Nobody wants to be known, even when he realizes that this heal-hand salvation depends upon such knowledge.1
I just want the best for my son. I think I’ve told him what’s right, but if he don’t want to hear it, that’s fine. He’ll ultimately have to deal with a higher being. When he does, I hope he goes in there with a lot more positives on his record than negatives (Floyd Mayweather Sr. speaking about his son, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., who fired him as his trainer).
I will go to heaven when I die because I am basically a good person (average non-Christian’s opinion on their eternal destiny).
Imagine that "a criminal finds himself in prison, locked in his cell. A visiting friend calls out to him: 'I have good news for you.' With eager expectation the prisoner demands: 'What is it? Out with it! The answer comes: 'Be good.' Well that might drive the prisoner mad. Yet, that is the only message which some who call themselves evangelists have for the sinner. It is not good news. It is not news at all. Good news for the sinner is that provision has been made for his release from sin and hell” (R. B. Kuiper: God Centered Evangelism). Christians are called to share the bad news as well as the Good News: All people sin and need a Savior: Jesus is a saving Savior.
The terror of the law, for it is only when we stand... naked and trembling before the Lawgiver and Judge, that we recognize our great need and cry out for a Mediator. The law given at Sinai was a ministry of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:7-9), in which the very beasts were punished if they trespassed.2
Perhaps the greatest error of the Church in the 20th century has been to forsake the use of the Law in its capacity to act as a schoolmaster to bring sinners to Christ.3
Every sin, both in original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, does, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and the curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal (Westminster Confession of Faith, VI. 6).
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law (Aleister Crowly, the late self-proclaimed Beast and 666).4
Not choosing itself is a choice.5
Repentance... must be a great earnestness about it and a deep hurt if the old man is to be put off. When lightning strikes a tree or a man, it does two things at once; it rends the tree and swiftly slays the man. But it also turns the face of the dead man... toward heaven.6
The truth of man’s rebellion against God’s holy law is to be brought before the eyes of the unbeliever to both convince and convict him of his sins. Using clear, specific and particular commandments, in asserting the sinner’s pollution before a holy God, is the first stage of faithful witnessing. This is the instrument we should use to humble him, and provoke a sense of misery and wretchedness that will drive him to Jesus for cleansing, forgiveness, and redemption.
Iain Murray quotes Nathan Bangs, who reported that the preachers during the Great Awakening “disturbed the false peace of the lukewarm, awakened the conscience of the sleeping sinner, and gave him no rest until he surrendered to Christ.” Do you remember Elijah? During Elijah’s ministry, he was labeled a troublemaker by the king. It always seems that when Christians follow God, and seek to obey His commandments, they are called troublemakers. Our goal should not be to have people like us at the cost of truth. Our duty is to speak the truth, even if this results in people disliking us.
Yes, our witness must be filled with grace and compassion, but these virtues should never dislodge our call to stand for the truth and righteousness.
Repentance is necessary: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears. Repentance is required... It is not so much to endear us to Christ as to endear Christ to us. Till sin be bitter; Christ will not be sweet.7
Since the law is holy, just and good that which breaks the law must be unholy, unjust, and evil... Since sin is a transgression of God’s good law, the sinfulness of sin appears by the commandment.8
Carnal hearts, until grace fully subdues them, are very loath to know their wretched condition. They love to not hear of anything that reveals to them the misery they are in.9
Do Not Hold Back
We must not hold back, the truth of the sinner’s lost and miserable condition, just to avoid persecution. We should never be combative in our witness. We must try to avoid provoking a hostile response from the unbeliever. We are called to invoke the truth of God’s law with kindness and patience, not forsaking our duty because of fear.
I have been called every name in the book, and some that are not in the book. But I delight in following my Lord in my witness. I also have had hundreds of people tell me they appreciated the way I presented the truth to them. Many were atheists and allotheists. A lot of them came to the Lord in humble repentance. If you are derelict in your duty of sharing the law with the unbeliever, you may reduce your chances of persecution, but you may also miss numerous opportunities to see the lost, found.
