The Honesty Road Dilemma -by Ray Comfort  

The man looked to the heavens and shouted obscenities at Jesus Christ that would make your hair curl. He concluded his conversation by telling the Lord to strike him dead. He then turned to me and screamed, "Nothing happened!" I thought, "Yes it did. You have just stored up wrath, which will be revealed on the Day of Wrath."

Why would a man lack any fear of God? I believe it's because we insist on telling a sinful world that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. We give the world a choice: Do they choose God's wonderful plan, or is their own life's plan more wonderful?

But isn't God's plan for them wonderful? Your idea of "wonderful" and the world's may be a little different. Take them through the pages of Acts and show them the terrifying scene of boulders breaking the bones of Stephen. Then smile and whisper "Wonderful..." Listen together to the "wonderful" sound of a "cat of nine tails" as it rips the flesh off the back of the Apostle Paul. Follow the word "suffering" through the Epistles, and see if you can get the world to whisper "Wonderful!" After such a ride down Honesty Road, they may think the pleasures of sin are a little more attractive than the call to "suffer affliction with the people of God."

Who in the world is going to listen if we are so blatantly honest about the Christian life? Perhaps not as many as are attracted by the deceptive talk of a wonderful plan. However, the answer to our dilemma is to show that the real issue is one of righteousness, not happiness. This is what Jesus did. He used the Ten Commandments to show sinners the righteous standard of God (see Luke 10:25 and Luke 18:18). Once the world sees the perfect standard by which they will be judged, they will begin to fear God, and through the fear of the Lord, men depart from sin (Proverbs 16:6). They will begin to hunger and thirst after the righteousness that is in Jesus Christ alone.

If you study the New Testament you will see that God's love is almost always given in direct co-relation to the Cross: Herein is love, For God so loved, God commended His love, etc. The Cross is the focal-point of God's love for the world. How can we point to the Cross without making reference to sin? How can we refer to sin, without the Law (see Romans 7:7)? The biblical way to express God's love to a sinner is to show him how great his sin is (using the Law--see Romans 7:13, Galatians 3:24), then give him the grace of God in Christ. This was the key to reaching so many on the Day of Pentecost. They were "devout" Jews who knew the Law and its holy demands, and therefore readily accepted the grace of God to escape its fearful wrath.

When you use the Law to show the world their true state, for the first time in their lives, they will see the Christian message as an expression of love and concern for their eternal welfare, rather than of merely proselytizing for a better lifestyle.

Statistics show that up to 90% of those coming to Christ under the methods of modern evangelism, fall away from the faith. Their latter end becomes worse than the first. They openly crucify the Son of God afresh.

In their zeal without knowledge, those who prefer the traditions of modern evangelism to biblical evangelism betray the cause of the gospel with a kiss. What may look like love for the sinner's welfare, is in truth eternally detrimental to him.

Like Peter, our zeal without knowledge is actually cutting off the ears of sinners. Those we erroneously call "backsliders" won't listen to our reasonings. As far as they are concerned, they have tried it once, and it didn't work. What a victory for the prince of darkness, and what an unspeakable tragedy for the Church!

When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband, God sent Nathan the prophet to reprove him. Notice the order in which the reproof came. Nathan gave David a parable about something he could understand. Sheep. He began with the natural realm rather than immediately exposing the King's sin. He told a story of a rich man, who rather than take one from his own flock, killed a poor man's pet lamb to feed a stranger.

David was indignant, and said that the guilty party would die. Nathan then exposed his sin of taking another man's "lamb," saying, "You are the man... Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?" (2 Samuel 12:9). When David showed signs of contrition, Nathan then gave him Grace and said, "The Lord has also put away your sin; you shall not die." Imagine if Nathan, fearful of rejection, instead told David, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. However, there is something which is keeping you from enjoying this wonderful plan; it is called 'sin.'"

Imagine if he had glossed over the personal nature of David's sin, with a general reference to all men having sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. David may have reacted with, "What sin are you talking about?" rather than admit his terrible transgression. Or he may have, in a desire to experience this wonderful plan, admitted that he, like all men, had fallen short of the glory of God. If David had not been made to tremble under the wrath of the Law, the prophet would have removed the very means of producing godly sorrow. It is "godly sorrow" that works repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). It was the weight of his guilt that caused him to cry out, "I have sinned against the Lord." The Law caused him to labor and become heavy laden; it made him hunger and thirst for righteousness.

How true are the words once spoken by Charles Spurgeon (the Prince of Preachers), "The Law serves a most necessary purpose." He also said, "They will never accept Grace, until they tremble before a just and holy Law."

Paradox though it may seem, the Law does make Grace abound in the same way darkness makes light shine. It was John Newton (the writer of "Amazing Grace") who said that a wrong understanding of the harmony between Law and Grace would produce "error on the left and the right hand." I don't know if any of us could claim to have a better understanding of Grace than the one who penned such a wonderful hymn. The world will never clearly see the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, until the blackness of sin is exposed by a just and holy Law. When a Christian sees what he has been saved from, he will realize what he has been saved for. He will have a love for God, for the unspeakable gift of the cross. It will be a continual source of joy. Gratitude will motivate him to reach out and do the will of God, to seek and save that which is lost. That is the key to genuine church growth, and that is how to see revival.

Grace means nothing to a person who does not know he is sinful...It is therefore pointless to preach grace until the impossible demands of the Law and the reality of guilt before God are preached. - John MacArthur

If a person does not clearly understand that they have sinned against God, they
will sense no need for salvation. In other words, if they think lightly of sin they will think lightly of the Savior -Andy Lapins

Jesus Christ didn't save us for God, He saved us from God! -R.C. Sproul

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .