Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rain and Shine –

In presenting the gospel to men, we must always be sure to belabor the point of their wickedness and the wrath of God that abides upon them. There has been an ever growing inclination to either lightly touch upon the sinfulness of man, or neglect it all-together. The common approach is to first tell men that God loves them, and then after we have laboriously tried to get them to understand that God is love and loves them more than they can imagine, we proceed to then try to convince them that they are on their way to hell. The common objection to this is “How could a loving God send me to hell?” The have got you then. What they, and so many, fail to understand is that as much as God is love, He is also hate. And before we can Scripturally speak of God’s love for men, we must speak to them of God’s righteous indignation upon the sinner.

This also leads to another fault in our gospel presentation. We emphasize hell and the pains of hell on the man, and then offer Christ to him as a ticket out. Although hell is a very real place, and it is the eternal abode of the lost soul; we have somehow developed the idea that we get more conversions by threatening a man with pain than if we tell him he has sinned against The Almighty God, thus abiding under the wrath of God. This produces men who pray for salvation only to escape the pains of hell. There is no repentance for their sin, and there will be no change in their life. In Peru, the natives periodically burn their fields. When they do, the snakes flee the field – yet they remain snakes. So it is with men. They may perform a ritual set before them in order to escape the pains of hell, yet there is no salvation. They are not repentant of their sin, they only do not want to suffer the consequences of it.

John Newton put it this way, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved…” The gospel must wound before it heals.

Let me close with a quote from Spurgeon, and may The LORD use this little “blurb” of thought for His glory,

“He who would have a fruitful ministry must have clear shining after the rain, by which I mean, first, law, and then, gospel. We must preach plainly against sin. In our ministry there must be rain, we must have the clouds and darkness, and divine justice bearing heavily upon the sinner’s conscience. Then comes in Christ crucified, full atonement, simple faith, and clear shining of comfort to the believing sinner. But there must be the rain first. He who preaches all sweetness and all love, and has nothing to do with warning men of the consequences of sin, may be thought to be very loving; but, in truth, he is altogether unfaithful to the souls of men. I do not suppose that any of you women can sew without needles. Yet your object is not simply to get the needle into the stuff, is it? No; you want to get in a bit of cotton, or thread, or silk. Well, now, try whether you can sew with a piece of silk alone. You cannot do so. You must put in the needle first, must you not? And he who would do any work for God, must have a sharp needle, as he deals plainly with the sin of man, and he must then draw after it the silken thread of the gospel of Christ. There must be rain first, and clear shining afterwards.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon


One response

  1. Susanne

    Oh, good post. Very thought-provoking! Hmmm, it is hard making “good people” think of themselves as wicked, but what you wrote is so true. A lot of our “conversions” are mere hellfire-escape plans instead of identifying what is sin and turning from it.

    I really struggle with this Calvinism stuff. Much of it makes sense such as this writing, but there are other things from the Scriptures that seem to teach differently. *sigh* Maybe I’ve just not been given God’s grace to become a Calvinist so I should stop trying to figure things out and wait for it to happen if it’s supposed to happen. πŸ˜‰ Or is this grace something that comes from searching the Scripture and from our minds? What did you do? How did God reveal it to you and how did He explain those verses about loving “the world” and “whosoever” and not being “willing that any should perish”? Are those KJV mistranslations?

    I’m not arguing. I’m asking sincerely. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    August 5, 2008 at 3:44 pm

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