“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
The hope of our salvation is based upon the power of God to provide salvation. We as members of creation attribute great power and ability to our Creator, even when scripture, to some extent, defines a limitation of God’s power. That is, apart from the gospel, God has no power to save man’s soul. We as sinful men need our sins forgiven and our souls saved. God himself defines the requirements to obtain salvation. This only makes sense, he is the offended party, therefore he would inform man how to be forgiven.
It is odd to see man’s approach to this situation. Not only has God been offended by man, but man in return informs God of how happy and forgiving he actually is in light of many offenses. This disregard for the fact that consequences do exist and a loving God is going to deal with man’s sin is rampant in our world today. The bible has not failed to be clear, yet man refuses to acknowledge the truth. God is angry with the wicked every day, please understand it is still a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
Our conversation began with the fact that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, yet certain foundational information must first be laid before we can get to such good news. The bad news must be established, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. This is a dangerous fact not to be toyed with. Consider a God that would sacrifice his own Son to pay for sin. What then would that God do to men that reject that sacrifice? What would be the end result of men that refuse to acknowledge the reason for that sacrifice? Hellfire preaching does not exist simply to annoy, the fact is according to God there is a literal lake of fire awaiting the souls of sinful men. Once there, an eternity of torment is their lot. No purgatory, no court of appeals, no way out.
To some extent, most are willing to admit their sinful condition. They may disagree with God’s assessment or punishment of their sin, but most will admit they are sinners. Having acknowledged this, often then comes the religious tap dancing. Hearing the lost man admit his sinful condition is only the start of the uphill battle the evangelist will face. Now the opportunity is given to mention the gospel. The wonderful solution to man’s sinful condition, that is the power of God to save man’s soul. Yet, just because a man has been willing to admit his sinful condition does not mean he will be willing to admit his lost condition. Be willing to be amazed when the person that just admitted themselves to be liars, blasphemers, or adulterers then try and explain how they are actually a good person. Their hypocrisy will never come to their understanding. This is primarily because the sins they have admitted to are not as bad as the worst of men in the U.S. prison system. The measure is never Christ, the measure is always someone seemingly far more sinful than themselves. The fact that they are not “as bad” as certain other men must then by default make them “good.” It is a blessing to me that they would choose such terminology because the Lord did provide a ready-made response to them. “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Certainly, I could not be expected to believe the individual standing before me is the only person to have escaped the truth of this verse of God’s perfect word.
Many answers to this scenario can and will come to the evangelist. What will rarely come is the gospel. As men, we can only determine a person’s spiritual condition by their testimony and their actions. A testimony that is void of the gospel has a serious problem. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:” A persons failure to provide the gospel of Christ as the proper answer to the question of salvation needs urgent help to understand the word of God more perfectly. So as we tie the two together, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and the gospel is hid from a man’s knowledge, there is reason to believe that man is lost. This person needs to understand this. The gospel is what saves, therefore a person with no understanding of the gospel is likely lost. While this must be understood, it certainly is not the end of the matter, there is great news to follow. Christ came to seek and to save that which is lost. So many work so hard to convince God that they are not in need of the Saviour that came to save them. Imagine drowning in the ocean all the while trying to convince the lifeguard that you do not need his help. Yet men will try and convince the Saviour they do not need his help while preparing to drown in a lake of fire.
Confronting one negative response to the word of God after another can seem discouraging. The reality is this is exactly what the Lord said we would see. Having explained to someone their mouth is an open sepulcher and their sinful condition is sending them to hell, I suppose I could see how that may be a message difficult to receive. The idea though is not to major on the negative, rather we establish the negative so that we can then declare the good news. Man is sinful, but Christ died for those sins. Man is lost, but Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Man’s condition is hopeless without a Saviour, but Christ is the risen Saviour! ROMANS 5:8 ” But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In any other scenario, a savior that would rush in to save a person in dire distress is looked to as a great hero. Only when dealing with spiritual matters do men get angry at the fact of their distressed condition and refuse the hero meant to save them.
Christ died for your sins, according to the scriptures. That is, the word of God does establish that God is going to punish man for his sin, but Christ already took that punishment for you. He was buried and the third day he rose from the dead according to the scriptures. In a day and age when men are searching for revolutionary ideas, try finding something more revolutionary than God becoming a man, dying on the cross, and defeating death and hell.
We all have the option to escape condemnation, JOHN 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God.” Again, the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, the only means we have to escape condemnation is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He intends to save, the question is do you intend to be saved?
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!