The Law And The Gospel In Evangelism

By Charles H. Rice Sr.
(Pastor Emeritus, Goodman Road Baptist Church,
formerly, Interstate Baptist Church, Memphis TN)

"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ," Galatians 3:24. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;" Romans 1:16

From these two Scriptures we understand that Godís law, the Ten Commandments, brings a sinner to Christ; and that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God to save those who believe on Christ. The Scriptural pattern is first, the natural, then the spiritual. First, the bad news, then the good news. First the bad news, Godís law, the Ten Commandments, then the good news, Godís glorious gospel of Christ. First the bad news, condemnation, death, Hell; then the good news, salvation, eternal life, Heaven. Law, then grace. This Scriptural pattern is found in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

First, the bad news, Godís holy law, His Ten Commandments, utterly condemns every person. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Galatians 3:10. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10.

Then, the good news, the glorious Gospel of Christ believed, saves the sinner from the just judgment of the holy and righteous God. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:" Galatians 3:13.

Rather simple, donít you think? However, there is one difficulty. Jonathan Edwards said, "Almost every natural man who hears of Hell flatters himself that he shall escape it." The sinner truly does not believe he is bad enough to go to Hell. The law of God shows him he is bad enough to go to Hell, " ... for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20. Now, consider every sermon youíve heard recently, with lost sinners in attendance, and realize that you most likely have heard absolutely nothing about Godís law. Nor have you probably heard the Gospel even mentioned. This was certainly not the method of much-used and fruitful preachers of the past, such as Moody, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Luther, Wesley, etc.

Charles Finney said, "The severity of the law should be unsparingly applied to the conscience until the sinnerís self-righteousness is annihilated, and he stands speechless and condemned before the holy God." A. B. Earl, a 20th century evangelist said, "I have found by long experience that the severest threatenings of the law of God have a proper place in leading men to Christ. They must see themselves lost before they will cry for mercy, theyíll not escape danger until they see it." William R. Newell, the hymn writer, clearly understood this Scriptural instruction when he wrote:

By Godís Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law Iíd spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
At Calvary.

If the above is true, and it is, then we must ask ourselves a solemn question. Have our contemporary supply of preachers been so indoctrinated in their Bible college and seminary education with, an "easy-believism", repentless, brand of evangelism, a "Roman Road" method of easy conversions, a "just-take-Jesus-into-your-life" type of salvation, an "only make a decision for Christ" sort of redemption, that these preachers have ignored the clear and unmistakable Scriptural way for sinners to be brought to Christ? Is there any wonder that the lukewarm, Laodicean, apostate-ending of this Church age is manifest all around us? Our churches have been filled with this type of "converts"; "converts" who are not burdened for their lost loved ones, friends and neighbors, not living holy, separated, Spirit-filled, God-honoring lives; just worldly nominal Church members.

Jesus warned, "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:15-22.

Do you have an ear to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you about this vital matter? Practice the Masterís method of witnessing, soul winning, preaching and extending Gospel invitations to the lost. Each responder to a Gospel invitation should be dealt with one-on-one, person-to-person, with an open Bible. They need to know what God says about their condemnation under Godís law, the holiness of almighty God, Scriptural repentance, salvation by faith in Christ alone through the Gospel, and that, " ... Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Romans 10:4. This is personal, Christ-like, Scriptural evangelism. It is needed today, just as it has always been needed.

Charles H Rice - Email: chricesr@islc.net
(Pastor Emeritus, Goodman Road Baptist Church, formerly, Interstate Baptist Church, Memphis TN)

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