Monday, November 05, 2007

Do We Need To Preach the Law To Preach The Gospel?



There is a common teaching that the Law of God must be preached in order for the Gospel to be preached. In other words, that before you evangelize someone, that is, give them the Good News of Jesus Christ, and His death on the Cross for sins, and His resurrection, you must first preach the specific Laws of God to show them that they have sinned. Usually these specific Laws of God are given as the Ten Commandments.

But is this true? Do we need to preach specific Laws of God in order to preach the Gospel?

I believe the biblical answer is a definite “No”.

But first, I believe this "Law before Gospel" teaching idea has become an unbiblical tradition among many Christian teachers. Often, instead of going to the Scriptures and seeing if this Law Preaching is really commanded or required, they merely read of another teacher who has said it, and they believe it.

“Why, good old Charles Spurgeon taught that the preaching of the Law must come before the Gospel.” Or in more modern times, “Ray Comfort, the Way of the Master guy, teaches that you must give the Ten Commandments (or at least a couple of them) to somebody before you tell them the Good News.”

It’s often taught like this, “You have to give them the bad news, before you give them the good news.” Or, “If you don’t get them groveling in misery over their breaking of God’s Laws, they won’t be receptive to the Gospel. They will be flippant, thinking they don’t need salvation from anything.”

There are even several Scriptures that are sometimes used to prove the point of Law Preaching, and we’ll examine some of those. But I believe those Scriptures have been pulled out of the Bible to support this “tradition of men”, rather than the tradition coming from a good study of the New Testament.

Three biblical reasons why we are NOT called to preach the Law before we preach the Gospel.

1. All men already know in their hearts the moral law of God, and they know that they are sinners against God, and they suppress that truth in unrighteousness.

We already know from Romans 1:18 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. In other words, every man already knows that he is ungodly and unrighteous, and that he deserves God’s wrath.

How does he know this? Well, Romans 1:19,20 goes on to say two things. That the knowledge is within them, and that the creation makes obvious the attributes, eternal power, and divine nature of God.

But Romans 1:18 says another interesting thing. It says that men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”.

They not only know they are wrath-deserving sinners, but they add to their sin by suppressing it, denying it. That’s why in verse 20 it says they are “without excuse”.

But that’s not all. The Jews, of course, in Bible times, would be very aware of the Laws of God, and the Ten Commandments. But we read in Romans 2:14-16:

“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ.”

What does it mean? Simply this: God has placed in everyone his moral law, and given men a conscience to identify when they are doing wrong, which of course they do constantly. So again, they are without excuse.

They don’t need to hear, “Thou shalt not steal.” They know in their consciences. They know the beauty and just and wonderful truth of God’s character and what He requires. But, as Romans 3 tells us, “There is none righteous, not even one...there is none who seeks for God...there is none who does good, there is not even one.”

So again, all men already know in their hearts the moral law of God, and they know that they are sinners against God, and they suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

So if you’re witnessing or preaching the Good News of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins through the Cross, and somebody acts innocent and says they don’t need forgiveness because they live a pretty good life, you don’t need to prove anything to them. You can look them in the eye and say, “You know better than that. You know, just like I do, that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And proceed to give them the Good News.

2. The Law has NO power for salvation. But the Gospel does.

In Romans 1:16, Paul says something that I believe we often forget. He says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for IT is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” In other words, to those who know the Ten Commandments (the Jews), and to those who don’t know the Ten Commandments from a hole in the wall (but they know very well that they are in constant violation of the moral compass that God has placed in their consciences).

Why? Why is this Gospel the “power of God for salvation”?

Verse 17 tells us. Because in the Gospel is revealed the righteousness of God, the only righteousness that will save us. The righteousness that we must receive as a free gift because our own "righteousnesses are as filthy rags".

That’s why so many people have been led to Christ by the so-called Romans Road, without the preaching of the Law. Because men are reminded that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23), and that the wages of sin is death or the wrath of God, but that the free gift of God is eternal life through faith in Jesus who died on the cross (Rom. 5:6 and 6:23), and that he did it out of love, demonstrating His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), and that whoever believes in Him (Jews who know the Ten Commandments, or Gentiles who don’t) will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16), whoever confesses Jesus as Lord, and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, shall be saved (Rom. 10:9).

That’s the Gospel, and that’s the power of God for salvation.

