By David J. Stewart
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." -Galatians 3:24
There is a heresy circulating in many churches today that only tries to convince the lost man that he needs Jesus, without taking into consideration the Law of God which condemns us all to Hell. This type of false conversion leaves off repentance. Why does a man need a Savior if there is nothing to be saved from? A man does not become a Christian just because he "bows his head and invites Jesus to come into his heart." The issue of sin MUST be dealt with! Please read, The Sin Question / Son Question. It is not enough to just turn-over-a-new-leaf, or to make a commitment to Christ. The Law of God shows us our vile wicked condition, and our desperate need for the Savior. Salvation boils down to these two simple facts: We are SINNERS, and Jesus is the SAVIOR! The importance of using the Law to reach the lost cannot be ignored. You cannot have one without the other and present the true Gospel. Thus, it is critically important that we present the Law to those we witness to, i.e., show them their sinfulness from the Word of God. We should NEVER tell someone that they need Jesus, without telling them WHY they need Jesus―because they are hellbound sinners under the condemnation of God's Law. John 3:19 states, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
Most sinners fail to realize their wickedness in the Light of God's Word, just as most convicts maintain their innocence. Most people compare themselves to others who are worse than they are, instead of properly comparing themselves to God's Law. They are looking horizontally, instead of vertically. They ought to be comparing themselves to a Holy God, instead of sinful men. If they'd compared themselves to God's Law, It would show them their woefully sinful condition. Listen to what Isaiah the prophet said when he saw the Lord... "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Few people truly see themselves as deserving of Hell fire. In Proverb 30:20 we read, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." This attitude is prevalent in the world today. Homosexuals are relentlessly trying to justify their wickedness, even tampering with the Bible to do so. Who would have imagined a day when we would see "Feminist Theology." Some of today's churches are even marching in PRO-ABORTION rallies!!! Now more than ever, Billy Sunday style, red-hot preaching against sin is needed.
Let me clarify―a person is NOT required to keep the Law to be saved. Not at all. To add the Law, or anything else, to faith alone in Jesus Christ is a guaranteed road to Hellfire. The purpose of the Law is simply to show us our sinful condition, guilt, and need for a Savior... "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). The Law is simply a teacher, which points us to the precious blood of Jesus Christ, which is the only remedy for sin (1st Peter 1:18,19).
A Social Gospel Requires No Repentance
Tragically, because of a woeful lack of preaching against sin, a false social gospel has emerged in recent decades. This is the pseudo-gospel of imposters like Martin Luther King Jr., who openly denied the deity of Jesus. And yet to this day people refer to Mr. King as "Reverend." The ecumenical movement today propagates a message of love and unity above all else, uniting in sinful compromise and apostasy. Their Gospel is a hellish social Gospel, which simply requires a person to follow the teachings of Jesus. There is no true repentance concerning sin. There is no remission of sins. There is no sinner's prayer. This is why 18% of the Unitarian Universalist churches' members are Atheist! This is the fruit of a social gospel.
The SIMPLICITY of the Gospel has been corrupted... "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." It is simple to be saved, by believing upon Jesus Christ; but it is absolutely essential for that person to come to Jesus on the basis of being a hell-deserving sinner. True repentance (i.e., a change of mind) causes a person to see their wickedness and turn to the Savior for forgiveness. I've often been asked the question... "What if a person wants to trust Jesus, but isn't willing to forsake their sins?" My answer is this--If you've experienced genuine repentance, then there should be a change of attitude towards your sins. You don't have to give up anything to be saved. God NEVER asked us to give up our sins to be saved; otherwise, salvation would be by works and not God's grace. However, genuine repentance that causes us to turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation MUST be rooted in our realization of our sinful condition. I would sincerely doubt the salvation of anyone who claims faith in Christ, and flippantly maintains a defiant attitude towards sin. A good example is Marsha Stevens, one of America's most popular Gospel singers, and an openly professed lesbian. I'm not saying that someone needs to feel sorry for their sins to be saved; but they DO need to realize their NEED for a Savior because of the sins they've committed. There can be NO salvation unless it is upon the basis that we are sinners in need of Christ's blood sacrifice.
Repentance Towards God
You can put all the faith in Christ you want, it means nothing if you're in denial about your sins... "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1st John 1:10). The entire matter of salvation deals with OUR SINS. Thus, repentance is when we come to the realization that we have sinned AGAINST GOD. Notice what Joseph said to Potiphar's wicked, adulterous wife who tried to seduce him in Genesis 39:9... "There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin AGAINST GOD?" Joseph realized that if he did commit adultery, he would be sinning AGAINST GOD! In Luke 15:21, the repentant prodigal son said... "Father, I have sinned AGAINST HEAVEN, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." Notice what king David said in Psalm 41:4... "LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned AGAINST THEE." Notice what the Apostle Paul taught in Acts 20:21... "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." You see, lost sinners need to repent TOWARDS GOD. Carefully notice in Mark 1:15 what Jesus said... "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Notice that Jesus DIDN'T say "repent ye, and forsake your sins." No, rather, He said, "repent ye, and believe the gospel."
