Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Today, many people are stressing that the presentation of the gospel ought not have the kind of “negative” stuff that older generations often included. This generation is not interested in being told that they are sinners before a holy God. If we want to win them to Christ, we need to promise them all sorts of good things and kindness, to tell them that they are good people who are loved by God.
The problem with the love and happiness only form of “gospel” presentation is clearly evident in what Jesus said above. When Jesus was meeting with judgmental religious teachers, he made a point of teaching them that a person who has been forgiven much will love much more. When a person thinks they deserve to be welcomed into God’s presence, they are not overly-grateful when they hear that God will let them in. But, a person who actually thinks they deserve to be excluded from the family of God will be very grateful for God’s adopting grace.
Think about it if you are a Christian. If you are saved, one thing that you know is that you do not deserve to be saved. You cried out for the grace of Christ when you recognized that you were under the wrath of God and rightfully so. It is the reality of the danger of God’s wrath that magnifies the infinite beauty of his grace.
We must not try to strip the “bad” news from the good news. To be saved means that we are saved from something. We are not saved from ourselves; we are saved from the wrath of God that we have rightfully earned. If we present a gospel that does not include the danger the lost face, we do not present a real gospel.
The point I’m trying to make is not to so focus on the negative that we miss the glorious kindness and love of God. God loves us. But, what God loves about us is not our goodness. We earn nothing kind from God. Grace means that we could not ever do anything to make ourselves right with him. Grace means that the love of God is a gift, a kindness, a mercy. Let us present the true gospel of Christ’s grace, and we who are forgiven much will love much.