It’s Not About You (Version 3.1): Evangelism, a Ministry of Reconciliation

“You’ll have eternal life!”
“You’ll have your best life now!”
“God is just waiting to bless you with [insert covetous desire here]!”
“Everything in your life will be better!”
“Every mistake you ever made will be erased!”
“You’ll get a mansion! A robe! A crown!”
“You’ll be healed!”

I could go on listing promise after promise of made by evangelists. Some are valid promises, some are not, but that’s not really the issue I want to tackle. Rather, did you notice what they all have in common? “You.” Now, the Gospel is personal, so on one level, it’s fine. However, I do think that we Christians need to re-examine our evangelistic approach—and maybe some of our deepest tenets concerning salvation itself, because in the end, even salvation is not [just] about you.

Grace is deeper than avoiding hell.

“If you died tonight, would you know for sure that you would be going to heaven?” This is the way many an evangelizer, ages past and present, has started conversations about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in truth, it is a question every man and woman should ask themselves–but not the only question. Many times I’ve heard this question asked, and many times I’ve heard the evangelizer follow up with other questions like, “Have you ever sinned?” and, “Did you know that one sin will send you to hell?” The conversation then usually heads in a direction of why a person is need of a savior, and how he/she can have their sins forgiven so they can go to heaven. And that is the crux of a misunderstanding (or “undercomprehension”, if I may coin such a term). Salvation and grace are more comprehensive than merely avoiding an eternity in Hell.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” II Corinthians 5:18-19 (NIV)

Salvation is about a relationship lost being restored, not just a debt being paid. Through Christ and through the message of salvation God is calling people home, to Himself. He does not just seek to forgive you for whatever wrongdoing you may have done, but he wants to love you, equip you, and see you live a life that is abundant in faith, hope, and love…and he wants to bless you not as a cosmic bellhop, but as your loving Father, for that is who He really is. As Christians, we need to make sure that we are not sharing a self-centered, “get out of jail free” salvation that is empty of the true purpose of Christ’s sacrifice: reconciliation of a family torn apart by sin. And, it seems to me anyway, that this is a message with broad appeal in a society of broken homes, families, marriages, wars, and messed up relationships of every sort. Our God is the God of reconciliation and peace restored.

Next: It’s Not About You (3.2): “If You Don’t Like Change, You’re In For A Bumpy Ride.”

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3 Responses to It’s Not About You (Version 3.1): Evangelism, a Ministry of Reconciliation

  1. Bill says:

    I find that this is a difficult concept for me, perhaps for others as well, that God reconciled us to Him through Christ that we may be equiped to live a life of faith, hope, and love.
    Faith, hope, and love are not about us, but about God. Setting the ‘me’ aside is a daily struggle. I often fail in this struggle. 😦

    Thank you for this reminder that it is NOT about me!

    Bill

  2. mommyham says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post – a long time, James 😉

    And, as I got impatient, I just uttered, “Yeah, yeah, it’s not about me…He’s got other duties/priorities.” [But I couldn’t wait to read some of the rest!]

    God has done so much for us, and continues to do so. The life we are called to live is all about recognizing what He has done, and responding in kind – truely loving and sacrificial acts which demonstrate to Him, we “get” it and are appreciative of it. And then, it- relationship- flows freely from Him to us.

  3. John says:

    Hi,
    I just wanted to write  and share the gospel, the good news that God is not counting the sins of the workd against them and peoples sins cannot send them to Hell.
     
    John the Baptist said “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins aof the world.”
     
    2 Corinthians 5:19 says that God was in Christ making peace with the world to himself, not counting their sins against them.
     
    The Gospel is that God is not counting sin against people. He counted sin against Jesus Christ. God is not angry and wrathful toward men but He has extended peace and grace.
     
    John 16 says that the Holy spirit is convicting the world of sin. 1 sin. The Holy Spirit is convicting the world of the only thing that will send someone to Hell and thats the rejection of Jesus Christ. Not putting faith in Him.
     
    You see, the is How man used to be seperated from God.
     
    Man — sin — God
     
    God could not be with us becasue sin was in the way and we could not be with Him. In the OT there was a covering for sin with the sacrifices of the Law. Sin was covered but it was still their.
     
     
    THen Jesus Came and He was the lamb of God took away the sins of the world. And now we no longer have the covering of sins but the forgiveness (remision, removal ) of sins. Sins are no longer covered, they are taken away
     
    We are left with this picture here:
     
    Man —       — God
     
    There are no sins seperating God from man. Jesus took them all away. He payed the price and was judged for all the worlds sins, He did not leave any out.
     
     
    There is still one thing seperating God from man though, and only one thing.
     
    Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me.” If you want to get to the father you have to go through Jesus. YOu have to be IN Him.
     
    Finially we are left with this picture. The only thing that is seperating Man from God is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is not seperating us. Thats why in John 16 the Holy spirit is not convicting the world of acts of sin buit of 1 sin, unbelief in Jesus Christ.
     
    Again. This is how God sees the world today.
     
    Man –Jesus –God
     
    So How do we get in Christ. Paul in Acts 13:38-39 said that by faith in Jesus Christ we are justified from all things that we could not be justified from by the law of moses.
     
    Faith in Gods grace is the only factor in salvation.
     
     
    May God bless you.
     
    John

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