Monday, August 22, 2005

Seeing YOUR need for the Savior

Perhaps you are reading this blog and thinking that you don't have any need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. Maybe you are very content with your life. Perhaps you are happy, for the most part. You are satisfied, cheerful, thankful and joyful. So, could there be another reason for you to have need for the Savior?

There is a popular contemporary Christian song that shares the following lyrics with us:

"I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens

Oh Lord, be my Light
And be my salvation
All I want is to be in the Light"

Next, look at a verse from Proverbs:

"Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death" (Proverbs 11:4)

Do you see any reference to "happiness on earth" in either quote? I don't. What the words "day of wrath", "righteousness", "do not profit", "be in the Light", "salvation" tells me is that when confronted by the spirituality of God's Law, it is THEN that I see my need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, within modern day evangelism, the belief that the chief end of the gospel is happiness on earth rather than righteousness, many may fail to see the gospels' God-given intention.

If you did an internet search and typed in "true happiness" you may find a lot of links to websites exhorting the idea that "Jesus gives true happiness". One survey indicated that 57 percent of those asked claimed that they were satisfied with their lives, while another 34 percent said they were "fairly satisfied." Wouldn't this give the gospel message some competition? The point is, happiness isn't the issue.

In my previous post, I covered the fact that Jesus talked in terms of spiritual poverty and spiritual brokeness, bondage, blindness, and oppression. He was offering freedom to those who recognize their sinful state and are broken by the realization that their spiritual poverty and bondage separates them from a just and holy God. The message contained in this is most important! It indicates that both those who are hurting (those suffering from poverty, addictions, or disease etc.) and those who are happy (content with their lives) need to be shown their sinful state before God so they will seek after the righteousness that is in Christ.

Kirk Cameron quote: "If we preach the gospel of righteousness in Christ through repentance from sin, it applies to everyone."

Not convinced? Click on the following "test" now, or after you finish reading this post. Consider the questions:


Genuine conversion brings the attitude that Paul had in Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

What exactly was it that changed Saul, who was originally out to kill Christians and completely destroy the message of the gospel; into Paul, who became one of the greatest apostles whose strong faith showed that he never doubted the truth of the gospel or Christ's steadfast devotion to him? It was the Cross! Despite the suffering and persecution Paul went through, his goal was to live godly in Christ Jesus and finish the race. In the end, he desired to hear the words, "well done, good and faithful servant."


The following excerpt from, "The Way of the Master" (TWOTM) will give us the answer for it tells the purpose of God's Law:


"For what purpose was God's Law designed? The following verse tells us: "The Law is not made for a righteous person, but...for sinners" (1 Timothy 1:9). It even lists the sinners for us: the disobedient, the ungodly, murderers, fornicators, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, etc. The Law's main design is not for the saved but for the unsaved. It was given as a "schoolmaster" to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24, KJV). It was designed primarily as an evangelistic tool. D.L. Moody said, "The Law can only chase a man to Calvary, no further."

It is an unlawful use of the Law to use it for justification. No one will make it to heaven by keeping the Ten Commandments. The Scriptures make that very clear: "A man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ...; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified" (Galatians 2:16). The Law's rightful purpose is simply to act as a mirror to show us that we need cleansing. Those who seek to be justified by the Law are taking the mirror off the wall and trying to wash themselves with it.

Neither should the Law be used to produce legalism. We are given incredible liberty in Christ (Galatians 5:1), and there are those who would seek to steal that liberty by placing the Law on the backs of Christians. Obviously, Christians refrain from lawlessness. They don't lie, steal, kill, commit adultery, etc. If they fall into sin (as opposed to diving into sin), they confess and forsake it, because they know that "without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14, NIV). However, a Christian's motivation for holy living isn't one of legalism, imposed on them by the Law. Why do they refrain from sin? To gain God's favor? No. They already have that in Christ. Instead, Christians live lives that are pleasing to God because they want to do all they can to show God gratitude for the incredible mercy they have received through the gospel. Their gratitude isn't driven by guilt - to somehow try to pay God back for the Cross. No, their motive is pure. It's like the one leper who, when he saw that he was healed, was overwhelmed with gratitude. He turned back to Jesus and "with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet" (Luke 17:15). The motive for gratitude is love, not legalism."


Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my Commandments." (John 14:15 NASB)

In the following excerpt from "TWOTM", the difference between legalism and using the spiritual nature of the Law in evangelism is explained quite well:

"The Law reveals to them (new believers) that there is no way they can please God outside of faith in Jesus. As they stand before the ground-shaking thunder and vivid lightning of Mount Sinai, it dawns on them that a holy Creator sees their wicked thoughts. They cringe as they begin to understand that God sees lust as adultery and hatred as murder. Guilty sinners see that they are "by nature children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) and therefore flee to shelter in Christ from the rain of God's indignation. They know that grace, and grace alone, saves them. In the words of the hymn "Rock of Ages," nothing in their hands they bring, simply to the Cross they cling.

True believers are saved knowing that nothing commends them to God. After a lifetime of good works, of reading the Word, of prayer and seeking the lost, they are still saved by grace and grace alone. They are "unprofitable servants" who merely do what they should."


Please know that I am not advocating that good works, reading the Bible, prayer, etc. is not worthwhile. To the contrary, it is all very important for our continued connection with the Lord and continual sanctification; which is a lifetime pursuit. But note the fact that all of these things do not save us, but are a result of our salvation! That is the difference!!

Now, contrast our need for salvation because of the Law with those who make a commitment to Christ without the Law. They may be seeking that inner peace, contentment and lasting fulfillment to fill up what is missing in their lives. But there is no trembling; no fear; no fleeing from wrath. In fact, they may not even believe that their just reward is eternal damnation. Many churches today omit preaching about the wrath of God, the reality of hell and many may not even preach the holiness and righteousness of God! Therefore, even as professing Christians they think they are basically good. Notice this: without the Law, they haven't been stripped of self-righteousness!!

With a faulty foundation such as this, these type of converts could be deceived into thinking that somehow their good works commend them to God. If the Law is neglected before the message of the Cross is presented, those who profess faith in Christ are prone to go astray!

Yes! The Law alarms us! It was designed to do just that! It is the part that plays the "schoolmaster," showing us our need that ultimately drives us to the cross of Jesus Christ!

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