Christianity: The only Place where Justice and Grace Meet
Luke 24:6-8 He is not here, but is risen! … And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things …
On the first Resurrection Day the angels declared to the women visiting the tomb that Jesus is risen! And then they immediately shared that truth. And all Christians know that Jesus is alive and we are to boldly, yet graciously, share that truth; especially during the Easter season.
With the glorious Resurrection of Jesus in view, let me offer a few essentials to keep in mind when sharing your faith. When you have a good conversation going with a non-believer make sure you inform her about a few important things. The law of God requires justice. Man’s law requires justice. The Christian is to demonstrate to the nonbeliever that they have broken God’s holy law; we do this with gentleness and patience. All people are sinners in need of a Savior. The law is to be used to send the lost to Christ. And after they are born again and receive the Gospel, we send them back to the law to follow God’s Word out of gratitude.
Before we instruct the lost on how the penalty for sin has been paid by Jesus, they must understand that their good works cannot pay the penalty for past sins, only Christ can. Nor can the believer’s good works erase past transgressions.
If I receive a speeding ticket, and I go to court and the judge asks, “What do you plead?” I say, “Guilty, but I promise I will never speed again. Judge, please forgive my ticket on account of my future obedience.” The judge would say, “It is good that you will not speed again. That is your lawful duty. But you still have to pay the fine for your past mistake of speeding.” The good news is Jesus Christ, as judge, came down, took off His robe and paid the fine Himself for all who trust in Him.
All thirty thousand religions, except one (Christianity) believe that your future good works will help you get to heaven, nirvana, freedom from the karmic cycle, or paradise. Yet our good deeds can never erase bad deeds. If I murder nine people; later I help feed ten thousand people at a shelter; I am still a murderer. If caught and tried, the good works will not rinse away my capital crimes.
We all have sinned. The unbeliever often tries to deny this truth. John Piper sets this before us with the following: “God warns with His wrath and woos with His kindness.” Thus we are called to expose the unbeliever’s sins. We have the grand blessing to explain to them that the only solution for their sin and iniquity is the atonement of Christ. The atonement expiates the sins of the Christian and rinses his transgressions from his spiritual record. Then God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account. We enter heaven free from past sins, and clothed in the righteousness of Christ through faith alone and by grace alone.
To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities (Acts 3:26).
We use the law to compel the unbeliever to flee to Christ and avoid the wrath to come. The gospel is the instrument that God uses by His grace to save the elect’s soul. Paul announces: “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” The law exposes the nonbelievers sin and lostness. When he turns and believes the gospel: the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, his sins are forgiven by God’s good grace. The law, without the gospel, cannot change anyone. You can put lipstick and a party dress on a pig, but you still have a pig. The pig, all gussied-up, has the same nature he had before the makeup. And a lost person, who outwardly appears to keep religious law, is still lost. He must have his nature changed by God’s grace through faith in the gospel. When he turns and trusts in Christ, he is forgiven of all his sins. God’s great grace credits him with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. The believer is now in right standing with God, and at his death he will enter heaven’s glory because of Christ alone.
Evangelism: Just Do It
There are so few who have what Spurgeon called a deep “tenderness.” These are the ones who carry an anguish of soul for the fate of the ungodly. They break out of their complacency and seek by any means to save that which was lost. The love of Christ compels them (2 Corinthians5:14). The Greek word used denotes that His love arrests them, preoccupies and presses them to reach out to the lost… They go to battle.
Many preachers have quipped, “That compared to evangelism and witnessing, everything else that the Church does is like rearranging the furniture while the house is on fire.” While we should never pit one of God’s commandments against another, the importance of preaching the gospel to the lost cannot be overstated. Our desire and passion should be for the lost to come to Christ. Our perennial goal must be to glorify God in all things. If we attempt to win the hell bound sinner with unfaithful and unscriptural means, we fail to glorify God. If multitudes of radical Muslims have an unbending zeal to commit wicked acts in the name of a false god, then Christians should be willing to have more Holy Spirit zeal to preach Christ and Him crucified.
My experience, in the western United States, is that most believers do not obey the Lord in sharing their faith in the local market place. Surveys of Christians have revealed that ninety-percent of believers have never brought another person to Christ. Many are afraid, some are too busy, some do not care, and a number of them would share their faith if they felt they were competent enough to witness to strangers. If you want to rid yourself of “witness-a-phobia,” ask God to plant a deeper love for the lost in your heart. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be in and with His followers in a special way when they are sharing their faith: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Notice the disciples start preaching in Jerusalem, their Jewish home town. They started in the place where they lived. The real solution to the fear of witnessing is to start where you are, and step out in faith. Plan the time, pray, and just do it!
Simple Steps to Be a Witness
1. Pray: Ask God for a holy zeal for the lost.
2. Plan: Scratch out a specific time on your calendar to go out and evangelize.
3. Prepare: Pickup some tracts, a note pad, and a pen.
4. Partner: Call a friend in advance to go out with you.
5. Preach: Step out and go hand out tracts in the marketplace.
6. Pray more: Pray for the lost to come to Christ. Pray daily for a passion to witness to your neighbors, coworkers, store clerks, and everyone you see in your personal routine.
7. Go. Do not wait, do not make excuses, just go and share your faith in the marketplace, the campus, at work, and on the internet.
8. Invite all the people you know to church. Pray for them, offer to pick them up in your car and take them to church. Keep praying and keep inviting.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen (Matt 28:19-20).