The Brilliance of God’s Grace

by Greg Laurie on Feb 17, 2024
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.
—Ephesians 2:1

I am amazed by anyone who actually believes that people are basically good. I have to say that, in many ways, they have more faith than I do to believe that.

As I see the depravity that humanity is capable of, I become more convinced of the fact that people are not basically good. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. And that is clearly what the Scriptures teach.

Ephesians 2:1–2 says, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God” (NLT).

In these verses, the apostle Paul paints a very dark background so that we might better appreciate the brilliance of God’s grace. Just as jewelers display beautiful gems on dark velvet so we can appreciate their splendor, so God, against a very dark background, shows us how bad we once were. But He also shows us what He can make us into.

It is this balanced understanding of humanity that gives the Christian the only logical and satisfactory answer as to why the world is the way it is.

Make no mistake about it: We are sinners to the core. We don’t have to teach our children how to sin. It comes quite naturally to them, just as it came naturally to us. We aren’t sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. It is in our nature.

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the scorpion and the turtle. The scorpion was thinking about how to cross a river when he saw a turtle sunning himself on the riverbank. So, he went over to the turtle and said, “My dear sir, I was wondering if you might give me a lift across this river here.”

“If I were to do that,” the turtle replied, “I think that you might sting me.”

“What would be the logic in doing such a thing?” the scorpion asked.

“Well, you have a point there,” said the turtle. “Climb on.” So, the scorpion climbed on the turtle’s back, and they started making their way across the river. But suddenly, the scorpion lifted his tail and stuck it into the turtle, giving him everything that he had.

The turtle, knowing that they were both about to die, said, “I have just one question: Why did you sting me? Where is the logic in that?”

“There is no logic in it, dear turtle,” the scorpion said. “It is just my nature.”

We sin because it’s our nature. We do what we do because we are wired to do it. It’s the way we are built. It is not that we are products of our environment, although that can affect us to some degree. We can be in a perfect environment or a horrible environment and still sin.

It is just our nature. Yet God shows us what we can become by His grace.

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