of Jesus.

The answer for all of mankind is the mercy, grace, and substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus. From the “worst” of us to the “best” of us, we can have the same life, the same death, and the same resurrection of Jesus.

If Jesus came to make good people better, none would qualify. We are not good on own. We’re bad!—and knowing it causes us to be humbled and empowered to share that common answer with those around us.

Jesus came perfectly fulfilling His own command in Matthew 5:44 – “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Great love lays down its life, and Jesus laid it down for all mankind.

On the cross Jesus prayed honestly and passionately for the very people who nailed Him to the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Those soldiers who whipped and mocked Christ were on the same bad side as you and me. But the beauty of the Gospel is that He came and died for the bad people and placed us within His goodness.

In Christ, you and I are brand new and given His righteousness; apart from Christ we are left with our badness. So let’s be bold to share the good news of the Gospel and see more people become a part of the righteousness of Christ.

Christian, don’t fall into the ditch of thinking you’re better—or worse—than anyone. We all need the gospel, the same redeeming love of Christ.