If there is one thing that most churches today always tend to neglect during sermons and evangelisms, it’s our sinfulness. Most preachers jump to let people ‘make decisions’ so that they will be saved without truly making them understand how deep sin is in our lives. We are mostly aware that people around us commit sin, but when it comes to us, we justify all our actions and conclude ourselves holy.
But the more you look at sin to be something small and close to nothing, the more we will think that we don’t need to be saved. Most of us even think that we don’t need to include repentance in the message of the Gospel because all of us are aware we are sinners. Some professing Christians even continue to sin thinking it’s okay. Such easy-believism poisoned many lives to the point that some people now hate those who emphasize sin in their sermons.
The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
On this article, I am going to share to you 3 major reasons why I believe that sin should not be omitted when we share the Gospel.
1. THE WRATH OF GOD IS REAL
Our culture has portrayed Jesus to be loving and sometimes needy. We tend to think that Jesus always longs for our attention and he knocks on the door of our hearts while crying in brokenness because we neglect him. But such portrayal of Jesus is false. It falls short to how powerful (Job 26:14; Psalm 147:5) and sovereign God is:
- God is before all things (Colossians 1:17; Psalm 90:2)
- He produced all things (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16).
- He sustains all things (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3)
- He transcends all things (Psalm 8:1; Psalm 97:9)
- He knows all things (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 46:10; Hebrews 4:13)
- He is mighty (Matthew 19:26; Jeremiah 32:27)
- He owns all things (Psalm 24:1-2; 1 Chronicles 29:14)
Our Triune God is self-sufficient. That means, He needs nothing (Psalm 50: 10-12; Acts 17:25). He can live without us, but we can’t live without Him. These false image of God in mainstream Christian culture is actually an evidence of how sinful human beings can be. We tend to centralize salvation to us and make ourselves look great just because God seems to care saving us. But God has the right to claim everything He has made. He owns this world and every thing was made through Him (Gen. 1-2, Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 146:5-6). God is not our servant whom we can send to the cross and die. He was sent by the Father to pay for our sins and reconcile us to Him because apart from Christ, we all deserve hell.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).
Modern day evangelism has come to a point wherein we fear talking about sin and God’s wrath. We fear its offense and the retaliation we can get from our audience. Some chose to sugarcoat the Gospel just for people to accept it, but little did they know, true salvation only comes when our hearts get broken and we realize how big our offense is that God the Father sent His Son to die. A God dying for human beings will give us a picture that the sin we have committed should not be neglected. It’s too big that we cannot save ourselves. It’s too great that it made God angry.
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed (Romans 2:5).
God’s wrath is in perfect accord to His justice, and we must fear His wrath. For the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23), and all who does not believe in Jesus Christ will go to hell (Matthew 25:46). And we are not talking about a pantheistic belief that you can be saved apart from Christ. We are nothing apart from Him (John 15:5), and to stand during the judgment day without Jesus Christ as our Mediator is the worst thing that could ever happen to us. He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)
“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil” — J.I. Packer; Knowing God
We are not being faithful to God when we tell people of a ‘needy’ Jesus we wanted to manipulate. To say that your Jesus does not send sinners to hell is also a form of idolatry. You don’t make a definition of Jesus out of what you want. You ought to behold who He truly is. And the true God is not powerless. God is Holy (1 Peter 1:16) and Just (Romans 3:25-26) — and all of us deserve hell apart from Christ.
The wrath of God is as much a divine perfection—as is His faithfulness, power, or mercy. It must be so, for there is no blemish whatever, not the slightest defect in the character of God; yet there would be, if “wrath” were absent from Him! Indifference to sin is a moral blemish, and he who does not hate sin—is a moral leper. How could He who is the Sum of all excellency, look with equal satisfaction upon virtue—and vice; wisdom—and folly? How could He who is infinitely holy disregard sin and refuse to manifest His “severity” (Rom 11:22) toward it? How could He, who delights only in that which is pure and lovely—not loathe and hate that which is impure and vile? The very nature of God makes Hell as real anecessity, as imperatively and eternally requisite, as Heaven is! Not only is there no imperfection in God—but there is no attribute in Him, which is less perfect than another.
The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of divine justice, against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence, which He passes upon evildoers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government, shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is—which they despise; and how dreadful is that threatened wrath—which they so little regarded. Not that God’s anger is a malignant and malicious retaliation, inflicting injury for the sake of it—or in return for injury received. No, though God will vindicate His dominion as the Governor of the universe, He will not be vindictive.
— Arthur W. Pink; The Wrath of God
2. WE ARE DEPRAVED AND WRETCHED
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5).