3. There are no New Testament commands, nor New Testament examples for preaching the Law before the Gospel.

Now let me take a little side road first and say this: I love the laws of God. Every law that God ever spoke or inspired is a reflection of His Holy, Just and loving heart. And I want to know His heart, because I love Him. He put that in my heart, to love Him. He is my Savior, and He is my Lord. I want to know what He wants. And when I’m walking in the Spirit, I want to follow and obey Him with every fiber of my being. I can say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."

And so I agree with the Apostle Paul that the Law is good.

But you will search in vain through the Book of Acts or the New Testament Epistles for any COMMAND to preach the Law before preaching the Gospel. And you will search in vain through the Book of Acts or the New Testament Epistles for any EXAMPLE of preaching the Law before preaching the Gospel.

What you will see is an assumption by the Apostles that everyone is a sinner, and that they know it. Without exegeting the whole Book of Acts, one example will serve, especially since it specifically deals with some Gentiles. When Peter is called to preach to Cornelius, the Bible records pretty much his whole message in Acts 10 beginning at verse 34. Not a word is mentioned of the Law. But Christ is preached and Him crucified, for the forgiveness of sins.

This pattern is followed throughout the Book of Acts.

Objections

Well, let me continue with some objections. I’m not interested in human reasoning objections, but biblical ones. Let me deal with a few verses that are often used to make the claim that the Law must first be preached, and then the Gospel.

Psalm 19:7

It's usually quoted, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” The word “converting” sounds like salvation, but you will see in the margin, or in most translations, that the best translation is “restoring the soul” or “reviving the soul”. It’s likely not even a reference to salvation at all, but in any case, the Old Testament Psalms is not the most reliable source for a New Covenant doctrine.

Also, when the Psalmist refers to the Law of the Lord, he is not referring to the Ten Commandments or any specific laws, but to the Word of God in general, as it was then known. You will see this over and over in the Psalms. That’s why the reading of the Psalms can be so rich for us New Covenant believers who are no longer under the Old Covenant Law.

Romans 3:20

“...for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Although it’s true that through a specific law can come the knowledge of a specific sin, that is not Paul’s point. He is contrasting the inability of the law to “justify” anyone in God’s sight. In other words, no one can be saved through the law, he points out.

The best the law could do is show how someone has specifically sinned. But as we have already pointed out, man already knows he is a sinner, a breaker of God’s law, and suppresses that truth in unrighteousness.

1 John 3:4

“...sin is lawlessness”. The argument is made that lawlessness is the breaking of laws, and that this must be preached to show that someone has sinned. This is not only a little silly in view of what we’ve already seen about the heart and conscience of man, but it's not what John was trying to get across at all.

John was contrasting the true born-again believer with the false believer and saying that the one who practices sin has an attitude of lawlessness. Not just that they break God’s laws, but that the source of that law-breaking is a heart of lawlessness, and thus an unregenerate or unsaved heart. This has nothing to do with preaching specific laws to “prepare” for the Gospel.

Romans 7:7

Paul says, “I would not have come to know sin, except through the Law, for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’” But the context shows that Paul is talking about the power of the Law to pour gasoline on the fire of sin.

Certainly Paul knew sin, even before he heard the law. All men do. But he’s making the point that the command or the law itself caused the sin to rise up in him. When he heard “Do not covet”, it made him covet all the more. Such is the heart of a sinner. Nothing in this section has anything to do with evangelism, or the Gospel.

John 16:8

“And He [speaking of the Holy Spirit to come], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment.”

This is supposed to show that the Law must be preached, because the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and judgment. But look at the next verse John 16:9:

“...concerning sin, because they do no believe in Me.” Do you see that? It’s not the Law itself that brings conviction. It’s the very Gospel itself. It’s the Good News about Jesus Christ.

And look at John 16:11, “...and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” See that? The work of Christ on the Cross has crushed the head of the serpent, to hearken back to Genesis. Sin has been paid for on the Cross and God’s righteousness is given as a free gift to those who will believe the Gospel.

John isn’t talking about Law in this section, but about the Gospel.

