We who are in the Church and are Christians often forget that those who are not in the Church are not Christians. I know this sounds obvious, but I think it is something we should better keep in mind when we are sharing the Gospel. This is what I mean: those who do not have Christ can do no good work. Even our good works are only good and we are only capable of doing good because of Christ. But what of those outside of the Church? They do not act like Christians because they are not. So why do we so often expect them to do so?
Before we had Christ in us, we were full of blame, covered in shame, and seen only by our sin. It was Christ who worked in us and saved us from our sin. He redeemed us, washing us, taking upon Himself our shame by nailing it to the cross. because of His sacrifice, we are now spotless and He lives in us. This makes us Christians. This is why we know that it is wrong to steal, to lie, to commit adultery, to kill, to hate, to blaspheme, and to do anything that is not of God. We know what sin is and what wrong is. Even if the sinful nature works against us, we have the Spirit of God working in and through us.
But what about those who do not have Christ in them? Can we really expect them to act in a way that is pleasing to the Lord? Even we, who have now been made rich in mercy, were once filthy with sin and did not know right from wrong. With this in mind, of course we cannot expect those outside of the Church to act in accordance with His will! That would be ridiculous. So then, why do we go to each unbelieving sinner we know and point out their faults? They are already mired in the Law. Even if some are a law unto themselves, as the law is written on our hearts, that does not mean they are walking in Christ’s steps. This is our calling and response to God’s love. We know that we are forgiven of our rebellion. But here is the key: they neither know that they have rebelled nor that they need to be forgiven.
In short, they do not know the Gospel. And this, dear friends, is why we must share the Gospel with them. Even now I find this difficult. I am giving a command, instruction, because of our shortcomings as followers of Christ. How much so do we need mercy! How much do we need His grace and forgiveness daily, nay, every moment! It is He who sustains us. As the Scriptures say, thanks be to God for His marvelous gift!
This is why we must share the Gospel with the lost. The world and all the people in it are mired in the Law. Whether they recognize it or not, they experience the consequences of sin, be they immediate or far off. All will die an eternal death without Christ; this is the Law of sin and death. Thus, we need to tell them that Christ came down and gave Himself up for us. That is how much they are worth: God’s own and only begotten Son. We are not the sum of our talents, or our strength, or what we have done. We can do nothing. In fact, we did not know that anything needed to be done. Instead, while we all were sinners, Christ came and died for us. The same is true for all unbelievers. We must tell them that in Genesis, while mankind lived in perfection, we rebelled. Yet God promised a Savior even then. This rebellion is why we need forgiveness; this is why we needed a Savior. Thanks be to God that He sent His Son to us, undeserving though we be. The Gospel is what the lost need to hear!
When we tell people about Christ, do not start with the law. We can correct those in the Church, and we should. But for those outside the Church, they still need Love. They do not have it yet, even though they crave it. They want it, but do not know where to find it. How terrible it is that we, who know God’s Love and share in His blessings, are known as being hateful, unforgiving. While sin is still sin and wrongdoing is wrongdoing, let us not begin with the Law in hopes of turning people from their sin. Let us begin by showing care and grace as we were shown. We love because Christ first loved us. Let us not put any more stumbling blocks in their way, thus doing the Devil’s work. Let us speak the truth in love, with gentleness and respect, so that all may come to a knowledge of the truth. Let us speak so they may know the riches of His mercy and grace. Let us speak to that they may know the Savior who loves them and made them worth everything.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
~ 1 Timothy 1:15-17 ~
Blessings to you and yours,