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries (Mark 7:21).
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17).
When we talk about depravity and our wretchedness, we tend to easily dismiss it by saying, ‘Of couse I know that I am sinful!’, without knowing how deep it is. We tend to look at salvation and the Lordship of Christ to be an icing on the top of the cake when in fact the centrality of Christ should always be emphasized in our lives. When we think of salvation to be something we do together with Jesus Christ instead of salvation to be all about God’s grace, we tend to take credit for it. We start bragging about our good works and the moral values that we have. But all of our good works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If salvation can be done by our own hands, why do Christ still need to die? Surely because our own good works can never save us.
As it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE” — Romans 3:10
No one is righteous. Yes, not even one. The only righteous person who stepped into this world is Jesus Christ. And He sacrificed Himself to be the propitiation of our sins (1 John 2:2) because only the death of a righteous man could can satisfy the wrath of God.
‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He [Jesus] shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth (Jeremiah 33:15).
Humans are portrayed in the Bible to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-10). Our hearts are made of stone thus God must give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). We hate God (Romans 5:10-12). All the social, cultural, political and environmental issues we have today reflects the depravity of man. Sin was too heinous that the nature groans as well — earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and other natural calamities — for it longs to be freed from the sin that came into the world because of us (Romans 8:22).
Who has done good and who has sought God?
We hated and cursed and called for Your blood
We claimed to be wise as we gloried in shame
We told ourselves lies, despising Your reign
And love, Your love, was far from us
Our mouths were like graves, our words were like darts
Our bodies were slaves to the greed of our hearts
We thirsted for life as we wasted our breath
Entangled in strife, we rushed to our death
And love, Your love, was far from us
The foolish You loved, the faithless You saved
The lost You have found, the worthless You raised
The blood of Your cross and Your empty grave
Made rebels to heirs and sinners to saints
And love, Your love, has come to us
(c) Sovereign Grace Music;
Who Has Done Good? (based on Romans 3:9-26)
People who carry or are under false teachings and those who hate the people of God, people who are lovers of themselves, people who denies God and people who take pride of what they have are all examples of how depravity looks like. We all love to run back to our nature which is being sinful. No one wants to follow God if God hasn’t willed us to follow Him.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. — John 6:44
3. SO THAT GRACE WILL BE MAGNIFIED
If we recognize that we are helpless, we will behold God’s grace with utmost reverence. We then praise God for giving us salvation that we don’t even deserve.
Most evangelicals nowadays have tendencies to take credit for the salvation of the people whom they have shared the Gospel. Instead of giving all the glory to God, these people chose to boast that they have built large churches and brought people to God. To say that you have ‘brought people to God’ is like saying that you have the power to save. But we don’t. Just because a person made a decision in front of you or people responded in an altar call, it doesn’t mean that they are already saved. You don’t see their hearts. Only the Lord knows who are His (2 Timothy 2:19). And just because you are the person who shared the Gospel to them, it doesn’t mean you own them.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. — Ephesians 2:8-10
Our faith is a gift from God. Salvation is in Christ alone (Acts 4:12). These truths are made possible by the teachings of the Holy Spirit to us. We cannot take credit for His work. We cannot go on telling people you brought certain people to God because eventhough evangelism is very important, we cannot brag about it. We are not the ones who convicted them of their sinfulness. If your words fall into deaf ears, you cannot do anything about it because God is the One who changes us. It is only by His grace. And this grace can be magnified when we know why we really need it.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” — John 6:37-40
LET’S NOT SUGARCOAT THE GOSPEL
But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these! — 2 Timothy 3:1-5
It’s easier to convince people of something when you don’t give them all the details, right? But when it comes to the Gospel, we don’t have the right to make it non-offensive. To say some things about Christ and hide those other offensive parts is a way of not truly loving those people. Truth hurts, but truth must be preached if you really love them. You don’t love them enough of you don’t tell them all that they need. It’s easy to believe a ‘cheap grace’ when we tell people to just believe without repentance, or tell them to follow Christ but not the part wherein we must deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24). Christ did not die on the cross so that you keep on sinning (Romans 6:1). He died so that you will live for Him (Philippians 1:21) and eventually you will tell other people not just the good news but the bad news as well.
Let’s stop being concerned of the pews we can fill in our churches. Let’s stop thinking of the money we can get by telling people some lies. Let’s stop looking at Christianity as a competition of how many people we will be able to invite in our church. Fear God for He can send false teachers to hell — the very place they’ve ignored just to fill their churches with many people.
Soli Deo Gloria