Why Believing You’re a Bad Person is a Good Thing

One of the most effective ways to witness to people is asking them a few questions related to the Ten Commandments. Of course, it’s the best way to do it because Jesus did it in the story of The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-30). What were these questions Jesus asked?

  • Have you ever committed murder?
  • Have you ever committed adultery?
  • Have you ever stolen something?
  • Have you ever lied?

As you might expect, every knowledgeable student of Scripture knows that Jesus is not merely referring to those external acts. He equates a hate-filled heart with murder, lustful intentions with adultery, the smallest item (irrespective of its value) as theft, and the tiniest white lie as, well, a lie.

Another person who has personified this style of evangelism is Ray Comfort, Founder and CEO of Living Waters Ministries. I encourage you to take a look at his thousands of videos on YouTube.

With that aside, you have to ask yourself this question: How do you get to the point of asking those heavy questions to the other person?

Ask them if they think they’re a good person.

The vast majority of the time, people will gladly tell you they’re a good person. They won’t have any issue proclaiming their so-called inherent goodness. So, don’t be afraid to ask that question–they will certainly welcome it. However, there is a major problem: people believing they are inherently good is a bad thing.

In this post, I seek to show why believing you’re a bad person is actually a good thing.

From Gloom to Glory

Ligonier Ministries did a research study in 2018 and found that 52% of (professing) evangelicals agreed with the following: “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.”

In response, here’s what Ligonier commented:

This idea flatly contradicts the Bible, which teaches the radical corruption of every human being and declares that no one does good by nature (Rom. 3:10–12). This is why we need the gospel in the first place—because none of us is good.

We cannot know the beauty of Christ’s redemptive work if we do not see our radical wickedness. All throughout the pages of Scripture, we see the gloom of man’s nature. We are bad people. We are not just bad, but our heart is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). The Bible certainly paints a darker picture of us than we do. We can’t know the glory that is the work of Christ until we know the gloom of our sinful nature.

You’re Bad, Christ is Good—and You are His!

I fully understand that people don’t want to believe they’re bad people. In a world that is so focused on people’s “self-esteem”–which, in my opinion, is another way we focus on ourselves too much–the last thing people want to hear is they’re bad. But like I said above, people won’t relish in the beauty of God’d redemptive work in Christ if they don’t first believe and admit that they are bad people.

If we weren’t bad people, Christ wouldn’t have needed to come.

When we admit that we’re bad, we can focus our attention on the goodness of Christ. Moreover, once we repent and believe (Mark 1:15), we are in Christ, and are completely and totally good in God’s eyes. And that goodness is not our own, but is Christ’s perfect righteousness given to us.

You see, when we know we are Christ’s, believing we’re bad people inherently is the most liberating thing, because we know God doesn’t look at our badness, but Christ’s goodness. Hence, it is all about God!

Glory in Christ’s Goodness, not Your Badness

The point I’m attempting to make is not for you to take pleasure in how bad you were before Christ. My point is for you to see your old self in light of Christ, knowing what God did for you, and relish in His grace. It’s okay–even good!–to believe you’re a bad person, because that leads you to look at the perfect person–Jesus Christ. The moment we believe we’re inherently good people is the moment that His atoning work means nothing for you. Don’t let that happen. Read the pages of Scripture to remind yourself of where you were before Christ–and, at times, where you find yourself to be while in Christ–and then look straight at the cross and what He did on your behalf!

It’s a good thing to believe you’re a bad person, because that magnifies God’s work in Christ all the more.

Soli Deo Gloria

Cover photo courtesy of Gabriela Palai at pexels.com

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