I approached a lady at the bus stop this morning, giving her a coin with the 10 commandments and telling her that I am from the church down the road. I explained to her that I am “out spreading the Gospel.” She didn’t look to be overly thrilled about the idea of talking with me about God. Whatever the case, throughout our conversation she kept interacting with me in a manner that proved that she was really listening and thinking about what I was sharing. Furthermore, she shared what she thought.
I asked her if she had ever broke the 10 commandments. With a smile she said, “We all have.” I said, “Well, yes, that’s true. I have broken all ten commandments, but the fact that I have broken them should not somehow make you feel any better.” I asked if she thought that God would accept her if she was to die today. She was quite. She thought about it and then said, “I don’t know how to answer your question. I do not know. God will decide.” This is the second most common answer that I come across on the streets of Rexdale. The majority of people I meet are confident that God will accept them. Some are not sure, but believe that we cannot know until Judgment Day. Even less believe that God will reject them.
I told her that we can know. I went on to share the Gospel with her, starting in Genesis 1-3. While I was teaching about the holiness of God and the fact that he cannot tolerate wrong, I quoted Paul from Romans saying, “the wages of sin is death.” Interestingly she responded, “but the gift of God is eternal life.” I said, “Ah, so you know this.” I forget how the conversation turned at this point, but it became clear again that she did not believe that we can know how we stand before God until Judgment Day.
By the grace of God, I had an idea. She had the classifieds in her hands. So I said, “see here (pointing at one of the ad’s), we know that (pointing at the name at the bottom of the ad) Charles is selling something. He is selling a Ford (pointing at the title of the ad) and here are all the details (pointing at the middle section). We can know what he is selling because he has spoken about it. She seemed to get my point. I went on, “God has spoken in his Word about the Judgment. In Matthew 25 Jesus said that unrighteous go into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” I said, “Do you believe that you deserve eternal punishment? She said, “I don’t know, do you?” I do not know if she was asking if I deserve eternal punishment or if I think that she deserves eternal punishment. Whatever the case, I said, “Yes, I deserve eternal punishment and so does everyone else. Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. It is real. And it is where the unrighteous go.”
Then I said, “The question is, ‘Who are the righteous and the unrighteous?'” She shared with me that even religious leaders sin. I could not agree more. I opened up my Bible to Romans 3 and read to her a part of verse 10, which says, “There is no one righteous, no no one.” And then I shared a portion of verse 12: “not one does good, not even one.” At this point the bus was coming, so I gave her the NT with a copy of the Gospel which I have as an insert in the Bible. I encouraged her to read the insert. May the Lord help her to see that she is not righteous and that like me, she must turn to Christ for the forgiveness of sins and for justification. Oh that she may be concerned about her sin and oh that she may fear the judgment – and then, may she cry out for mercy (before it is too late!). May we take seriously our call to “save others by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23b). Not that we save people – but may the Lord grant us grace to spread His Word and plead with fellow sinners to be reconciled to God – this is “snatching.”