And finally, let’s deal with the verse that is used most often to support preaching the Law before the Gospel:

Galatians 3:24

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor [or schoolmaster] to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”

Here again, context is so important. Paul is not speaking here at all about individual laws which are broken and thus leading us to faith in Christ. He is speaking of a historical progression from the time of Abraham who is promised a Seed which will become the Messiah, through the time of the Old Covenant, which showed how man could not be justified by obedience to any laws, and led finally to the promised Christ, in Whom alone is salvation, through His death, to all who believe.

Speaking of Jews only, Paul says that the Old Covenant was a tutor, but not to show men they were sinful, but that they could not gain righteousness through the keeping of the Law! They already knew they were sinful, but they thought that their so-called good deeds could justify them. And since their good deeds could not justify them, they were led to the Messiah, whose righteousness was offered as a free gift, the only way any of us are saved.

Preach the Gospel, friends. Plant the Gospel, water with Gospel, and God will give the increase for His elect. That is our confidence, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

28 comments:

dec said...

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

I think ESV does a better job with Gal 3:24 in conveying the historical progression.

Thanks for your work on this, Terry. It's a good resource for future reference.

Joel Brueseke said...

I've gone back and forth on this in my mind. Not that the preaching of the law is needed to lead a person to Christ, but whether or not it can be beneficial. I think in some cases it can be beneficial. I've watched Ray Comfort, and while you can't really know what's going on in the hearts of those who hear him, sometimes you see a few faces that at least seem to "get it" for perhaps the first time. It can perhaps help a person who thinks their good outweighs their bad, or it can even lead a person who simply doesn't care (due to ignorance) to thinking more deeply about their need for the Savior. In that respect, I think the preaching of the Law truly can aid in leading a person to Jesus, even if that's not the given purpose of the Law. Just as the Bible never calls for altar calls, I don't think it's necessarily "wrong" to have them, as long as the person knows it's through faith and not through the altar call that they were saved. :)

All that said, I think that all you've said here is great stuff and it really points to the truth of the gospel.

Terry Rayburn said...

dec and joel,

Hope you read this, because "Blogger" is acting up again. On my computer, at least, the comments are showing "0", and yet your comments are there. Hopefully Blogger will straiten it out.

Excellent comments, both of you. Thanks!

Terry Rayburn said...

Joel,

I guess Blogger is working properly again, so let me add this:

When Ray Comfort preaches the 9 Commandments (even he admits the Sabbath is not for us), most of the people he gets to admit they are a "liar" or an "adulterer" still go away without believing the Gospel.

This is essentially no different than the statistics often used against crusade evangelists who don't preach the Law, but call people forward to confess Christ publicly. Some say only 10 or 20 percent "stick".

In other words, whether one preaches the Law or not, some will and some won't believe the Gospel. But I would maintain, from the Bible and from experience, that IF they believe, it was only because the Lord sovereignly opened their heart through the preaching of the Gospel itself.

Still, I honor Ray Comfort and anyone who is preaching the Gospel. As one evangelist said after listening to the complaints of someone who didn't even preach the Gospel, "I like the way I'm doing it better than the way you're NOT doing it."

Thanks, again, Joel.

bhedr said...

DL Moody.

Good stuff Terry. Well rounded you are. You are the Yoda of the blogisphere:-)

Joel Brueseke said...

Yeah, it was weird that I thought I was the first one to comment, but when I submitted my comment the comment from dec was there, and on top of that, it showed zero comments. :)

Anyway, this has been really good food for thought for me because while I haven't ever thought of the preaching of the law as "necessary" to lead a person to Jesus, I've not really looked at this in all the ways you've mentioned here (especially in the 'objections' section of your post). I've perhaps put unnecessary stock into the thought that the law needs to convict a person of sin before they'll come to Jesus, rather than simply trusting that the gospel itself is all that is needed.

bhedr said...

The gospel itself and the need for healing will bring about conviciton of sin I believe. The prodigal son knew his Father was the answer and in the same thought he knew he was not worthy to be called his son. There is a sense of sin when light comes into the heart and mind and the soul is looking for hope.

The Law can either speed up the process of the despairing one or shock him into the reality of his need, but the danger of the law is love for the law as the Jews cherish Torah so much. This is a grave danger and temptation that appeals to the intellectual mind that puffeth up.

dec said...

The Law can frighten people to 'accept' Jesus. I know, because between the ages of 6 and 14, I accepted Jesus into my heart every time the 'wages of Law-breaking' frightened me.

