Jesus did not come into the world to save good people; he came to save sinners. “Good people” were lost then, as they are today, as long as they trusted in their own “goodness.”
Our Lord’s running controversy with the Pharisees stemmed from this fatal mistake on their part. The Apostle Paul wrote of all unbelieving Jews, including the Pharisees: “Being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified” (Rom. 10:3, 4).
Is this not still a major problem today? Are there not many millions who have little or no notion of God’s plan of salvation and who believe that in some way they are earning their claim to heaven?
I feel strongly that one of the great weaknesses of the Church is preaching that obscures the clear teachings of Scripture about sin and salvation. With many ministers this began in seminaries where intellectual attainments have taken precedence over the Bible, to the point where men sit in judgment on the Word instead of allowing it to sit in judgment on them. I have talked with seminary students who scoff at the idea that the Bible is man’s infallible rule of faith and practice, and who take the position that in the world of our time we are witnessing God’s more recent and binding revelation.
Out of this view of God and the Scriptures has grown a new concept of the Church and the Christian message, one that is essentially humanistic and altogether of this world. According to this concept, the “lostness” of unrepentant sinners is wholly the result of the maladjustments and inequities of the social order; therefore, it is the social order that must be attacked, ...1
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