The Gospel doesn’t make bad people good; it makes dead people alive

For many Christian artists, the Gospel has gone out of style. In some cases, it's even seen as a negative thing. It may never be said that explicitly, but the Gospel is seen as “too intense” or “fundamental” or “old-school,” somehow less sophisticated, and not appropriate for our modern times.
Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce


This mentality has paved the way for a Christian art culture that focuses on messages other than the Gospel. Today, it’s more about life transformation or inspirational testimonies. We love to hear about alcoholics or drug addicts who came to Jesus and are now free of their addictions.

Hear me clearly, when you surrender your life to Jesus he changes you, and when He does, we should celebrate that. But God is more than another approach to behavior modification. A person can overcome addiction in many ways. Some go to therapy, some take medication, others try meditation, and others simply rely on willpower and discipline. This may sound controversial, but Jesus is not the only thing that can change your behavior - thankfully He does so much more than that.

Tullian Tchividjian in his book Surprised by Grace wrote “The Gospel doesn’t make bad people good; it makes dead people alive. That’s the difference between the gospel of Jesus Christ and every other world religion.”

People do not need another self-help, life improvement plan. They need to be made alive. They need to be reconciled to their Creator and forgiven for the bad things they’ve done.

Sadly, we have been selling people short by limiting Jesus to a program for behavioral change.

Taking on social issues is another popular substitute for the preaching the Gospel. Coming to Jesus means taking on His heart, and it is undeniable that God’s heart breaks for the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the “least of these.” To be like Jesus is to step into the fray and make a difference. It means pouring our lives out for the widow and the orphan. Despite the lack of recognition, Christianity has always been a major force for social good. Throughout history, Christian men and women have stepped up to fight for equality and justice.

I believe that Christian artists need take part in the effort to rid the world of poverty, suffering, and inequality.But social justice and the Gospel were never meant to be separate pursuits. In Christianity today, we have created a false dichotomy. Either you do good works, or you share the Gospel. I think this is a misunderstanding. Good works are grounded in, motivated by, and back up the Gospel.

I understand the attraction to social justice efforts, and in no way am I minimizing their importance. But, without the Gospel, there is NO social justice.

You want to end poverty. Preach the Gospel! The only way we will end the systemic corruption and greed, that leads to poverty is through the heart transformative power of the Gospel.

Do you want to end the sex trade? Preach the Gospel. Only the transforming power of the Gospel can bring conviction and repentance to millions of men and women whose lustful appetites perpetuates and fuels an entire industry of exploitation and slavery.

I want to believe that deep down all artists who are followers of Jesus want to use their art to make a difference. But what I have experienced is that only through God’s power unleashed through the bold proclamation of the Gospel will any significant change be possible.

I believe it's time that Christian artists start sharing the Gospel again. This doesn't mean we must cram it into every word of every song. We need to love those God has called to, and learn to speak in a relevant way. But I have seen in over ten years of using art and music in ministry that when you are willing to lift up the Cross, God moves, and lives are changed!

Related items

  • Episode 163: The World Thinks We’re Weird, and It’s Our Fault!

    In this episode, David shares about his day as a wedding singer in southeastern Turkey.

    The guys then move on the critical subject of relevance. They ask whether we have become foreigners in our cities and how we can become relevant in sharing the Gospel in secular culture. They talk about the need to develop authentic relationships with nonbelievers to learn how to communicate the Gospel effectively outside of the church.

    This discussion is vital to any Christian wanting to use their lives to reach people for Jesus!

  • Episode 162: Talking Total Loss and Finding Jesus with Austin Carlile (Of Mice and Men/Attack! Attack!)

    While in Hawaii for a Provoke&Inspire conference, Austin Carlile (Of Mice and Men/Attack! Attack!) joins Ben, David and Chad in person to share his story, the loss he’s experienced in his life, how he found Jesus in the midst of everything and what God is doing in and through his life now!

  • Episode 161: Are Your Trading Significance for Comfort? Estonia Road Report!

    In the latest Provoke and Inspire podcast episode, David and Ben talk about a difficult No Longer Music show in Estonia.

    They discuss how easy it is to see things through human eyes and how often we say we want to serve God but want to be comfortable.

    They ask the critical question does a significant life require challenge, and is it possible to make a difference without facing hardships?

  • Would Jesus Watch Game of Thrones?

    *This blog post is a follow-up to Episode 157 of the Provoke & Inspire Podcast: “Should Followers of Jesus Be Watching Game of Thrones?"*

    To listen to the full episode click here.

  • Episode 160: Do You Call Yourself a Christian but Have the Faith of an Atheist?

    The latest podcast episode features Ben and David while on the road with No Longer Music. Huddled together in a sweaty Lithuanian lodge, the boys discuss the incredible things God is doing every night.

    Ben raises the critical question of why is it that we tend to live like an atheist despite believing in God? They share personal struggles in this area and share how they have learned to pray bold, faith-filled prayers amid adversity.

    This is a critical conversation for any follower of Jesus. Check it out!

    Don't forget to rate and review the podcast on iTunes:

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Please wait