How do you know when you need a doctor? How do you go about getting diagnosed?
"Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore had nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know that they need any forgiveness. It is after you have realised that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power - it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you are sick you will listen to the doctor."
Read: Ephesians 2:1-10
1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So often our attempts at sharing the gospel look like a sales pitch ... an attempt to sell someone the good news about Jesus Christ. I've often felt that we have this backwards. I do not want to have a colonoscopy or surgically repair my ACL if I am not first convinced that I have a problem that this will fix.
As it is, we sell Jesus in our music and message. We focus on the positive benefits of knowing Jesus. "He will fix your problems and make sure you are happy ...". On and on it goes.
Lewis helps us see that people need to be convinced that they need a doctor BEFORE they will seek to be healed. Again, you may be the best colon doctor in the universe but I am not going to let you touch my body until I am convinced I need you!
In this passage in Ephesians we see both the negative and the positive ... in proper order. Paul reminds the believers that they were:
1. Spiritually dead (v.1)
2. Wrong with God due to sin (v.2)
3. Following the devil (v.2)
4. Under God's wrath (v.3)
Try those on your friends! How will that go over do you think?
If our friends and family do not understand their dire condition they will never come to know or care about our gracious God. This is a God that is:
1. Rich in mercy (v.4)
2. Full of love (v.4)
3. Life giving (v.5)
4. Wealthy in grace and kindness (v.7)
5. Salvation (v.8)
Next time you share Christ with someone consider balancing the bad news with the good news. If they see their need for forgiveness they might want to meet the Doctor.
Think through your presentation of the gospel. Does it begin with, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life"? Does it begin with, "You have a serious problem that needs attention"?
How comfortable are you "going negative" in a gospel presentation? Can you go negative without being caustic? This is not a justification for being mean spirited or unkind. This is an invitation to help your friends and family really understand their true condition before a holy God.
If we want them to know the love and grace of God they will also need to know their sin and rebellion is in the way. You cant call them to repent if they do not know what they have done to offend the Lord.
Be gentle but make sure you let them know the truth. They need to meet the Doctor.
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.