Condemnation or Grace

Bruce Menning

READ : John 3:1-17

God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (v. 17)

An old adage says it’s easier to attract flies with honey than with vinegar. Apparently the saying is also true when it comes to preaching. While in San Jose, Costa Rica, I ventured into the central city’s crowded market square. In the center of a circle of spectators, a street preacher and his family sang spiritual songs, witnessed winsomely to their faith, and preached a gospel of God’s free gift of grace in Jesus Christ. The gathered “congregation” listened respectfully. These listeners were engaged with the message of the evangelist. Some responded to his invitation to confess faith in Jesus. More joined the throng and all stayed until the final amen.

When the grace-filled evangelist left, another preacher took up the vacated spot. He switched on his battery-powered amplifier and pointed his loudspeakers toward the crowd. In a bullhorn voice and with emphatic gestures he launched into a hellfire message of God’s wrath and impending doom. No one stopped to listen to his sermon. Undaunted, the preacher continued his harangue, apparently preaching only to himself.

The world is drawn to the God of free and unmerited grace in Jesus Christ.


Grant, O God, that my words and actions might witness to your grace. Amen.