But I didn't really think I was all that bad or need Jesus all that much--it was just an insurance policy. So, the Law brought another fake Christian to church for a time.

Then, 34 years later, God called me and I 'heard' and believed the Gospel for the first time.

We are commanded to believe, and we'll try to fake that belief if the Law convicts us enough. But the command to believe (like all the other commands) can only be obeyed through an act of God.

The problem with preaching the Law is that it makes sense to the natural man--many decide to take Pascal's Wager.

But, the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

vilen25 said...

Terry:
Good blog. I learned something. I like the part about Paul saying, (paraphrasing), "I would have not known sin, except through the law." You enlightened me that he was not actually saying he didn't know right from wrong, but that the law enflamed the sin, so to speak.

I'm glad I discovered you on the net!

Mark

Terry Rayburn said...

behdr,

You are so right that the gospel itself will bring the conviction.

Thanks.

Terry Rayburn said...

dec,

Thanks for the testimony.

Great point, comparing the Law to the concept of Pacal's Wager.

(For those who don't know what Pascal's Wager is, here's my clumsy remembrance...

Pascal formed the logical idea that if God was NOT real, there was no problem in believing in and following Him. You have nothing to lose. But if God IS real, and you don't follow Him, you lose big-time in Hell. So it's logical to "wager" in God's favor and follow Him.)

Terry Rayburn said...

vilen25 (Mark),

Thanks for "discovering" us and stopping by.

Blessings,
Terry

Anonymous said...

I had not known sin, but by the law.

Terry Rayburn said...

Anonymous,

You are simply repeating the "objection" I already addressed above (see Romans 7:7 in my post).

stephanus said...

My bible shows me how Jesus does it and He is our example!

Leaving the law out of evangelism is LAWLESSNESS!

We rather hit the streets instead of discussing this, dont you think?
You'll find out that mankind is in denial of their sin.

WE NEED TO PREACH THE LAW & GRACE OF GOD!

stephanus said...

When a person is already admitting he/she is a sinner THAN we preach grace

But we all know that mankind is justifing theirself as righteous.

So the Law shut's their mouth.

Aint that just as biblical as it gets?
Was Jesus than in error read Marc 10:17-27 thats preaching of the LAW by the Word Himself!

It saddens me Terry....really !

Terry Rayburn said...

stephanus,

Since you didn't address a SINGLE point of my post, how could I possibly take you seriously?

You totally misunderstand the point of Mark 10:17-27. The comments of Jesus to the rich young ruler show the absurdity of trying to be saved by law-keeping. It's not a prelude to the preaching of the gospel.

The rich young man was blind and ridiculous to think that he was keeping the law to the extent of the heart which the law requires.

But until you address the points of my post, you indicate that you're not thinking biblically.

Josh said...

Good points on your blog. I do think it is important to help people understand their need for the gospel. The problem with the modern gospel (ex. "If you come to Jesus...you GET wealth, health, prosperity) is that people add Jesus to their smorgasboard list of "beliefs."

I use the law when I witness, not because Ray Comfort does or Spurgeon wrote about it, but Jesus witnessed this way. Read the story of the Rich Young ruler. Jesus went to the law. Look at Luke 18:18-23.

What are your thoughts?

P.S. I respect Ray Comfort - he has helped many people come to know Jesus. We need more people who are willing to share the gospel. Oh and I've had a chance to talk with those who lead with Ray and they share the entire gospel with people OFF camera all the time after he shares the beginning.

Terry Rayburn said...

Josh,

You wrote, "The problem with the modern gospel (ex. 'If you come to Jesus...you GET wealth, health, prosperity') is that people add Jesus to their smorgasboard list of 'beliefs.'"

I agree completely.

The solution to that is to center our Gospel presentation on what the Bible centers it on -- the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life (through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ).

And therein lies the reason that the specifics of the Law are unnecessary. Man knows instinctively that he is a sinner, just as he knows the "power and attributes" of God from observing the creation around him (Romans 1).

But he supresses that truth in unrighteousness, and the thing that "breaks through" that suppression is not the Law (oddly enough), but the Gospel (good news) itself, with accompanying regeneration.

Although Jesus spoke of the Law to the rich young ruler, He did so as a Man born "under the [Mosaic] Law", and did so not as a presentation of the Gospel, but as a real-life illustration of the bankruptcy of salvation by works.

