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“Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention” (2 Chronicles 24:19).

THE GOSPEL IS POWERFUL, BUT IT CAN’T OVERCOME THE WILL OF A PERSON WHO DOESN’T SEE THAT HE NEEDS TO BE SAVED. And for this reason, the gospel will not be of much interest to people today. Living in an age when the concept of “sin” is no longer taken seriously, we should not expect the gospel to be widely received. It is only the penitent who will come to Jesus Christ.

Actually, that last statement is not true. It is a fact that many today do “come to Christ” without any consciousness of the sins they need to have forgiven. They come seeking relief from a wide range of temporal troubles: poverty, social oppression, physical ailments, psychological disorders, and emotional distress, to name just a few. Yet when people “become interested in Christianity” for these reasons, they are seeking something other than what Jesus went to the cross to provide. Jesus is not unconcerned about the lesser problems that we have, but He was very clear what His mission was: “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Jesus, then, is our Savior. But is that what we want Him to be? We might prefer Him to be our surgeon, psychologist, or social worker, but the fact remains, He came to be our Savior. And the sooner we acknowledge that we are lost, the sooner His message will make sense to us. Not only are we lost, but we cannot save ourselves. In a helpless spiritual condition, we are doomed to die in eternity if we do not let Him redeem us from our rebellion.

But our self-sufficiency is not easy to give up. These days, science and technology seem to be a better hope. If there is a problem the scientific method can’t solve, that is a problem we need not worry about. And as long as we believe that, we will view the gospel of Christ as little more than a relic of pre-modern superstition.

Indeed, until we humble ourselves before the painful recognition of our sin, we will find Jesus Christ to be insulting and offensive. We will not only be uninterested; we will be angry. How dare this ignorant peasant from ancient Galilee tell us, “Unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24)?

“There’s nothing more irritating than a Savior when you aren’t ready to be saved” (D. Sutten).

Gary Henry — +

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