Friday, April 8, 2011


In his book, Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?, Walter J. Chantry challenges many popular approaches to evangelism. He believes that the Church's "soul winning mentality" is missing one, very important ingredient: the holiness of God. According to Chantry, we spend too much time preaching John 3:16, the love of God, and far too little time on Galatians 3:24, the Law of God. As a result, many are led to receive Jesus as "their personal Savior," but fail to understand that Jesus must be "their Lord."

The Apostle Peter wrote, "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16). Yes, God is holy, and in order to have a relationship with Him, we must be holy. The Greek word translated "holy," is ἅγιος (hagios), and it speaks of something or someone who is set apart for God's service. When describing God, or a man who has been sanctified, it denotes righteousness. So, Chantry says that in order for the Gospel to be effective, the candidate for salvation must be aware that he is a sinner, that is, that he is unrighteous. Jesus told His disciples that when the Holy Spirit came, He would convict the world of [their] sin, and of [His] righteousness, and of [their accountability to God's certain] judgment" (Jn. 16:8).

Once the lost person is aware of God's command to be holy (righteous), he needs to know that the Law was given to define what it means to be holy, not to save him. Galatians 3:24 says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The Law cannot make one righteous (Gal. 2:16). The only way the lost can become righteous is by accepting what the Lord has done for him on the cross; "For He hath made Him [to be] sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). God is willing to trade His Son's righteousness for our sin.

The final question that needs answering is, "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is believe (Jn. 6:29; Acts 16:31; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 2:6; Jam. 2:23). Does believing in Jesus save me? No! The devil believes (Jam. 2:19). In order to be saved, I must believe that God demands holiness; that I am a sinner (Rom. 3:23); that Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4); and that by trusting in the Father who raised Him (Rom. 10:9-10), I will be made righteous, holy, saved (Rom. 4:16-25)!

Perhaps the reason Christians fail to preach the character of God, the Law of God, repentance toward God, and preach only faith in God's Son, is that we are either in a hurry, or we are simply lazy. Jesus said that repentance and remission was to be preached to the lost (Lk. 24:47). Remission involves the work of Christ on our behalf; repentance involves acknowledging our sin, turning from it, and surrendering to the Lordship of Christ. Repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin; both are necessary if one wants to be saved!

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