“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” Those are the words of celebrity magician Penn Gillette, half of the famed duo Penn & Teller.
He is not a follower of Jesus Christ, in fact he is an outspoken atheist whom even recently has called fellow atheists “out of the closet.” Regardless of Penn’s stance on religion he still appreciates evangelical christians who “practice what they preach” and share what they believe to be true. If we have the knowledge that others are going to spend eternity in endless torment then how awful is it not to share the salvation of God?
The fact alone that Jesus Himself called his followers to evangelize telling His disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) is enough of a reason to share God’s love and goodness with others. However, let’s look at it from the heart. Evangelism should be driven purely by love for one another in order to-at all costs-prevent people from being condemned to hell for all eternity.I certainly don’t want anyone to be hit by a car so I would do what I have to if I saw a car pummeling toward somebody. Why not warn them from hell? A much worse fate than death.
So, what saves a person’s soul? Good works? Being a good person? Going to church? It is our sinful human nature that teaches a young child to lie to his or her parents without having to be tought to do so. Our sinful nature that causes us to be selfish and cruel. It is rebellion against The Almighty God.
The problem is this: how is one to be rebellious when there is no law to rebel against? Paul makes that point to the Romans when he said “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” You see, the law sheds light on our sinfulness creating the need for a savior, not creating the want for a God to love you. We first must come to the Lord in repentance and faith for forgiveness of sins, then we worship Him for His exceeding goodness and mercy and grace.
If I don’t see a need for a savior then I won’t seek one. When the Pharisees criticised Jesus for eating with sinners He retorted saying “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” You and I are plagued with a disease. A terminal virus spread throughout the human race. Luckily for us God is a just judge. He cannot and will not allow crime to go unpunished. That would be an apathetic judge, but fortunately for us he brings justice to an unjust world. This truth unfortunately sent Jesus to the Cross to pay for wickedness that should have been accounted to us, but “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” How gracious is our God!
Unfortunately it is our pride that denies our sinfulness, but the law cuts through the bog of pride. So others must first see the law and their sinfulness according to it, then they can clearly see the goodness of God’s most loving act on Calvary. Likewise, a man wouldn’t understand if a doctor came up to him and told him he has a cure for him. If, however, the doctor first told him he has a terminal illness in which a slow and painful death will be his fate, then the man would quickly beg for a cure. That is God’s goodness indeed.
Law to the proud, grace to the humble.