“Before you can get someone saved,
you first have to get them lost.”
The primary need of our day is to help lost people realise they are sinners. And that is difficult in a society of relative morality.
There is a school of thinking in Fundamentalism that focuses on “guarding your testimony with the lost.” I believe this is an example of the man-centred thinking of the Missional Fundamentists.
Granted, the “good testimony” ethic recognises that living the gospel in front of others is the most powerful testimony to the power of Jesus Christ. But here’s the rub. The lost cannot see the gospel at work in my life until they see that I’m a sinner! The gospel is about rescuing sinners!
That’s why your “good testimony”
might be the biggest hindrance to others
seeing the gospel in your life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should indulge in sinful activity “that grace may abound.” I’m saying that we should be real.
It’s as if we go on high alert any time we’re around unsaved people. We become weird. Like some sort of super-spiritual honing device that can find an opportunity in every discussion to “turn the conversation towards the things of God.” It’s all about being a “good testimony” to this unsaved person.
But is this on-your-best-behaviour approach to witnessing helping them see Jesus Christ? Or is it obscuring him?
If a lost person tells you
you’re “such a nice person,”
you ought to be disappointed.
They’ve seen you. They haven’t seen Christ.
Again, I’m not saying we should try to have a bad testimony. I’m saying we should stop worrying about our testimony so much and focus on showing them Jesus Christ and his gospel. And the best place to do that is in your own life—specifically, in your own sin.
Until they see you for the sinner that you are, they cannot see the gospel at work in your life. You’ve got to get to the point where you are the real you around them, failures and all. And it will be in that very point where the gospel will become evident.
Do you respond in humility and repentance to your sinfulness? Do you admit your weaknesses? Do you rejoice in Christ’s forgiveness and grace? Do you forgive others specifically because Jesus Christ forgave you so much?
Until they understand that you’re a bad person, they will not see the grace of Jesus Christ in rescuing you. And that grace is the heart of the gospel.
As believers, we must be careful not to hide Jesus Christ and his gospel behind our “good testimony.”