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Three TransgressionsNovember 9, 2011
Ray Comfort and Paul Washer have done and are doing a great service to professing Christians in our culture. They stand upon the shoulders of John MacArthur, who long before they appeared on the scene, was warning us about where the trivialization of the Gospel was leading us. We are there. We have arrived at last where the Gospel has little or no transformational meaning in our lives, our churches or our culture. It has simply become the formula we believe to save our souls and to secure our thus saved souls for heaven. How desperately deceived we are and if we do not wake up, we will stand before our great God one day and hear, “depart from me . . . I never knew you.” I believe that we have created three great transgressions. One, we have turned what only God can do into something we choose to do. All genuinely biblical Gospel-centered and God-glorifying conversions begin with God. It is God who brings dead sinners to life and calls us to Himself. It is God who comes to sick souls and brings to us what we need. It is God who opens blind eyes and unstops deaf ears so that we can see and hear. It is God who softens hard hearts and creates within us a new heart. It is God who works His great work of grace in regeneration and renewal thus giving us all that we need to come to Him. But not in our view of the Gospel. We come to Jesus. We decide for Jesus. We make the decision to make Him Savior and Lord, and we do all of this choosing and deciding whenever we are ready. What a slap in the face from such dreadful sinners against a just and holy God! We have lost the basic biblical truth of where all Gospel change really begins. We share the Gospel with sinners having come from our prayer closets pleading with God to open blind eyes and to change cold, dead hearts. We can’t. He can. And He will. But we are more focused on our Romans Road or Gospel outline than we are on the great glory of God in bringing dead sinners to life. We have sinned. Two, we have left out entirely what it is that we do as we are moved in our hearts by the Spirit of God. God brings us to repentance. We change our minds about Jesus because God has changed our hearts. We want and desire the mind of Christ in us to consume us and to control us. We curse our sin and feel the weight of its woe. We are overcome by the sense of the urgency to let go of our filth and to come forward in faith. We move from being dead in sin to desiring to be dead to sin so that we can grow deeper and deeper in our devotion to Jesus. We are pressing into God even as we pulverize all that is from the evil one. We repent. Not in our modern day we don’t. The best we can do is simply ask people to be sorry. And we are so quick to want them to just “trust” Jesus or to “sign the card” or to “say the prayer” that we don’t even get that far. What happened to weeping at the altar? What happened to those blessed mourners who for days were so dominated by the darkness of their sin, which was only declared to them as they saw the light shining in their souls? Do you see how we have turned something so incredibly powerful into something so pitifully paltry with which we play games? We are not after disciples any more; we just want decisions. We don’t want to see life change and world change; just give us some converts. We don’t want believers sold out to Jesus as Lord; we want baptisms that will speak to others of how successful we are in our church. We have sinned. And all of it in our day is about us. It begins with our need and ends with our satisfaction that we have said or done the things necessary for us to go to heaven. Funny thing is how so many find being saved by works so disgusting yet fail to see that when we think that we are saved by saying or doing something that we believe as much as being saved by our works as does any Roman Catholic. It is so sad. God saves sinners to use sinners who are saved by God for the honor and advancement of the glory of God. God saves sinners to consume sinners for Himself, which He knows will inevitably be for us our deepest delight and most jubilant joy. But that is not what we want. We just want to know that we are going to heaven when we die. And so we do what we are told we need to do in order to be assured that we are going to heaven. We have sinned and if we do not repent and beg God to bring us to life, it is not heaven to which we are going. So be glad that you even now can turn to God in repentance and by His grace through faith have your life changed and your world turned upside down and find in Him and through Him and for Him the most wonderfully exhilarating, peace-filled and joy-infused life that you could ever know. Father, forgive us; we have sinned.