When we talk with not-yet-believing people, do we spend more time focused on their sin (where they are missing the mark of God’s best) or upon the goodness and incredible nature of the Gospel?
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, asks, “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 ESV).
The word repentance means “a change of mind” or “a turning”– a change of mind and heart. It’s not often the knowledge of sin alone that causes people to turn to God. It’s the realization of God’s kindness and that we’ve been made for much more!
A.W. Tozer said, “Man is bored, because he is too big to be happy with that which sin is giving him.”
Speaking of this quote, Rick Ganz of the Faber Institute says,
Tozer understood that true repentance assumes a prior experience of how big we have been created by God to be – “Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Hebrews 2:7) If that largeness of created gift is shown us, effectively evoked in us, by those calling us to repentance, then the smallness of our choices reveal themselves for what they are – as our sins against the gift. At least in that moment of being awakened to the truth of the gift, repentance is inevitable. It is what we want more than anything else.
True repentance is a realization of what we were created by God to be—sons and daughters of the Most High God (Galatians 4:6,7), therefore princes and princesses.
When not-yet-believing friends understand deeply the immensity of the Gospel message, they must turn from their sin, because the message of the Gospel and its “bigness” is so breathtaking! When they come to truly understand the overwhelming grace in the Gospel (abundant life, eternal thirst-quenching water, adoption, the indwelling Holy Spirit, freedom from slavery to sin, union with Christ) they will cease to be happy with “that which sin is giving them.”
Do you know all that the Gospel offers? Have you come to experience its benefit to the point that it is causing your appetite for sin to fade away? Soak in it yourself and benefit from it, and people will see your joy and want it.