Good News for Bad People

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

It was early on a Sunday morning, sometime in late winter of 2002. I’d been on a crystal meth binge, up for nearly three days in the midst of one of the craziest, out-of-control phases of my life. Back home in Iowa I knew my family was likely sitting in church; looking in the mirror I saw the reflection of a scared little boy who was desperately trying to be a man without a clue how to do much of anything beyond living for the moment. “So this is what addiction looks like” I quietly thought to myself with resignation and a twinge of sadness. Just a few weeks before an old friend from college that was also deep into drugs had messaged me on AOL, telling me he was sober, following Jesus again and soon to be married. “Could that happen to me too?” I wondered; could there actually be hope for someone as lost as me?

Of course I know the answer to that question - I’m writing this blog right now because of hope!!! It took a couple more years, but Jesus did finally get through and like my friend I too was able to become sober and follow Jesus once more.

There were many years when my family nearly lost hope; maybe there is someone you love who seems beyond all hope as well. Leroy Eims from the Navigators addresses this subject in his devotional “Good News for Bad People,” sharing a phone conversation he had late one night with a man who felt he might not go to heaven because of all the bad things he’d done.

Thankfully there’s good news for that man - and any of us who struggle with the same worries about our salvation. Eims shares this hope-filled message from the Word of God:

...the amazing thing about the Bible’s good news of salvation is how much God loves sinners. Romans 5:6 says, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus said that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. That’s the message we find in Hosea 2:23: “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.'” The grace of God extends to everyone who turns to the Lord in repentance and faith. Listen to Jesus’ words in John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

There is not a single person on this earth who is beyond the love, mercy and grace of our Savior. He can change any life - I’m proof of that! If you’re like that man who called Leroy late at night, worried that he wasn’t good enough to get into heaven, take a moment to focus on God’s Word and let truth sink in deep. We are sinners saved by God’s grace, and as Eims says in his conclusion, “Nothing in your past is a barrier to the grace and mercy of God.”