Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doe the gospel begin with Sin?

God Who Justifies, TheIn his excellent book, The God Who Justifies,  James White writes, “Paul’s indictment of the entirety of mankind forms the foundation of the gospel message. There is no good news where the bad news of man’s sinful state is not clearly proclaimed and perceived. The results of sin (The depravity of man) demand a God-centered gospel.”

What do you think? Does White have it right? Do we begin with the knowledge of man lost in sin, or do we begin with the love, mercy, and grace of God? Why or why not?

As always, your thoughts are deeply appreciated.


  1. Yes, in order to see the gospel we need to see the bad news that we are being saved from. I would contend that we all know in our heart of hearts the truth, and much of our sin is building an artificial reality as a facade to try to shade ourselves from the truth of our sinful nature.

    The facade is paper thin. It is easy to poke holes in. None of us are surprised when light leaks through. But no light will break though unless the facade is punctured.

    God isn't the problem. He is everywhere and he is evident. The problem is us. We build lies to allow ourselves to deny him. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding.

  2. This is a tough question; I have two answers.
    When I first became aware of sin (whenever that was) I didn't have the understanding to call it sin. Early in life I learned the difference between right and wrong and at some point realized that I often liked doing wrong rather than right. Perhaps this was the beginning of understanding sin.
    As a child I was aware of God, at least conceptually. It wasn't until I was an adult that I began to consider the reality of God. As God began to reveal Himself to me I began to understand my sinful condition. I then had a name for the pain in my heart. I began with sin and as God revealed Himself to me, the contrast between sin and God's glory and love...Jesus... drove me to the cross.
    So, my first answer is that we begin with the knowledge of sin. I lived in sin and when God brought me into the light I fled from sin to Him. Sin was and is a catalyst.

    My second answer is that we begin with the love, mercy and grace of God. I believe that from an eternal perspective, as much as I'm able to understand, it was God's love, mercy and grace that allowed sin to become the backdrop to contrast the glory of Jesus for man to see and so be drawn to Him. So, I think ultimately we begin with the love, mercy and grace of God.

  3. I agree, Ron, that we "ultimately begin with the love, mercy and grace of God", especially in election and in the nature of the Triune God as perfect in holiness, joy and love, needing nothing. Since evil is always a parasitic dependent of good, having no independent existence apart from it, than our ultimate starting place with the gospel isn't the evil of man's sin but God's goodness against which sin rebels and is defined (though we must never leave sin out, for that is why we need the Savior in God's plan to glorify Himself in salvation). Begin at the beginning, and in the beginning, GOD created and it was good, because He is good!