The gospel is a message about sin. Revelation 14:8 âA second angel followed and said, âFallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.ââ Babylon is the great city of men, built in rebellion against God and filled with every sin under heaven. The gospel speaks to this city of men. It gives a clear message, sin is unacceptable. Itâs a message about how men have fallen short of Godâs glory. It shows how they have rejected his standard for life. It says they have all become guilty, perverted and helplessly captive to sin. It declares their position as being under the wrath of God. It shows how men are continually caught in the trap of sin because it has become a part of their very nature. They are spiritually dead and have no ability or desire to overcome sin. It shows men what they look like in Godâs eyes and makes them think of themselves as God does. It leads men to a point of absolute despair and this is a very important step, because until you understand your need and inability before God, you will not appreciate what Jesus Christ has done to save your soul.
This brings up a point that requires careful study. There is not one person in this world that does not have things in their life that causes them shame. We all have problems with our conscience because of past bad acts. We have all fallen short of the standard given us by God. We have all disappointed ourselves and others by our behavior. Herein is the problem. There is a great danger in taking your evangelism and having it focus on a personâs past bad acts. In making them feel terrible, and then showing Christ as the one who can save them from these things in their past. While you ignore the essence of what salvation is about, their relationship with God. Why would this be a problem? Because the very idea the Bible raises about sin is its offensiveness to God. It is sin that disrupts a manâs relationship with God. If you donât understand your own sinfulness, as shown through the Law and Godâs holiness, then you canât understand the concept of sin. Please understand, sin is not a social concept, it is a theological concept. Yes, it is true that many sins can be against society, but sin is rebellion against God and not defined in terms of man or society. You canât know sin and its devastating results until you know sin in Godâs terms. You canât measure it until you know Godâs standard. You canât comprehend its devastation without knowing that God is your Creator and you owe to him your life.
You must recognize that a bad conscience in the natural man cannot be seen as conviction of sin. For a man to simply be distraught because his sins have caused him problems is not conviction. Even feeling miserable over your sins is not conviction. It wouldnât even be saving faith for a man so distressed to call out to Jesus to simply find relief from his torment. Christianity is never based on feelings. Itâs not preaching to present Jesus as a solution to your felt needs. Jesus is not here to make you happy or to satisfy you in your present lifestyle. He didnât come to simply bring you peace of mind or to console you in your failures. He didnât come to just be your friend. He didnât come to meet your every need. He is not your lucky rabbitâs foot. He is not your shaman with enchanted spells to save you from yourself. He is not some super-psychiatrist with a plan to keep you popular and make everything work for you. To be convicted of sin doesnât say you made a little mistake, it says you offended God. You flaunted his authority over your life. You defied him, rebelled against him and came under his wrath. To preach the gospel is to show Jesus as the only one who can, through his cross, set you right with God.
Now, please, donât misunderstand what I am saying. Jesus, the real Christ of the Scripture, does reveal himself to you as the Savior from sin. He is shown as your Advocate with God. He does bring with him peace, rest, and joy to his people. He gives moral strength and offers his friendship to all who follow him. Those who preach a Christ who offers only relief from the daily struggles of this life are preaching a false Christ. To offer people such a Christ gives no ground for a real salvation. You must be careful about those who preach that a bad conscience and a sense of despair over failure is equal to conviction of sin. True preaching shows all men as sinners, as those in rebellion against God, making it clear, the first and most important need of everyone is a restoration of their relationship with God. This is the message of the gospel: sin separates you from God and only the grace of Jesus Christ can bring you back to God. You have to come to him acknowledging your sin and your need of his work in your heart and life.