Who You Were
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
– Ephesians 2:1
Evangelism is a tricky thing sometimes. One of the ways that we mess it up is by forgetting not only who people are, by nature, but who we were before Christ. Instead, we assume people ought to easily be able to stop doing bad things and start doing good things. We forget that the problem isn’t simply bad works but a bad nature.
To properly bring the Gospel to someone is to present them with an impossible scenario. Much like the rich young ruler who thought he was good enough to enter the kingdom of heaven, people need to be shown their problem isn’t just outward but inward. The response to our problem of sin nature should be just like the disciples “who then can be saved?” And our only response ought to be “with God all things are possible.”
We also forget that we used to be dead. This makes us judgmental of others instead of sympathetic. Don’t mis-read that as saying we ought not to judge the acts of others. We must be ready to define good and evil and do it clearly. But, we make a mistake when we consistently forget that we were once just as given over to sin as our pagan neighbor down the road.
Keeping in mind the sinful nature of man keeps us from preaching a works based Gospel because we know that the problem is much deeper and needs a Spirit birthed remedy. And, remembering our own sinful nature keeps us from prideful boasting. Remembering who we were gives us a proper foundation to love our neighbors.