The ‘Audacious’ Message Unbelievers Cringe At

Posted on March 18, 2019

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By David Ettinger

A Hard Sell
Telling people God loves them is not enough. Upon sharing this message with an unbeliever, she may say, “That’s nice” and go on with her day unaffected.

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A discussion of the Gospel must begin with the truth that all people are born sinners, that is, separated from God and the consequence that goes with it. That consequence, of course, is that if people die in the same spiritual state in which they were born, they will spend eternity in Hell. However, there is a “remedy” – the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Those who repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be saved; they will spend eternity with Christ.

Scoffers will repudiate the truth that all individuals are born sinners. However, those who will accept this claim for argument’s sake, have many other points of contention. They may find it implausible that one man dying on a cross can in such an act take upon himself the sins of the world. “If I am a sinner,” the skeptic may reason, “it seems I’m getting off rather easy by simply saying, ‘Yes, God, give my sins to Jesus and clear me.’” True, but there is more to it than this.

Despite the skeptic’s objection, though incredulous he won’t be put off by the thought of one man taking upon himself the sins of the world. After all, it is a selfless and gallant act. However, there is one truth which will put off a skeptic, and it is a hard sell indeed.

The Audacity!
What is this outrageous truth which causes the unbeliever to say, “This is really what you believe? That’s audacity!” Here are a few verses; see if you can determine what it is:

  • “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
  • “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
  • “Whoever believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”(John 3:18).
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So, what is the “audacious” message unbelievers cringe at? It is not the pithy bumper-sticker pronouncement that “Jesus Saves.” It’s true, but incomplete. The “audacious” message is that “Jesus Saves – and no one else. Jesus is the only one who can save you.”

For the unbeliever, this is the primary thorn of the Christian message. “Do you mean to tell me,” he sneers, “that it’s either Jesus or no one? Are you telling me that only Jesus can keep me out of Hell? This seems narrow-minded to me.”

Narrow Indeed
The truth that Jesus is the only way sinners can avoid eternal damnation is not narrow-minded, but it is narrow by way of alternatives (of which there are none). After all, Jesus Himself said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13). The “narrow gate” is Jesus. Not only is Jesus the “narrow gate,” He is also the “only gate.” The “gate” cannot be bypassed. The “gate” which is Jesus is the only entryway to eternal life, and it must be passed through to get there.

gate

So, what do you do when skeptics bristle at this audacious truth? First, in all Gospel discussions, remember Paul’s admonition to “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6). In other words, don’t argue, raise your voice, or get into a fight. Stay calm, but remain steadfast.

Second, I say something such as: “I know this is difficult to accept and sometimes I, too, wonder about it, but I thoroughly believe it. I see it in a positive light. Once I accept that I am a sinner bound for Hell, I am exceedingly grateful that God offers any way out at all! If Jesus is that only way, than I jubilantly accept it.”

Not So Audacious
I don’t think the issue is so much one of convincing as it is presenting. I don’t engage people too deeply on the intellectual level, though this is important. I believe it is more necessary to present the Truth as proclaimed in the Bible, do so lovingly, and show how truly wonderful it is.

Christ as the only way to salvation? If you present this truth tenderly and sensibly, perhaps the unbelievers in your life will come to the conclusion that it is not so audacious after all!