1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at http://www.seriousfaith.com/)
As Christians, we sometimes speak in terms, phrases and concepts that the unsaved don’t have a clue about. Often when evangelizing, we spew out Christian terminology that glazes over the eyes of the confused sinner, leaving no doubt that all they heard was a Charlie-Brown-schoolteacher “wah-wah, wah-wah-wah?”, or a Seinfeld “yada yada yada”.
Sometimes this comes in the form of a phrase that has no meaning to the lost. In particular, have you ever thought about what it means to say to an unbeliever, “you won’t go to heaven because you don’t believe in Jesus”. Huh? What possible meaning could that have to the lost soul? It just sounds like some kooky religious requirement, of which they have dozens, if not hundreds to pick and choose from. There are certainly many religions offering easier to understand solutions like “being good”.
People don’t “go to hell” because they don’t believe in Jesus.
Not only does the idea of “people go to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus” not make sense, Biblically, it’s not even foundationally accurate. Say what??? Brent has lost his mind…. okay, hear me out.
The reason people are lost, the reason they will go to hell, the reason they will be refused entrance into the presence of God…. is because they are lawbreakers; sinners; unholy; not because they “didn’t believe in Jesus. Even the demons believe in Jesus. If a person could some how be sin-free and never transgress God’s law, they would earn the right to be with God. Of course this is impossible which is why Jesus came to pay for our sin.
Colossians 3:25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. (NKJV)
Now, my point is, when you witness to someone who is blind spiritually (which all unsaved people are), the phrase “because you don’t believe in Jesus” will have very little, if any, meaning to them. But if you talk to them in terms of “law-breaking” then they have something they can relate to. Everyone knows what it means to break a law.
A person must first be convinced they NEED salvation.
Follow me here… when you approach the subject of salvation, the first thing people have to be convinced of is what? That they NEED salvation. Why do they need salvation? Because they have “broken the law” (sin) of the Great Authority. When you break a law, who are you transgressing against? The one who enacted, and has the power to enforce the law. If you break the speed limit, the Government has the ability and right to punish you for breaking the law which you are under.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
Every person is under the law of God, whether they like it or not; whether they agree with it or not; whether they want to be or not. God created us. No amount of humanist science, evolutionary theory or wishful thinking can change that fact. So when we transgress (break, violate; called ‘sin’) God’s Law, we are now rightfully due punishment for that law-breaking.
Proverbs 16:5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. (NKJV)
Breaking God’s law is what will keep someone from heaven. Transgressing God’s standards of holiness is what sends people to hell. “Not believing in Jesus” is not what actually sends you to hell. Yes, in a sense you could rightly say “if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will go to hell”. The problem is, only Christians understand how and why that is true. It means nothing to the unsaved.
However, the unsaved do understand the concept of law-breaking, which leads to defining the idea of sin, which leads to the idea that a penalty has to be paid for that sin (law-breaking). That is when the door of understanding is now open to tell them about “believing in Jesus”.
Once a person understands the BAD NEWS,
the GOOD NEWS makes sense!
Once an unbeliever is convicted about sin and understands that a penalty is due, they are ready to hear that Jesus has paid the penalty already. And what GOOD NEWS that is for them!
The world is bombarded with religious ideas, terminology, phrases, and cliches. As Christians, we need to be careful and certain to clearly communicate the real reasons why a person without Christ is lost and on their way to hell. Until an individual understands and grasps the reason, the justness, and the inevitability of being punished for “breaking the law”, they will not be truly convinced they NEED a Savior.
Lord, Help us to clearly communicate Truth to those who are lost. Help us to show them why they are lost, and how they can be saved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you ever speak “Christianese” to unsaved people? Can you imagine what computer-geek-talk sounds like to a person who can barely turn a computer on? Or what about sports lingo to the person who has never done or cared about anything athletic? Can you adequately and clearly communicate to someone what sin is? Can you tell them “how” and “why” it results in eternal death? Can you tell them about the “solution” to their dilemma?
Application: Sharing the Gospel is not just a canned presentation of Christian phrases and facts. Until a person is convinced, and convicted, about the NEED for salvation, they will not be interested in, or understand who the Savior is. The Law leads people to Christ, because people understand what “law-breaking” is. Show a person their true status as a law-breaking-punishment-deserving sinner… and they will then have a natural desire to know how to be saved from it.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?