“there is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death”
As we have been studying from Romans 3 over the past several weeks, I began to ask myself if such subjects as “total depravity”, “sinfulness”, and the state of our lack of “goodness” might be too discouraging for the Body of Christ. I began to ponder the wisdom of spending so much time on these verses in Romans 3:10-20. I found myself yearning for something a little more palatable for the Body of Christ to feed upon.
Then I was reminded of the following verse:
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
2 Timothy 4:1-2
The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody told of being asked by the warden of a large prison in New York City to speak to the inmates. Because there was no chapel or other suitable or safe place to speak to the group, he preached from a gangway at one end of a large tier of cells, unable to see the face of a single prisoner. After the message he asked permission to talk face-to-face with some of the men through the bars of their cells. He soon discovered that most of the men had not even been listening to his message.
When Moody would ask an inmate why he was in prison, the man almost invariably declared his innocence. He would insist that a false witness testified against him, or that he was mistaken for the person who really committed the crime, or that the judge or jury was prejudiced against him, or he would give some other reason he was unjustly incarcerated. “I began to get discouraged,” Moody said, “but when I had gotten almost through I found one man with his elbows on his knees and two streams of tears running down his cheeks. I looked in at the little window and said, ‘My friend, what is your trouble?’ He looked up with despair and remorse on his face and said, ‘My sins are more than I can bear.’ I said, ‘Thank God for that.’ ”
The evangelist was thankful because he knew that no man is open to God’s way until he forsakes his own way, that he will not seek salvation until he admits he is lost. That’s a good reminder for us who know Christ. Let us not grow discouraged in preaching the gospel to the lost or grow weary in seeking to edify the saints with the Word of God. That is our calling, that is our duty, that is what Jesus Himself commanded us to do.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”