With regards to evangelism it is vital for Christians to understand that an unsaved person’s only defense is a system of works or performance, based on a comparison with others. For example, a family member, when presented the gospel, may cite areas in your life where you are not ‘measuring up’ – poor handling of finances, or something like that. The implication is that you as a believer are failing in some way, whereas I, who have ‘my own belief system’ am not. In other words, the unsaved person is implying he or she is as good a person as you are, maybe even better.
Devilish religion is always centered around man’s works, not the work of Jesus. Let’s face it; unbelievers will be able to see areas in our lives where we fall short (and we’ll see areas in theirs where they do well). No Christian is a perfect parent, child, employer, employee, etc. The amazing thing is that if un-believers prefer to stand before God on the basis of works, they must conclude that they are perfect, because perfection is what God demands if one is to gain eternal life. Perfection has set foot on this planet in the Person of Jesus Christ and in Him alone. There will never be a duplication of Jesus on earth.
Scripture declares that all men have fallen short of God’s glory and have failed to meet His standard of performance. It doesn’t matter to what degree we’ve fallen; the fact is that we all have.
It seems, though, that our society has become so distant from the true and living God that we’ve reduced the gospel to a teaching that merely equips people to become better citizens. Most people who live ‘normal lives’ think the call to repentance is only for the alcoholics, drug dealers, homeless, or those without a college degree, those who have great difficulty coping in life. How sad! How blinded! How self-righteous! How far from the truth of God’s Word!
Our society revolves around financial, social and educational segregation. We are not so concerned with a person’s relationship with Jesus and eternal life as we are with their ‘value’ to society. The conclusion that the unsaved reaches is to compare their performance with the Christian, with the result something like this: ‘I believe in God too, and I’m as good as that person (or so the devil would have them believe). Therefore, IF there is a heaven, I’ll get there, based on my performance.’ In reality, that’s not much different from the account Jesus gave of the Pharisee and the publican.
Reader, you may be a better person than I in many areas. However, on Judgment Day you won’t be able to compare our lives and gain entrance into heaven by out-performing me. No, you’ll stand before the Perfect, Holy, Righteous Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Then how will you measure up?