Only knowing the goal of perfection where one should dwell, can one have definite purpose in life.10
The first message of the cross is not God loves you, but God’s law has been broken. Viewing the cross without the law is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle in thin air... the spirit of the cross is eternal love, but the base of the cross is eternal justice.11
Without the true knowledge of the Law, the corruption of nature lies hid... Men are ready to soothe up themselves... being ignorant of the Law of God... they bless themselves and think they are well... the Law of God... shows men their sins, and it makes men see and feel themselves as dead men.12
It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.13
M’Cheyne offered this inspiring quote: “If the mercies and if the judgments do not convert you, God has no other arrows in His quiver.” The terror and thunder of Sinai will invoke fear and holy fright in the sinner. Then if God changes the sinner’s heart through the gospel, the convert will flee God’s judgments and hurl himself upon Christ and His eternal mercy. We are not to shrink back in declaring God’s holiness and His law to the lost. We must declare the holiness of God until the unbeliever shakes in terror and flees to Christ or flees from us.
If we do not see knees knocking and hearts broken, we haven’t preached the holiness of the true and living God. This will not make friends, but by God’s grace, it will make true disciples, and simultaneously, it will reduce the number of pretenders.
Sinners do not bear the call of Christ because they do not think they are sinners. So men are unsaved not because of their sins, but because of their “righteousness.” All is well, if only we can realize, all is not well.14
Evangelism... means summoning men to receive Christ Jesus as all that He is—Lord, as well as Savior—and therefore to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church... work for Him on earth. In other words, evangelism is the issuing of a call to turn, as well as trust; it is the delivering, not merely of a divine invitation to receive a Savior, but a divine command to repent of sin. And there is no evangelism where this specific application is not made.15
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11).
The Long Stare of a Holy God
Sartre claimed that he became an atheist because a man stared at him in public. He felt uncomfortable and dehumanized by becoming an object of the long stare of a stranger. He then reasoned: God is omnipresent; hence God must have His eyes perpetually on Sartre. But he did not like God gazing upon him. Thus he denied God because of his quirky shyness. God is everywhere present and looks upon everyone always. He sees all the iniquity of mankind, and we should remind people of that fact. All their law breaking is observed and recorded. Sinners hate this fact. Yes, if you preach the law and the gospel, frequently you will receive the full cocked fury of sinners in the form of insults, spitting, cursing, and screaming, just as the Lord Jesus received.
The Bible tells us that the lost are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. They do not want you upsetting their active denial. Do not worry, Jesus told us that we are blessed when we are persecuted. We do not look for and cultivate persecution, but we know that the scoffer will get what he deserves if he does not turn and trust Christ.
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully (I Timothy 1:8).
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul (Psalms 19:7).
By the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel... by which also you are saved... that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
Our Glorious Duty
John Owen's definition of the law of God is simple yet profound. “The law is the beam of the holiness of God himself.”
The duty of the witnessing Christian is to be faithful to scripture. This demands that we set the law of God on the sinner, before we offer the grace of God through the gospel. Reisinger amplifies this use of God’s law:
Every creature under heaven should be concerned about his or her duty to the Almighty Creator and judge of all the earth. Therefore the question: What duty does the Creator require of His creatures? Is always relevant. The biblical answer is that God requires personal, perfect, perpetual obedience to His revealed will... that... is summarized in the Ten Commandments... The Commandments demand both external and internal obedience. Addressing the will and the heart, as well as outward actions... Not only murder, but hate. Not only adultery, but lust. Not only stealing, but coveting. 16
Faithful witnessing consists of the believer placarding the terror of the law on the lost, and then offering the grace of the gospel to those that tremble at God’s word. Christians are not to preach a controllable god, a god who is only there to meet the unbeliever’s needs. Such a god becomes a divine bellhop who must jump at our call. Much of the Christian world seems to be embarrassed by the true God, and they try to change Him into a more user-friendly deity.
An almighty sovereign God, full of awe and righteousness, is not what the world wants. And He is not what many churches “share.” The Bible reveals that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). We should press God’s law on the sinner with compassion and patience. We are not to dazzle them with proud grandiloquence or blast them with an uncaring scolding. We must warn them.
We should sincerely care for the state of their souls through the graceful preaching of the law and the gospel.
God’s word and His sovereign grace convert and reform sinners. A South Sea Islander, who, as a reformed cannibal and a convert to Christ, proudly displayed his Bible to a G.I. during World War II. The soldier mockingly said, “We have outgrown that sort of thing in America.” The native smiled back and said, “It’s a good thing we haven’t. If it weren’t for this book, you would have been a meal by now.” The Bible is a book of transformation. It is the instrument that the Holy Spirit uses to save souls and reform sinners.
Our job is not to astound and electrify people with human wisdom, but to preach God’s holy word to the lost.