There are two prevalent false gospels today: Lordship Salvation and a social gospel. Lordship Salvation errantly requires a person to FORSAKE their sins to be saved. A social gospel errantly leads people to follow the teachings of Jesus, but no appeal is made to be "born again" because of the condemnation of sin. Salvation is not a magical prayer that we pray, or merely inviting Jesus into our life; Salvation is repenting towards God in faith because of the SINS we have committed. It is our faith that is COUNTED for righteousness... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5). The blood of Jesus takes our SINS away, in response to our faith in Him... "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ..." (1st Peter 1:18-19). It is Jesus' blood that cleanses our sins away, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1st John 1:7). What a Precious Savior!
The Guilt of Sin
Most preachers today have lost touch with the reality of God's Law. Here's a brief quote from Jonathan Edwards' classic sermon Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God...
Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God's enemies.
Could you imagine Joel Osteen speaking these same words to his coliseum of followers? He'd be preaching to empty seats mighty quickly. Could you imagine Pat Robertson on the 700 Club speaking these words on national TV? He'd be finished. 2nd Timothy 4:3 tells us why... "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." Americans are spoiled rotten with pride and self-righteousness. They only want to hear about how to get rich, prosper, and have better health. They are vehemently opposed to hell-fire and damnation preaching. We tout and glory as being a nation that "values life," even going to war against other nations for their alleged "human rights violations"; yet, Americans are GUILTY of murdering tens-of-millions of their own children through abortion. How hypocritical! How wicked! How sinful! Who do we think we are to condemn others for the SAME crimes we commit as Americans? Do you see the wickedness? How many preachers and pastors today would DARE tell a group of Americans that they are dirty, filthy, rotten, sinners, deserving of Hell-fire? You'll never hear a greedy televangelist preach a Payday Someday sermon, or Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God. Read again what Pastor Edwards' said... "Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell." Oh to God that preachers would once again preach the Law! Most lost sinners today believe themselves undeserving of any eternal punishment for their faults and shortcomings. God's love has been overemphasized to the point that many sinners cannot reconcile God's love with the Biblical condemnation that comes from a just God. Over 700 times the Bible mentions God as being "Holy," as compared to mentioning God's love about 120 times.
Many unrepentant people today, who are proud and self-righteous, "think" they are saved simply because they "gave their life to Jesus." This is the nonsense being taught in Charismatic circles today, and by their televangelists. Judas gave his life to Jesus and went to Hell. The Pharisees gave their lives to God, and went to Hell. You'd better get BORN-AGAIN! We are saved through Jesus' blood, that takes our sins away. The great evangelist Charles Finney said...
"The severity of the Law should be unsparingly applied to the conscience until the sinner's self-righteousness is annihilated, and he stands speechless and condemned before the Holy God."
Too many preachers today explain the CURE without the GUILT of sin. We don't hear much today about the GUILT of sin. What we do hear a lot about is the CURE. Televangelists utterly fail to preach against America's sins. All we hear is how someone was on the brink of bankruptcy, but then sent in their last $20 to The 700 Club, and now their life is a bed of roses. 2nd Peter 2:3 describes these greedy imposters in exact Words... "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." Woe unto America's televangelists!!!
We need to preach the "Thou shalt nots" of the Bible. Sinners need to recognize that they've sinned against God. Many people today have a frivolous attitude towards coming to Christ, because they genuinely don't see their NEED. All they see is a big game of playing church, giving money to some greedy preacher, and being brainwashed. The fault rests upon America's preachers who have dropped the ball concerning the sinfulness of sin. The Apostle Paul states concerning the Law in Romans 7:13... "that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." The Law of God does the exact opposite of Hellivision (i.e., TV)--the Law SENSITIZES us to the sinfulness of sin! TV desensitizes it's viewers to the sinfulness of sin. The average adult today grew up being saturated with TV--murders, rapes, adulteries, nudity, cursing, robberies, deaths, et cetera. As a tragic consequence, people today don't discern any difference between fiction and reality. Sin in real life is no big deal anymore, because people have become desensitized through godless television. With the TV having become America's premiere IDOL, it behooves every preacher and pastor in America today to preach GOD'S LAW.