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A reader asks:

How do you approach or confront a non-Christian going down a sinful path? Do we just love them and leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit?

My answer:

On a personal level, there is no Christian mandate to confront an unbeliever with anything but the Gospel (a conversation about “the Law” which convicts, and Jesus Christ who saves). An unsaved person should be expected to act according to his state: unsaved. As Christians, we should not be surprised that the spiritually-blind, enslaved-to-wickedness, dead-in-their-sins, unsaved person is committing sin, making poor choices and generally destroying their life. That’s what sin does to people. And the unsaved are incapable of any other type of behavior. Yes, it may be mixed in with some “good” moral and civil choices but overall, humanity acts according to their nature which without Christ is evil and depraved (it just manifests itself in varying degrees but it’s always headed the same direction).

As friends, we certainly want to warn those we love who are unsaved of the consequences of poor choices and bad behavior (we can advise them of the likely results of their sinful choices) but when it comes to them pursuing sin, and acting sinful, they are just acting naturally. It’s to be expected. No amount of us warning them about the consequential dangers of the sin will change their course. They are incapable of anything but some temporary and futile course redirection because the sin-cursed nature will always win over time. That’s why there is only ONE THING that is truly beneficial to the unsaved person: the saving and regenerating Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are not boldly sharing with them their true condition of eternal condemnation before God, their violation of God’s holiness and law for which they will be held accountable, and then finally giving them the GOOD NEWS that there is a “rescue” available because God loves them… anything short of that is just a band-aid, not a real life changing solution.

To emphasize: the only confrontation called for about “sin” to the unsaved is the Gospel and the reality of Hell. Otherwise, our friendship compels us to warn them, advise them and try to influence them but not “confront them about their sin” (as we understand this statement when it comes to CHRISTIANS confronting each other about sinful behavior).  The Gospel is what our unsaved friends need to hear.

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