11/17/10 Joel, about 20
This afternoon I met with Brad, from my church, and we went over to a nearby college campus to initiate a gospel conversation. We talked to Joel, asking about his spiritual beliefs, and he quickly asserted that he is a Christian who is active in the Inter-Varsity Christian fellowship there on campus. He grew up Lutheran, was active in the youth group, but only recently has he taken ownership of his faith now that he lives away from home. He believes he will go to heaven, but when asked about the basis for this belief he kept referring to his own goodness: "Though I'm not perfect, I believe God knows my heart, and He's a God of love so I'm pretty sure I'll go to heaven." I asked Joel the same questions about the Ten Commandments that I ask unbelievers and people of other religions; in the end if Joel is trusting in his goodness to save him he is no different than any other non-believer. I used God's Law to help him personalize his sin. "If you never lied again the rest of your life, would you still be a liar?" He had to agree that he would and I could see the guilt written on his face. He began to protest that God was loving and forgiving, maybe wondering what kind of "Christian" I am, but the law was doing its job, leading him to Christ, showing his need for forgiveness. Now I could tell him of Jesus and the cross and resurrection which he had heard many times before, but with the help of the law it was making a lot more sense to him.