I was talking with a believer the other day about my thoughts on reaching the lost. I used to be one who practiced pointing to sin, preaching about hell, and then offer “a way out” via Jesus. This all may in fact be true, but I now have learned a better message.
Paul tells us, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.” (Titus 2:11) And Peter also writes, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:8) It becomes increasingly clear, when we no longer view God as the Man upstairs waiting to punish us for our wrongs and instead see Him for who He is — Love, that we begin to believe right about His reach not only for you and , but for all of us, the world.
When Jesus tells us to go out and tell people to repent (Greek: metanoia – to change one’s mind), He is asking us to go out and help people see God differently (see Acts 20:21). We are to tell people, and demonstrate to people that in fact sin has become a non issue. Christ died for all sin (see 1 Peter 3:8) and salvation is now freely offered to the whole world (see Titus 2:11). It is not our job, calling, responsibility to call men to become aware of their sin. The Law of God is for that (see Romans 7:7).
Rather, when we are sent out with the message of Christ, we are to call all men to repent — to see God differently than before. We are to deliver the message and demonstration of God’s grace to the world. God has already delivered the message of sin. This message is called, among other things, the Law. What a beautiful and needed message it is, for by the law comes the awareness that we need a Savior, but it cannot save. Grace is the message of the Savior, and when believed it can save.
When God sent His servant, Ezra to work on the rebuilding of the temple, he went before the king asking for provisions. The king declared, “up to 7,500 pounds of silver, 500 bushels of wheat, 550 gallons of wine, 550 gallons of oil, and salt without limit.” (Ezra 7:22) Salt in scripture is a picture of grace. Salt was used as a flavoring agent, a preserving agent by stopping the process of death and decay, and it was a disinfectant, killing off harmful bacteria. Grace does this for us today. Grace changes our speech, secures us in eternal life, and frees us from the power of sin.
So the next time you speak or preach to someone, remember, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,” (Colossians 4:6)