The neglected leg of the salvation stool

Posted: Wed. Jun, 29 2016

The convicting ministry of the Spirit

We don’t want to talk about it.

I don’t like to talk about it.

More to the point, I don’t like to even think about it.

But we have to talk about it.

“It” is judgment. The Lake of Fire. The wrath of God.

In John 16:8-11, Jesus tells us how the Spirit convicts the world to get people to realize they need the Savior:

JOH 16:7-11
7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;  11  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world of SIN, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and JUDGMENT.

SIN, because the people of the world do not believe in Christ.

RIGHTEOUSNESS, because the Lord is no longer here on earth and so He cannot confront the people of the world with their need of righteousness.

JUDGMENT , because the ruler of this world has been judged.

As goes the ruler, so will go the ruled.


The problem and the solution

God  wants to move people from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

COL 1:13-14
13  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He wants people to switch rulers.

But make no mistake, satan is real.

And he really is the ruler of this present world.

And every human being needs to know this.

Each human being needs to know about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

The judgment in view here is the Great White Throne Judgment, where anyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life is going to be banished to the Lake of Fire. That's REV 20:11-15.

The remedy is believing in Christ.

The remedy is the blood  of Christ.

JOH 3:16-21
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  18 " He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  20 " For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

Believe in Christ, the Son of God,  and you will not face this judgment.

Don't believe and you have actually already been judged by the Word of God.

Believe and you pass from death to life.

Don’t believe and you remain in your sins.

And the wages of sin is death.

For those who have not believed in Christ, your current situation is sin. You are a sinner.

The desired situation for you is to be declared righteous by the righteous judge - God.

The cost of remaining what you are is judgment.

The obstacle is your unbelief.

Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

We mustn’t sugar coat this.

Usually it is the cost of not changing  that finally motivates human nature  to take action.

A smoker realizes that he will get lung cancer if he doesn’t quit smoking - so he quits smoking.

A man realizes that he will lose his wife if he keeps cheating on her. So he stops cheating on her.

 A woman realizes that she will get very sick if she doesn’t lower her blood sugar, so she changes her diet and starts to exercise.

We would like to think that the desired situation will motivate people, but the reality is that it is usually the cost of not changing  that is the more powerful motivator. At least for the natural-minded man anyway.

According to social psychologist Daniel Kahneman, humans in general  are two to three times more motivated to avoid loss than to achieve gain.

Now I simply don’t know if this human phenomenon of loss aversion applies to the gospel or not. In fact this is how the flesh operates, not the new man.   But the unbeliever is ALL flesh.

Here’s what  I DO know:  sin and judgment are two of the three legs of the stool that the Holy Spirit uses to convict unbelievers about their need for the Savior Jesus Christ.


The record of gospel preaching

And when we examine the record of gospel preaching in the New Testament, we find that the subject of judgment figures in prominently.

The Gospel of John is very evangelistic.  It is for all men and women everywhere.

The purpose of the Gospel of John is found in John 20:30-31.

JOH 20:30-31
30  Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

In the gospel of John, Jesus Himself preaches the gospel.

He preaches it in John 3 , and we have already seen that judgment is a major part of what He has to say there.

Jesus preaches the gospel again in chapter 5. 

JOH 5:21-24
21 "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.  22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,  23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Again we see that the subject of judgment surrounds the plea to believe in Him.

And this is true throughout the gospel of John.

We finish up in  chapter 12 as Jesus ends His evangelistic public ministry here in John:

JOH 12:30-32
30 Jesus answered and said, " This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.  31 " Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

JOH 12:44-48
44 And Jesus cried out and said, " He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  45 " He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  46 " I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  47 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  48 " He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day

After the death, resurrection, ascension and session of our Lord Jesus Christ, the torch is passed to the apostles for the preaching of the gospel.

In the book of Acts, we have the recorded gospel messages that Peter and Paul delivered.

In chapter 10, Peter speaks to the household of Cornelius the centurion.   You can read his gospel presentation in ACT 10:34-43.   Here is his conclusion: 

ACT 10:42-43
42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."

Peter declares that Jesus has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.  There is a judgment. By the way, there is a judgment for the unbeliever and a very different judgment for the believer.

Believers will be judged according to our deeds for the purpose of receiving or losing rewards.

But this is very different from the judgment for the unbeliever.

Finally in chapter 17 of the book of Acts we have Paul’s gospel preaching to the Greeks in Athens.

ACT 17:30-31
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."


Good news!!!

And in Paul’s systematic treatment of the gospel in the book of Romans, he begins by presenting the reality of the judgment to come.  You can find his indictment of the entire human race in Romans 1:18-3:20.  Chapter 2 in particular is all about the judgment of God on the human race.  Here is verse 16:

ROM 2:16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Every time  I read Romans 1:18-3:20 I sink into the hopelessness of humanity  without Christ.  And so  we cannot leave the book of Romans without hearing once again the incredible good news about Christ has done for us. He is our only hope!

ROM 3:19-26
19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the  righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

As believers, the love of God abides in us, so we can have confidence in the day of judgment.

1JO 4:16-19
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19  We love, because He first loved us.


The torch has been passed

So the point of this blog is simple.

The torch  has now been passed to us as believers in Christ and therefore His ambassadors.

2CO 5:18-21
18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be  sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

When we make that appeal, we need to tell them about the judgment.  We want them to believe in Christ and be saved by His blood.  

What they are saved from is the judgment that would otherwise send them to the Lake of Fire under God’s wrath.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift in giving us Jesus!


Until the next time, we’re all ….

In His grip,

Pastor John

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