I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
When one shares the love of God without preaching God’s holiness and His law, it weakens the sinners’ sense of sin. Then the lost sinner is not interested in the grand truth of the cross and justification. The law and the gospel, these are the means God uses to save lost sinners though His Spirit. Drama’s, light shows, uplifting music may stir emotions and bring people to large and opulent church buildings, but they alone will not save a hell bound sinner. The lost need to hear the bad news regarding the wrath of God, the judgment of righteousness, and the offer of God’s great grace in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Our job is not to be cute or funny, but to love the lost with the truth. The unpleasant reality, the lost person’s position before a righteous God, is the reason that they must cast themselves upon the mercy of God in Christ. Entertainment in the right setting for the right reason can be very edifying and stimulating. But we must follow Paul and preach Christ: “to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”
We are to placard Christ, the righteous King, whom all men have offended in every point of His holy law, and that same Christ the Savior dying for our transgressions, of that very same law.
The Tool of our Witness
The witnessing that is consistent with the Bible preaches the law and the gospel. The law was given at Sinai, amid the fearful thunderings and lightnings, beclouded and dark; trumpets were blasted and the words written by the very finger of God were transmitted to God’s people. That law opens our eyes to see our sin and our need of a Savior.
The law is given to instruct us on how to live for God, and the law is to be used to restrain evil in civil society. It is imperative that the Christian urges God’s commandments on the unbeliever. The irreligionist needs to understand that he must have a loving Savior. He must have authentic atonement, forgiveness, and redemption. God’s holy law is the tool we use to make him aware of his need. This requires that you learn the Ten Commandments. Studies have shown that most American Christians do not know them. So learn them first for your own sake, teach them to your family, and then press them on the unsaved.
The Law also shows us our great need---our need of cleansing, cleansing with the water and the blood. It displays to us our filthiness, and this naturally leads us to feel we must be washed from it if we are ever to draw near to God. So the Law drives us to accept Christ as the only person who can cleanse us, makes us fit to stand within the veil of the presence of the Most High. The Law is the surgeon’s knife that cuts out the proud flesh... The Law kills, the Gospel makes us alive; the Law strips, and then Jesus Christ comes in and robes the soul in beauty and glory... All the commandments... direct us to Christ, if we will but heed their evident intent (Spurgeon).18
See my book Can I Get A Witness at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63714
1. Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundation (NY: Scribner’s Sons, 1948), p. 43.
2. Jim Nance, The Mountain (Moscow, Idaho: Credenda Agenda, Vol. 11/ Number 3), p. 14.
3. Ray Comfort, The Ten Commandments (Bellflower, CA: Living Waters, 1993),
4. Aleister Crowly, Magic in Theory and Practice (NY: Castle), p. 193.
5. Hans Kung, Does God Exist? (Garden City, NY: Double Day, 1980), p. 61.
6. Roland Bainton, Here I Stand (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1950), p. 67.
7. Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth. 1668), p. 63.
8. Ralph Venning, The Sinfulness of Sin (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth 1997 Edition), p. 145.
9. Jeremiah Burroughs, The Saint’s Treasury (Ligonier, PA: Soli Deo Gloria 1991), p. 118.
10. Confucius, translated by Lin Yutang, The Wisdom of Confucius (NY: Random
House, 1938), p. 139.
11. Ernest C. Reisinger, The Law and the Gospel (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub. Co. 1997),
12. Edward Elton, Treatises, “Triumph of a True Christian” (London, 1648), p. 86 & 89.
13. Steven Wright, Quoted from Credenda Agenda Volume 11/ Number 4 (Moscow, ID. 1999), p. 17.
14. John Gerstner, The Early Writings: Volume 1 (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria 1997), p. 215.
15. J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1961), p. 39-40.
16. Ibid., Reisinger, p. 69-71.
17. Iain H. Murray, Revival and Revivalism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1994), p. 70.
18. Ibid., Comfort, The Ten Commandments, p. 187.
How often must we be scolded by the New Atheists for affirming what the great majority of people have known since Aristotle? It is remarkable that the bitter men who make a living angrily attacking religion are so frequently exalted for offering critiques of what they deem to be an “angry God.” The neo-atheists are the angriest people in Western culture: they’re cruel, hostile, and nasty.
Given the recurrent hosannas of their enthusiasts, it appears necessary that theists not only refute atheism, but expose the hypocrisy of the New Atheists.