Paul begins his “Gospel” of Romans with man’s sinfulness. Read Romans 1 and 2. Without a divine revelation of man’s utter and total sinfulness, there is no need for the righteousness that comes only from God. Without a consideration of God’s hatred of man’s sin and His wrath against sinful man (Rom 1:18) there is no need in a man for a Saviour. Christ’s death was made necessary because of man’s sin, not because of God’s love. The Good News is only relevant when we clearly understand the evil of man’s heart apart from God (Jeremiah 17:9).
One of the great faults of modern churchianity is its idolatry. Many have replaced Jesus with the church. We seek to draw people to church – not to Christ. Church is now mediator between God and man. We worry about church being offensive, or the message being divisive; yet Jesus said His own message was a sword dividing even family members from one another (Matthew 10:34). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is, by its very nature, offensive because it strikes at the heart of man’s self-righteousness through being “good” or “religious” (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:21-23).
I can hear the shuddering of many. “Oh, you’re wrong! If you talk about sin and God’s wrath, people won’t want the loving Jesus.” It is precisely His wrath against man that opens the eyes to man’s greatest need (Romans 3:23-26) and God’s provision in Christ. Remember, it was Jesus who spoke more of Hell than He did of Heaven.
“But if the unsaved don’t come to church how will they hear about Jesus?” The same way they heard about Him in the early years of Christianity and most of the years since: Christians went about sharing the gospel everywhere they went. You – not your church – are a light shining in the darkness of man’s separation from God (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8-17).
From Noah through today, God has sent prophets into the world to speak of God’s judgment against sin. Many of those prophets were told by God that their message would fall on deaf ears (Isaiah 29:10, 13, Deuteronomy 29:3-4) but they were to speak it anyway because it heaps up greater judgment upon the unrepentant. That prophetic voice is replaced today with other messages of prosperity, accommodation, acceptance, and getting the most out of life. Yes, God is love (1 John 4:8), but He is also holy (1 Peter 1:15), just (Romans 3:26), vengeful (2 Thessalonians 1:8), and severe (Romans 11:22).
In these days of apostasy, the Bible says man’s greatest need – and the church’s great mission – is to preach the Word without compromise (2 Timothy 3:1 – 4:5), for if we don’t, we are guilty of its sin (Romans 1:32).