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Evangelism Part 2: Release the Power of God’s Law to Bring Conviction of Sin

God saved me in my teen years, and my life completely changed. No longer shy and withdrawn, I keenly experienced forgiveness of my sin and joy as the Holy Spirit began to guide my life to share the gospel with whoever would listen. In my gospel presentations I discussed sin as described in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But because sin is frankly an uncomfortable topic, I would quickly move on the glorious things Jesus had done for us in sacrificing His life in our place on the cross, and that He rose from the dead to prove He had victory over sin and death. I would describe to them the God shaped vacuum they had in their heart that only He could fill to find true happiness. I would encourage them to put their faith in Christ as their Savior by asking Him into their heart, and God would save them. Then I led them in the prayer of salvation.

A few years later I read Ray Comfort’s book “The Way of the Master” and it rocked my world. I saw that I had been missing a vital link in my gospel presentation. I was missing the power of God’s law to bring conviction of sin, and that asking Jesus into your heart is a nebulous and unbiblical teaching. The Bible teaches that I need to call sinners to repent of their sin and turn from their sins, and then to put their faith and trust in Christ alone to save them making Jesus their Savior and their Lord to let Him lead the rest of their lives. I saw that even having them repeat a prayer with me could lead to a false conversion as I could put words in their mouths that they don’t understand or truly believe.

Growing up as a devout Catholic, I knew the ten commandments, and I tried to keep them. The ten Commandments show God’s holiness and what He expects of a person who believes that their good works will get them to heaven. The problem is that if we are honest, we all have broken every one of these commandments.  Who has never told a lie? Never taken God’s name as a cuss word? Never had a lustful thought as Jesus said that is the same as adultery in Matt 5:28? Never hated a person as God sees that the same as murder described in Matt 5:21-22? Have you ever disobeyed your parents? Have you always put God first in your life? And the list goes on. Knowledge of the ten commandments show us how sinful we are and how we can’t justify our feeble good works as being acceptable to God. God closes our mouth in defending our self-righteousness and pride when we see His holiness in the ten commandments. Romans 3:19-20 talks of this: “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law come the knowledge of sin.” Galatians 3:24 also speaks of the importance of the law in conversion: “Therefore the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ so that we may be justified by faith.
Let me share a personal example of the importance of confronting people with God’s law to bring conviction of sin. Some years after I learned this biblical teaching, I found my dad in the hospital nearing his death. I had shared the ask Jesus in your heart gospel with him many times over the years with little effect. I began to realize that he responded indifferent because he had considered himself a good person and thought his good deeds would be good enough to get him into heaven. As I approached the hospital room, I knew I had a choice to make. I could express my love for dad and reminisce on all the things he had done for me and the good times we had together. All that would have been appropriate and true. In my gut though I knew if I really loved my father, I would confront his sin in hopes God would draw him to repent of his sin and put his faith in Christ as the only one who could save him. That night as I confronted dad with each commandment and as he admitted his sin, I saw the power of the law to bring conviction of sin to him and then he was ready to grasp onto the cure and hope that only Christ could bring. That day my dad repented of his sin and put his faith and trust in Jesus alone to save him. God’s grace came in like a flood in saving him, and finally he was at peace with God.

Please consider this teaching that Spurgeon and Whitfield also understood. For example, Spurgeon once said, “A lost person will never accept God’s grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore, the Law serves a most necessary and blessed purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.” Jesus used the law to draw the rich young ruler in Luke 18 to see his sin. Especially in a post Christian culture that we find ourselves in today where almost everyone sees themselves as a good person, the use of God’s law in our gospel presentations is vital and useful in the drawing our lost friends and neighbors to see their need of salvation.

In the next blog we will discuss how to initiate a spiritual conversation and tips to share the gospel.
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