How Evangelists Use the Law Before Proclaiming the Gospel
The gospel is the Good News of what Jesus Christ has already done for us. Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again on our behalf. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the message of the gospel that creates faith in an unbeliever’s heart.
The saving work of the Holy Spirit can only work through the message of the gospel and not the law. However, the law does have a place in evangelism. When done with the attitude of love and proper discernment, the message of the law prepares hearts to receive the gospel message that Christ has done it all!
How can Christians deliver this message?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26)
The law does have a place in evangelism. When evangelists are able to discern and apply the right distinction between law and gospel, they provide a proper combination which prepares hearts through the law to win hearts through the power of the gospel.
The challenge for the evangelist is to distinguish between a symptom and a disease.
Most people will acknowledge that their life is not perfect. In fact, there are many things wrong with their life. But these are only symptoms of a much deeper problem.
Evangelists remember that applying the gospel doesn’t treat the symptoms, because treating symptoms doesn’t cure the disease. The intent behind the law is to reveal the source behind all the problems in a person’s life – a disease called sin.
To properly discern the application of the law, Christians have to understand its purpose. The message of the law helps bring an unbeliever to a terrifying realization that there is nothing they can do to save themselves from the consequences of sin. No matter how hard they try, they will never be righteousness in the eyes of God. They are guilty! And the consequences associated with guilt is an eternal separation from God.
The message of the law accuses an unbeliever of being sinner, exposes their sins, and is meant to confront a sinner with eternal realities of their sins. It is the consequences of breaking the law that prompts a sinner to cry out, “Help! What must I do to be saved?”
How can a Christian deliver a message of God’s law?
We could say to a person;
“I’m sorry to hear that you are suffering from guilt, stress, or a broken past. Life is challenging and difficult. These are symptoms that all of us struggle with in this life. But I would like to share with you that these symptoms point to a deeper problem… a broken relationship with God.
Life in this world is not what God intended it to be. He created a perfect world where there was no guilt or stress – no sickness or death. We were all created to be perfect and to live in a perfect relationship with God. But sin entered this world and severed that perfect relationship. Every aspect of our life has been affected. When there is a broken vertical relationship between people and God then there will be a broken horizontal relationship between people. The key is to have a right relationship with God so that we can find freedom in Him.
Do you think that right now you have a right relationship with God?
Would you like to know what the Bible says about what it takes to get into a right relationship with God?”
There is no greater joy for an evangelist than to provide an answer to that question with the message of salvation.
We could say to that person;
“I can’t promise that God will instantly remove all the challenges in your life. Since we live in a fallen world, we can always expect problems. Finding freedom in Christ does not necessarily mean He removes problems, but that we see God in those problems. He will use difficult circumstances as a means to reconcile a relationship with you. Prompted by His perfect love, He wants you to be aware of the serious consequences of sin. That’s why Jesus died on the cross for you. Not to take away the consequences of sin in this life, but to avoid the eternal consequences of being separated from God forever. God provides an amazing promise, ‘Believe and you will be saved.’ And the benefits from a right relationship with God are to receive a remedy for the disease of sin and the promise that God will provide all that you will need in this life.”
[Content from this post is in reference to the book, “We Believe – Therefore We Speak” by David J. Valleskey (pgs. 94-97).]