Wednesday, July 13, 2011

O God Deliver Me from Myself

The first thing to keep in mind when sharing the gospel is knowing the fundamental obstacle to salvation. The individual with whom we are sharing the gospel must come to know and embrace their helplessness. Although the ministry of the Holy Spirit brings men to this realization, it is our responsibility to use the word of God in explaining their condition. Men must know that they are absolutely in bondage to sin or the work of Christ cannot be understood. Those who do not know that they are lost never realize the need for redemption.

The problem that exists in most gospel presentations centers on offering the gospel as a means of forgiveness and benefit.  Many people “believe” the message containing warmth, love, and forgiveness and remain content with their current life of sin. I would not deny the fact that there are great benefits and total forgiveness as part of the gospel. However foremost and fundamental to a man’s salvation is the realization and understanding of the need of repentance.

Therefore, to realize true conversion within a gospel presentation a change of nature must take place. There must be a deliverance from self. In the words of the Apostle Paul,

“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)

The gospel message includes a full presentation of the need for repentance. Repentance is more than merely a change of mind, whether it is a change of mind about Christ or sin. Repentance includes a change of action, direction, and even desire.

A man who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit will have as a result of the indwelling Holy Spirit a desire not to sin. William Wilberforce prayed,

            “O God, deliver me from myself.” [1]

Even in a new convert this sentiment should be present. When a man has been brought to realization that he has no spiritual ability to save himself and that by nature he is under the wrath and condemnation of God a major obstacle has been removed. He now, by ministry of the Holy Spirit knows that he is guilty and is only freed by repenting and trusting in the finished work of Christ.

Do not be afraid of “preaching” the law to enable the Holy Spirit to produce deep conviction. Don’t start at the benefits of salvation. Otherwise, you face at least two problems. First, a person’s motivation for salvation will be merely for the benefit rather than for the fact that they have offended a holy and righteous God who has condemned them. Second, the Holy Spirit will not regenerate an individual which results in a “convert” to warm and fuzzy sentiment rather than a convert who has come to know his sin and guilt and repented of their sin. Present the full truth of the gospel in such a way that men cry out, “O God deliver me from myself!”

[1] R. A. and S. Wilberforce, The Life of William Wilberforce, vol. 1 (London: Murray, 1838), p.98


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent write which made interesting reading Gregg.

Have a lovely day.

JD Curtis said...

Youre right Gregg. Man is utterly depraved and will choose to rebel against the will of God 100% of the time if left to our own devices.

Michael Wright said...

Amen, Bro. Gregg, this is of the utmost importance yet our fundamentalism/evangelicalism seems to have left it behind. Thanks for posting.

Keena said...

Yes! What an excellent blog!! I always come away from your blogs thinking. Scarey thought huh?? LOL

JD Curtis said...

"The gospel message is simple: You don't have to turn it into a quest for the perfect liturgy or a campaign for justice or peace or the creation of the perfect self help group. You don't have to turn it into an intellectual or existential quest to discover your true self or the source of your heart's desire.

You are unhappy and searching for something because you are imperfect. You have fallen short of the glory of God. This condition is called sin. You are a sinner. You are selfish, ego centric, lustful, unforgiving, angry, manipulative, self seeking and proud. You love pleasure rather than God and you will believe any lie as long as it allows you to continue in your sin. If you continue in this condition you will end up becoming more and more unhappy and eventually you will be separated from God, light, love, goodness, truth and beauty forever because that is what you chose.

The New Testament, and the message of the church down the ages is straightforward: "Repent and believe the gospel and be baptized". In other words, "Admit you are a sinner, turn to God for forgiveness. Accept the strange, but compelling truth that Christ died on the cross to forgive your sins. Receive his gift of new life with an open heart with nothing held back. Change your ways."