“Telling people about Jesus is easier than living like him, but the latter will lead us to the cross. When we befriend those outside of the Church walls, we have to actually live out this whole Christian thing, not just talk about it.”
I have often thought that Christians seem to become abrasive in “sharing the Gospel” out of motivation not to be ashamed of the Gospel. We don’t want God to be ashamed of us by being ashamed to share the Gospel, but that motivation, alone, isn’t what sharing the Gospel is all about.
We don’t earn our way to heaven by sharing the Gospel. Salvation is a gift. We can’t earn salvation by sharing the Gospel.
Rather, sharing the Gospel should be the natural extension of who we are, born again as children of God, flowing out of the new life that is budding and growing within us. Sharing the Gospel should be an extension of our lives as we walk with God – not simply something we say.
God is love. Therefore, as children of God, having the lifeblood of God coursing through us, sharing the Gospel should be an expression of that love that He has for us and others.
Too often, it seems, that the stands we take for God evidence something other than love. It comes across as fighting to maintain political and cultural power and position. Or it seems like notching our belts in the category of “I am not ashamed”. Or, like the Pharisees that Jesus always confronted, it resembles self-righteousness.
To be sure, none of us, myself included, are immune from these vestiges of the flesh that live on and die hard within us. So, we need to be uncompromising and unrelenting – like Israelites were instructed as they entered the promised land to drive out the inhabitants – to expose and root out the sin that still lives within us.
Our example, of course, is Jesus, who demonstrated in his life the very nature of God in human form. Jesus got the greatest push back from religious people, but he was a “friend of sinners”, as the great hymn acknowledges. That phrase, friend of sinners, comes from an accusation leveled at Jesus by the religious leaders.
I wonder what influence Christians might have if we were more often called friends of sinners, rather than not ashamed of the Gospel?