The Gospel as we know it under the New Covenant is directly related to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

And although many have been saved after having had the Law preached to them first, and then the Gospel...

...many others have been saved through the preaching of the Gospel alone, apart from the specifics of the Law, as a remedy for the sins that they already were well aware of in their hearts.

This latter point is supported by the fact that under the New Covenant, there is neither command, nor example of preaching the Law as a prerequisite to the Gospel -- only a call to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to have one's sins forgiven.

For the record, I respect Ray Comfort greatly as well, and God has certainly used him not only to bring many to Himself, but to encourage and teach many others to preach the Gospel.

Thanks so much for your input, Josh.

Blessings,
Terry

Craig said...

I agree that we're not going to find a command to preach the law before the gospel. But, there are examples of where the law was preached by New Testament believers. There are also examples where Christians did not preach the law based on who the audience was.

That's Ray Comfort's position also. He does not teach that the law must be used every time. It's about knowing your audience and being sensitive to where their heart is. I believe he is known to say "Law to the proud, grace to the humble."

Acts 13:38,39 we see that Paul was speaking to Jews who knew the Law (vs 15). He therefore preached the gospel of grace (Christ crucified & risen from the dead).

Then in Acts 24:25 the law (righteousness, temperance, and judgement) was preached without the gospel. It bothered Felix so much he trembled and asked him to go away until he was ready. We all know that if grace was taught, there would have not been anything to be nervous about. Something obviously stirred Felix up.

In Acts 28:23 Paul used both prophesy and the law of Moses in his evangelism.

2 Corinthians 7:10 says that "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

Where does the sorrow come from if it's not sorrow for being lawless?

Craig said...

The Parable of the Sower speaks about the various stages of the heart and the difference between the stages being the condition of the soil. I believe we, being bearers of the Gospel, have a part to play in readying the soil for the precious seed of the Gospel.

Craig said...

1 Timothy 8-11

It's all about proper use of the law.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Dan E. said...

Thank you for sharing this article, and taking the time to write it all out, even though I think this article is exceptionally lacking. I believe there is some truth to be found here, but that is mostly from the first point. I'm not an extremist to say that you must preach the law everytime, but in the same respect I would not be as arragont to take the stance you have taken either.

Your third point is flatly irrelevant as you can't verify the reverse either - namely that the preaching of the gospel before the law is commanded from the Bible either. So everything you state in there adds nothing to the argument, because for it to be an argument you would have to offer positive proof of your position.

The second point fails to add value to your argument because most people wouldn't even bother offering a defering opinion there.

The first point has a lot of truth, but still comes from a position of ignorance. Work in missions in the rainforests of the Amazon and let me know what those tribes know. I don't have the space here to break down where each point of the argument was wrong, but you made a few generalizations too many: the biggest being your conclusion, "So again, all men already know in their hearts the moral law of God, and they know that they are sinners against God, and they suppress the truth in unrighteousness." This is quite a generalization from a text that could be interpreted a number of different ways.

A.W. Tozer said something to this extent, "To fully accept salvation we must first have a right picture of God, which in turn gives a right picture of man, providing a right picture of sin, which provides a right understanding of the need for redemption." This seems to be an accurate statement and logically and Biblically sound. When dealing with missions in third world countries and natives in the jungles of South America, one learns quickly the truth of the idea Tozer expressed. Many will accept Jesus easily, while not rejecting everything else of their own beliefs - maintaining other gods, spirits and powers. Why? Because the right picture of God starts from the law.

It is interesting that when Jesus testifies to the men on the road to Emmaus, he begins from the law. Stephen in Acts begins with the law as well.

Lastly, you wrote, "I’m not interested in human reasoning objections, but biblical ones." Unfortunately this is quite an unreasonable request after attempting to write a "reason" based argument using scriptures to validate your point. Your entire writing is based on reason, so to ask for somebody to give you an unreasonable defense is, well, unreasonable.

Finally, your objections section does little to help. What makes your interpretation better than those that oppose your view? How can I trust you over somebody like Watchman Nee, A.W. Tozer, or Charles Spurgeon? It seems there would need to be a much more thorough treatment of the text revealing the original Greek, the historical interpretation, the historical context, and why those offer errors compared to your view.

Sorry, about the years late response. But I just stumbled on this article from a friend and found it demanded a response for others to consider before embracing such an extreme view - especially one founded on a flawed defense.

