FREE FROM THEIR BLOOD
Since the Fall of man, there has been a great battle for the souls of men and women. Those who have gone before us in past centuries have not had an easy task. Labour in the gospel was often slow and arduous. But they knew if they followed according to the pattern of God’s Word, with His help, they would eventually deliver sinners from death and hell. If they sowed in tears, they would reap in joy. They wanted, above all things, to be “true and faithful witnesses.” If they preached the whole counsel of God, they would be free from the blood of all men. These ministries, of men such as Wesley, Wycliff, Whitefield, Spurgeon, and many others, were greatly effective in reaching the lost. The key was in the careful and thorough use of the Law to prepare the way for the gospel.
As time went by, certain men discovered that the message of the gospel could be condensed and presented in a much faster and easier way. Unfortunately, this quick and easy method had a number of problems.
First, its presentation was unbiblical. It didn’t follow the scriptural example of presenting the balance of Law and grace, as Jesus did. He always preached Law to the proud and arrogant, and grace to the meek and the humble (Luke 10:25,26; 18:18–20). Never once did the Son of God give the Good News (the cross, grace, and mercy) to the proud, the arrogant, or the self-righteous. He followed His Father’s example: He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Paul did the same, as seen at Athens when he used the essence of the First and Second Commandments to reprove their idolatry, and on other occasions (Romans 2:22). Biblical evangelism is always Law to the proud and grace to the humble. With the Law, we should break the hard heart, and with the gospel, heal the broken heart.
Without the Law, there can be no knowledge of sin: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the Law . . . For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the Law, but when the Commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:7–9).
The Law was the instrument of the death of the old nature. It made sure that sinners were truly born again, that the Adamic nature was dealt with by nailing it to the cross. It made certain that the convert was a new creature in Christ.
According to Romans 7:7, the Law of God—specifically the Ten Commandments—is the biblical means of awakening sinners. John Wesley said, “The very first end of the Law, namely, the convicting men of sin; the awakening those who are still asleep on the brink of hell. The ordinary method of God is to convict sinners by the Law, and that only. The gospel is not the means which God has ordained, or which our Lord Himself used, for this end.”
Those who make a profession of faith without having a humble heart (which the Law produces) have the experience described in 2 Peter 2:22: “According to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’” This is the tragic result of casting pearls of the gospel of grace to the proud, or what the Bible calls “dogs” and “swine.”