Dear Church family,
It has been good to talk over evangelism with you. One of my emphasized themes has been to show you that God’s Goods News (the Gospel) when rejected, is horrendous news for the unbeliever. And that may be one possible reason that we hesitate to share Good News with folks. The implications can be devastating on the one side, but glorious on the other side.
As a part of my morning time quiet time today, I discovered Isaiah 54:7-8 which shows us the theological reason for why God’s Good News includes bad news implications (when rejected).
Here is what God says…”For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.”
That’s written to God’s covenant people, Israel. I find this paradox extremely helpful for me as a child of God. I am committed to trying to understand my Father to the degree that He has revealed Himself to me. And He has revealed two sides of what seems like polar opposite characteristics of Himself, & yet they apparently sync together in unity: God is overwhelmingly angry but still filled with everlasting love.
His love is actually set up through His overflowing anger. Here’s why: We deserve God’s anger (see Ephesians 2:1-3) BUT GOD gives us grace, mercy & love instead (see Eph. 2:4). That is to say, we deserve God’s anger based on our rebellious sin, but God loves us for no apparent reason other than He is love. When it comes to His anger, we are responsible for it. When it comes to God’s love, He is alone responsible for it! We are not deserving of His love, but we are deserving of His anger! When we realize these two great characteristics and actions of God, we understand His love with greater passion.
Why is this part of God’s nature so important to grasp in our evangelism endeavors? Sharing the Gospel with people IS sharing Christ Who we personally know God to be in our lives. Remember how Jesus at the end of Matthew 10:32-33 says that the important part to evangelism is actually our confessing Jesus with our mouths. That’s because evangelism is deeply personal. It’s not only for “them” but it’s for “us!” And the more that we understand Who God is in our own lives, the easier it will be to tell people of Who He truly is for their lives too…a God Who judges sin with intensity. And I’m scared of that reality. BUT He is the God Who forgives and loves and Who has redeemed me in Christ only because He is love. “Now, do you want to experience this God with me?”
May God grant us opportunities to proclaim, share, and speak the awesome name of Jesus during this Christmas season. And may “all who are appointed to eternal life, believe.” (Acts 13:48).
Love in Christ,