20 May 2020

During the current covid-19 crisis, we see manifestations of the problems among mankind – fear, moral cowardice, insecurity, hopelessness, despair, cruelty, abuse of power, self-centredness, self-preservation, loneliness, illness of body and mind. It is not as if these were not present before but in the face of the crisis, they become more prominent and obvious.

No believer must miss the fact that all these problems are in fact the fundamental problem of sin against God. By sin, the Bible does not mean just social error or failure in the first instance, but rebellion against, defiance of, retreat from and consequent guilt before God the Creator; and sin is the basic evil from which we need deliverance, and from which Christ died to save us. The deepest of all human problems is the problem of man’s relation with his maker. The solution to the problems of our relation with ourselves and our fellow humans and our environment depends on the settling of our fundamental problem, that of sin and our relation with the Maker. If we miss this truth in the sharing of the gospel, we are presenting a half-truth which in fact becomes a falsehood rather than the whole truth.

If we just appeal to the needs of man and present Christ to them as one who gives peace, power and purpose to the neurotic and frustrated, we are just acting as psychiatrists rather than bearers of the true gospel. If we do not present “sin and God’s judgement” we cannot present Christ as a Saviour from sin and the wrath of God. If we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from self and the sorrows of this world, we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We must not adopt a minimising approach to the task of preaching Christian truth. Preaching a ‘false Christ’ is tantamount to preaching an imaginary Christ and that will not bring a real salvation.