I want to make one big point here: Grace prevents sin.
The more you preach grace, the freeing news that God unconditionally accepts sinners because of the performance of Jesus, the more you’ll see incredible things happen in your church. Yes grace is always preached in conjunction with God’s law, but as you place the accent on grace and make it the central message and cultural ingredient of your church, you’ll discover that good news (grace) actually prevents sin better than commands, rules, and imperatives.
We need the law. The law is good, a “delight” the Psalmists call it. But only the radical, Outer-Space-ish, I’ve-never-heard-this-before, this-sounds-too-good-to-be-true, unabashed biblical message of grace can transform people from the inside out. A real dent in fighting sin is made when people’s core motivations are changed. Grace does that.
Grace prevents sin.
I’ve never seen the law of God make someone cry. Presently, in my church, I’m watching loads of people weep tears of repentance for sin and gratitude for being undeservedly loved as they hear the good news of grace. Tears don’t lie.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, exposes a sinner like grace–the news that you’re simultaneously so bad and so loved that Someone Else had to and was glad to live, die, and rise again for you. Grace devastates your pride. When we learn that Someone Else suffered for us, performed for us, covered for us, that changes everything.
Mad about all the sinning you see inside yourself and others? Preach grace louder, longer, and more often. Grace. More and more grace. That’s what we need.
Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church, a church plant in Silicon Valley, and author of the book The Big Story: How The Bible Makes Sense Out of Life and Date Your Wife.