Ron said...

The biblical precedent has been established in the Old covenant. Israel under no obligation from the Father was redeemed from bondage(sin). This establishes His grace and mercy toward the Hebrews. Father could have chosen anyone for the job, but He chose the Hebrews! Father then took them on a journey to prepare them to become a "light unto the nations
"a kingdom of priests".
When the time was right, the redeemed nation of no merit of their own, faced The Father head on and He gave them His directions. Grace, mercy, and salvation precedes commandments. So, is the same in the New covenant. One could only imagine the perfection of The Father's commands on our world today, there would be more respect and love towards each other!

Michael Kaster said...

Thanks for reposting this artical Terry. I missed it back in 2007.

At Dan E - how does one stating what he believes make him arrogant?

How can you call Terry's position ignorant when his statement was quoting Romans 1:18-19? Terry said the knowledge is within them, and that the creation makes obvious the attributes, eternal power, and divine nature of God. This happened way before any missions were ever there.
And by the way, no scripture can be interpreted a number of ways. There is only one RIGHT way, all others are false.
I do not know if you quoted Tozer accurately or not. When our hearts are regenerated, the change opens the eyes of the spiritually blind to the work of Christ. Then we have a right picture of God, man and sin and an understanding for the need of redemption, AFTER our new birth.
Dan, you also asked 'How can I trust you over somebody like Watchman Lee....? I pray that you will do some research on Watchman Lee and Witness Nee.

MichaelDKaster

ADieL said...

The reason I think it's profitable to use the Law in evangelism is because of, as you pointed out, "the power of the Law to pour gasoline on the fire of sin".

In Romans 7 Paul says "For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died."

And in Romans 5 he said "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,"

This is why I think it's profitable to press home the violation of God's Law to the sinner's conscience, to increase the trespass. Because where sin increases grace abounds all the more!

As Christians we should employ every biblical weapon available to us which is helpful in showing sinners the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

But let us not forget that the ultimate demonstration of the sinfulness of sin is the death that our Lord had to die in order to save us from sin!

I think it's profitable to use the Law in evangelism but let's not park there. Let's move on to the Gospel. That's where we should park! On the death and resurrection of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ our Lord!

S. E. Ray said...

Indeed, the law has crept in like a wolf in many different forms. While many might disagree that Ray Comfort is a angel of light so disguised, others do not. Law evangelism is another form of "law" induction that has replaced the simple message of "grace", bewitching the faithful as those immigrant Gauls from Thrace found in Galatia. I have shared this blog post as a link at the bottom of my 2010 forum article, as long as Terry Rayburn approves. :http://is.gd/M7h2z4

Daniel Bussey said...

"I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know 'nothing' among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

Now we know that Christ is the power of God, but we also know that Paul was moving in the power of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12). Yet the message that the Holy Spirit was confirming with signs following was simply 'knowing nothing...except Jesus Christ and Him crucified'. Please let that sink in. Paul's gospel was quite simply: Jesus first (who He is, Lord and Christ and King etc.) and the work He had accomplished by His cross (and presumably His resurrection). Now these were Gentiles, even if they had heard the Law once or twice, shouldn't Paul have primed them if it was so necessary to preach the Law first?

I fear my friends that most if not all are preaching another gospel than the one Paul did. Or at least preaching only one aspect of the gospel. You lay the foundation of the law with people because you think the primary reason Jesus came was salvation from the penalty of sin, He did come for that, but that is the surface level. He came to deliver us from the law of sin and death, to make us free in the law of the Spirit of life. He came to give us Himself as life, righteousness, redemption, and sanctification. We are reconciled to God through His death and fully through His life. And all of this simply by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And as it is written, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (message proclaiming Jesus Christ).

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up, filled with the Holy Spirit, and preached a message that would drive 3000 to their kness in godly sorrow. What was the crux of the message? "God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified! " I believe truly if we stand up and proclaim Jesus, and how our sins have crucified the spotless and pure Lamb of God, then no one will need to hear any law to understand the gravity of sin. The Gospel of Christ is what the Holy Spirit will convict the world with, for how can they be convicted of the sin of unbelief without first hearing of Whom they should believe in? People are gospel-hardened because they have not seen the wretchedness of their sin, I believe in the light of Christ they will (for He is the glory of God that all men fall short of).