11/19/10 Chris, 48
Today I was outside trying to fix my car when Chris (not real name), an old friend I hadn't seen in years, came by to say hello. Years ago he had been homeless because of drug addiction, and I had given him day jobs on occasion to help him earn an honest wage. I had tried to help teach him biblical truths and how to live for God from time to time back then, but he went on to get caught robbing a house and has been in prison the last four years. I shared about the gospel and the Christian life but didn't stress God's law and justice, just His love and forgiveness. So today I decided to share the whole gospel - both law and grace. I asked Chris what would happen if he died now, and he told me he believes he would go to hell. "Why is that?" I asked. "Well I think I need to get my act together - get a job, stay off drugs, probably start going to church...” It was obvious that his impression of Christianity was that it is about striving to be good enough to earn heaven. Because I told about the savior but hadn't stressed Chris' need to be saved, I am guilty of contributing to his false belief in good works, so I began to set the record straight. Today Chris heard of both his condemnation based on God's law and salvation based on Christ. I described how, even if he perfectly followed God's law for the rest of his life, he would still be guilty of his past sins without the forgiveness that comes through faith in Christ. I think he is preoccupied with starting a new life now that he is out of prison and may need to hear it many more times, but hopefully he's moving in the right direction.