11. The Gospel requires clarity about the true nature of sin. Since the gospel of grace is good news about the solution to a problem, we have to be clear on the nature of the problem. What is the sin we are saved from?
Sin results in ignorance, but sin is much deeper than that. The gospel is not simply an education programme.
Sin means people don’t choose well, but sin is much deeper than that. The gospel is not really about God empowering our wills to choose rightly.
Sin means people broke and break the law – lawlessness, but sin goes deeper than that too. The gospel is not simply about God enabling us to become law-keepers again.
In the Fall, humanity didn’t just shift the moral prerogative from God to themselves, they shifted their entire affection.
Sin, at its core, is about rebellious rejection of the love of God in favour of love for self that influences every facet of our life and being. Our first parents turned from a love relationship with God to the death of self-love (a deathly curvature of the soul). The gospel has to address this deepest motivational reality of sin. In the Gospel, God needs to somehow captivate our hearts and overcome our powerful self-affection with a greater and more compelling affection, thereby drawing us back into fellowship with Him, which is life itself.
If we aren’t clear about the depth and extent of sin, then our Gospel presentations will be inadequate. People will listen and compare themselves with the depraved individuals that make the TV news, presuming their need is less since they don’t break the law quite that much. But when sin is seen as a heart issue at its core, then people can start to see that the manifestation might be lawless rebellion, or it might equally be self-righteous religiosity.
We must be clear on the bad news, in order to be clear on the good news.