Unbelievers Need Life, Not Rules, Not Law – This Should Be Our Gospel
CAN RULES GIVE THE DEAD LIFE? Imagine you’re walking down the road and you stumble upon a dead man. Someone tells you he lived an unhealthy life style and he had a major heart attack and died about 5 hours ago. In hopes to save him you kneel down and start reading rules to him from a really good book. You tell him to eat better. Don’t drink alcohol. Exercise more. Don’t smoke. Take Vitamins. You give him a seemingly impressive list to do’s and don’t do’s. But nothing happens. Why? Because this man is dead. What he needs is life.
All those rules seems like the answer but lack any value in giving Him back his LIFE. Again, this man is dead and in need of LIFE. Sadly, no rules will resurrect him.
This is similar for us. Spiritually speaking the bible shows us we are DEAD (in Adam) and in need of LIFE (in Christ) – see Romans 5:12-21. It shows us that the law can’t give us life. The only hope for LIFE is faith in Christ.
Jesus said [John 10:10] “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Despite that fact that behavior improvement seems to be the biggest teaching to lost people, we are never told in scripture that the answer to our problem is to perform better. We are told we are dead and in need of life. A life that comes through faith in Jesus. When we place our faith in Jesus we are “born again” and we receive new life!
Take a look at the story of Nicodemus and what Jesus says he needs. And keep in mind this guy had plenty of rules. He was after all an elite religious leader in his time.
[John 3:1-7] Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
So you see, the problem is death. The solution is life. Rules won’t save the dead (unbelievers). They need faith in Christ and He will freely give them life. Instead of trying to change the behavior of an unbeliever we need to lead them to Jesus. He will take care of the behavior because He who began a good work in you will perfect it.
Side note: Being born of water is not about baptism. It’s about being born of flesh. Remember we were once in our mothers water. In verse 6 Jesus clearly shows in the two kinds of births He is talking about. One is flesh. One is Spirit. Watch out for false teaching that turns this story into something it’s not about.
As for the believers, we don’t avoid sin so we can get right with God. We avoid sin because it’s bad and it never fulfills, it’s not who we are anymore, and He works in us to will and do His good pleasure. However, not sinning does not give us life. Christ did. Not sinning is not what makes us righteous. The new LIFE that Christ gave us does. Not sinning doesn’t make us more holy. Christ does.
Do you see it? When you look at it this way it’s about Him. Not us or our ability to earn righteousness through behavior. He gave us life. He made us righteous. You didn’t earn it and you’re not earning it now.
I thank God for His kindness.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.