For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
Question: How do we share our faith with someone who says “I’m too great a sinner,” or “No one can love someone like me?”
In Christian counseling one of the first things we need to do is find out the spiritual condition of the person we are trying to help. We often find that we are dealing with a person who does not know Christ and they are talking to us because they have heard or think we do. Many are drawn to the church or known Christians to seek help. Thus, we will often hear such comments as these very early in our encounter with the person seeking help. God gave us the answer to every problem that we will ever face, Jesus Christ.
To begin helping another, we must first learn where they stand in relation to God’s kingdom. Not knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior leads to comments like those above. This can side-track many who sincerely want to help; but cannot satisfactorily put the issue of guilt for past sin to rest. Until this issue is confronted, the person seeking help cannot hear what they are trying to share.
Sin is dangerous: To begin with, never give the impression that the sins of the other person are not serious or can be taken lightly. Sin is an offense against God and even when dealing with a believer cannot be taken lightly. Sin separates us from the only true source of help, God. All sin is repulsive to God, but He loves us despite our sin. He loves us so much, that with an unconditional love He gave His Son to die for us.
God has already provided the answer: God loved us so much that He prepared a way for every sin we could ever commit before He even made the world or man. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). Have the person read this verse to you. Ask them what God has done with sin. The answer is clear that God placed our sins upon Christ. The issue then is not what God has done about sin but what we have done. When this person sought you out for advice, they were already prepared to repent and ask God to forgive them for their sins. (They did not approach a Christian without expecting a Godly answer.) This moves us to the real problem they are facing; they feel guilty because of what they have done. Because they cannot see themselves forgiving some one who has wronged them this way, they can’t see how God can forgive them.
Whosoever will – Point out that Romans 10:13 says “whosoever” without limitation nor qualifying conditions. Everyone under this load of guilt is positive that they are the worst sinner to ever live, or they have committed the “unpardonable sin.” They can’t claim to be the world’s worst sinner, the Apostle Paul claimed this title for himself (1 Timothy 1:15). Since God has already forgiven and accepted the worst sinner to ever live into His kingdom, this person can’t have any sin that can’t be pardoned by God. Have they committed the unpardonable sin? No! If they have committed this sin their conscience will have been seared and they will not be talking to you about it.
No one refused: You can also point out that Jesus said “He that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” in John 6:37. Jesus also said that none can come unto Him unless God draws them to Him. This person is feeling the guilt and seeking God. Thus, they are being drawn to God by the Holy Spirit. This would not be happening if their sin could not be forgiven by God. The unpardonable sin is listed as blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. All of the passages in the Bible that mention this sin are parallel passages talking about the same incident. In this incident those involved not only denied the Holy Ghost but deliberately attributed the power of the Holy Ghost to Satan. All other sin, no matter how repulsive to man, can and will be forgiven when the person sincerely repents of their sin and asks God to forgive them.
God allows us to ask questions: In Isaiah we see God speaking this way, “Come let us reason together . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. With man this along with many other things are impossible. With God, nothing is impossible! God wants to see all come to salvation in Jesus Christ. God provided the means of salvation and even gives us the ability to believe by the same unconditional grace that he saves us with. “We are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). God never requires anything of us that He has not first given to us. Grace implies a free gift. If our salvation is by grace, we can’t give anything for it, including the act of believing. If we cannot earn our salvation (few debate this) then we cannot do anything to prevent it. Salvation begins, is maintained, and is finished by God, because of His love for man. We love God because He first loved us. This order will never be reversed.
This is the only answer: In dealing with this one issue you will not only bring much comfort to a hurting soul, you will have helped them solve most of their problems. Leading a hurting soul home to its creator brings peace and hope. The absence of inner peace and not being unable to see any hope brings humanity to its lowest point. Unfortunately it is only from this low point most will take the time to look up and see that what they have spent their life seeking was right before their face.
The human condition: As humans we tend to measure others and predict their reaction to events as we would react. It is hard to conceive of a Holy God who loves us not because of what we are, but despite what we are. When we add the broken relationships that flood the world, we have few earthly models to help us understand our relationship with God. Without this model, we cannot conceive of a loving parent. We expect punishment when we have done wrong, not love and pardon without conditions.
Christ is the final answer to all our questions about life: Helping another see that God’s love is real and for them too brings an end to their search. With their new hope in Christ they can pick up the pieces and go on to live life to its fullest in joy and victory. Pretty words? Yes, but so true! God so loved the world that He gave His son that all who should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. That friends is the whole Gospel. All of the other things are only window dressing. Nice to have, but unnecessary for salvation. God prepared the way in Jesus Christ. God gives us the ability to believe in Him. All that is left for us to do is make use of the gift of faith to receive the gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.
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