If you died today, would you be good enough to get into heaven? That’s the question that needs to be asked in a witnessing situation where a person believes they are basically good. Wednesday’s on Wretched Radio, hosted by Todd Friel, is “Witness Wednesday” and during his broadcast Friel visits college campuses and other public areas with the goal of entering into spiritual conversations. What is remarkably shocking, other than the fact that even professing Christians have no idea what the Gospel is, is that nearly everyone considers themselves “good”, from those who are atheist or agnostic and have no desire for a god, let alone THE God of the universe to those aforementioned self-professing Christians. Last week, I had the opportunity to witness to a professing Christian (yes you read that correctly) and Friel’s conversations were a great help because they gave me exposure to the thought process of how everyday people view themselves. The response that I got mirrored that which is so commonly encountered on the radio show, namely that a person thinks they are a good, though not perfect, they are trying to live a good life and because of that consider themselves deserving of heaven. Here is how a conversation like this might typically go and one that I hope helps you in witnessing encounters:
Witness: Do you think you are a good person?
Person: Yeah. I mean, I’m not perfect, but I do the best I can. I consider myself a good person though.
Witness: So based on being good, do you think you deserve to go to heaven?
Person: Well maybe, that’s up to God though because I can’t judge. I think I’ll go to heaven, not sure but probably.
Witness: So what is your standard for being good? By that I mean what do you measure yourself against to determine whether you’re good or not?
Person: (True Response) Well, my grandmother is the best person I know. She is the godliest woman I know. I want to be like her, so I want to try to be good.
Witness: So your grandmother is the standard by which you measure good?
Witness: Have you ever told a lie?
Person: Yeah, who hasn’t?
Witness: What about murder, have you ever killed anyone?
Witness: Have you ever hated anyone? Ever had a deep-seated anger towards another person?
Person: Yeah, I guess probably so.
Witness: The Bible says in Matthew 5:22 that to have anger or hatred in your heart towards someone is the same as murder. What about lust. Have you ever looked lustfully in your heart towards someone?
Person: Of course.
Witness: In that same chapter from Matthew, the Bible says that to look lustfully in your heart towards someone is the same as committing adultery with them.
Witness: Are you familiar with the 10 Commandments?
Person: All the “Thou Shalts” right?
Witness: Yes, that’s basically it. They are God’s moral law, the standard by which our “good” will be measured against at judgment. A better standard than our grandmother, mother, father, friend, whomever. Based on what you just told me, that you’ve lied, hated, and lusted that would make you, by your own admission, a lying, murderous, adulterer and by breaking just one of those commandments James 2:10 says you have broken them all. So having just realized that you stand in violation of God’s moral law and knowing that at judgment God will judge you based on your violations of His commandments, would He declare you guilty or innocent?
Person: Guilty I guess.
Witness: So being found guilty would you deserve heaven as a reward or hell as a punishment?
Person: I guess I deserve hell.
Witness: The Bible says that when Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). All those areas where you and I have violated the law that we just discussed, Jesus was in perfect obedience to. Colossians 2:14 says that Jesus nailed to the cross these legal demands that were placed on us. Not only did he meet the legal requirements for us, but He took all of those violations, our sins, upon Himself when He died on the cross. In His perfect obedience He was perfectly righteous. When we repent of our sins and place our trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sin, recognizing Him as our Lord and Savior, then we see a great transaction take place. Romans 5 tells us that Jesus’ righteousness is imputed, or credited, to our account. All of our debts, our sins, are then placed on Him. He now becomes the perfect standard by which we are to live and all those requirements of the law are fulfilled by loving Him as Lord and Savior and cherishing Him above all else. As a new creation in Christ, you will have a new heart in which to not only love the Lord, but also love others and a desire to obey those commands thereby fulfilling the law through love (Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 22:34-40).
Witness: Do you recognize your sin and your need for the Savior Jesus Christ? Repent and Believe.
Are you good enough?
“10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:10-26
Link to Todd Friel’s radio show: http://www.wretchedradio.com/