And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)
Friday, November 12, 2010
A Critique of Evangelism via J C Ryle Part 5
(5) Last, but not least, the sovereignty of God in saving sinners, and the absolute necessity of preventing grace, are far too much overlooked. Many talk as if conversions could be manufactured at man's pleasure, and as if there were no such text as this, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." (Rom. ix. 16.)
This is a great truth. Just the other day in a small group setting I encountered someone who is living with the struggle of sin keeping them from Christ. They were under the guilt of sin. So much so they had wrestled with the problem of sin that their unsaved condition led them to conclude that there is no point in trying to resist as they would only fail. Mind you they are a pretty “good” person on our human standards, and not looking to justify themselves. I think those who have overcome much by way of sanctification can identify with this issue. Many Christians do feel this way also. We hear how we are to be obedient, moral, and holy. Yet we fail again and again. We hear often sermons on Three or ten things to do to live a certain way. And herein lies the problem, too often we struggle with sin in our own strength. We can’t keep God list of ten commandments let alone a sinful man’s perspective list. What we need is the gospel!
My friend who is not under the direction of the Holy Spirit came to the logical humanistic conclusion of the problem. However, under the Holy Spirit we have a means of dealing with this.
As J C said, “but of God that showeth mercy”. So often we try to rid ourselves of sin in order to be pleasing to God in our own strength. What God desires, for His glory, is that we by faith take the promises confirmed by the cross and find our peach in them, not our own doings. The natural man tries to “do something”. The spiritual man sees what has been done already. We grow up in a society that fends for itself. God is glorified in what He has done, our job is to recognize it. When we see God for who He is then in thankfulness we act accordingly. (John 7:36-50)
We can not impress God. We can not compensate for our sin. The efforts to do so are sinful by presumption and taking another path to God, thus they themselves are sin. Simply put the way to God is through Christ. (John 14:6)
So here the Gospel has power, it reveals our need for God, the provision of God, and the grace of God. Anything less is man centered philosophy.
The gospel message removes in hope in ourselves. It places all upon the back of Christ in the cross. In our next installment we will continue with looking at Rev. Ryles Gospel centered evangelism. We will see how it is evidenced and how it is not evidenced.