Gospel Threads – Part 3 of 6By Cory Varden
Last week in this series we covered the first gospel thread, namely, the character of God. This week we will be looking at thread number two, the sinfulness of man. In short, all of us are created by God, but we have been corrupted by sin.
Not only can this thread be difficult to think about, but it is also very unpopular talk about with others. It’s obviously not the most effective evangelistic strategy to go up to your coworker tomorrow morning and get in his or her face and say, “You need to be saved.” That doesn’t work very well. At that moment the only thing they want to be saved from is you.
None of us likes to dwell on our own sinfulness. Everyone tries to cover it up. Bringing true conviction for sin is an impossible task in evangelism, humanly speaking. This is why proclamation of the gospel requires the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can effectively confront us in our pride and in our sinfulness.
In our day many have tried to circumvent these unpopular truths by offering the gospel without confronting man’s sinfulness. The gospel has become something you can add to your life to make it better, like working out or eating healthy food. However, the biblical gospel confronts us at the core of who we are and offers a radical change to our sin-corrupted hearts.
The problem is not that we have done some bad things or made some bad decisions. The problem is that the we are utterly sinful at the core of who we are and dead without God. People might think, “Well that sounds kind of extreme.” But it’s exactly what we see in Genesis 3. God said, “One sin and you will surely die.” As a result of that first sin, death became a reality for all men (both spiritually and physically), so that all men are born in rebellion against God.
That may sound like an extreme punishment from God, but we’ve got to realize it’s not simply the gravity of the particular sin that’s the issue. It’s the gravity of the One who is sinned against. Think about it: Every individual sin involves looking in the face of the Holy God, the Creator of the universe, and saying to Him, “Your law is not good and you do not have authority over my life. I defy your authority and I know what is best regardless of what an infinite offense it might be to you.”
In essence, we say those things every time we sin. And the reality is that we have committed thousands upon thousands of sins. We have rebelled against God (Rom. 1:21-23), we’re fallen short of His glory (Rom. 3:23), and the result of our sin is death (Rom. 6:23). We need to be honest with people about these realities if we want to faithfully proclaim the gospel to unbelievers.
We live in a culture that pretends to be self-sufficient, where people act as if they can do everything on their own. As followers of Christ, we need to be a people who constantly point to our dependence on God. We must live and talk like we need God for every breath we breathe, for every word we say, and for every decision we make. If we do this, one thing is guaranteed: we will look radically different from our culture.
So, yes, it’s true that the gospel tells us that we are radically, dreadfully, totally, and universally sinful. At the same time, we are created by God in His image. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” according to Psalm 139, Let’s not forget either of these truths as we weave the gospel threads into our lives. Let’s live out these truths and, by the grace of God, help others to embrace them too.