And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God,
through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.
During House Church Sunday last week, we went around the circle, and each one mentioned ways they currently developed disciples or possible new opportunities the Lord might stir within them. When it came around to my son Levi, he smiled widely and said, “I’m going to start a Bible study with the kids in my neighborhood.” Ben quickly joined in and said, “Me too.” I was unaware of their plans beforehand, and so I was very excited to hear about what God was inspiring them to do for Him.
Today, my wife and I were having lunch with Levi and Ben, and we began to ask them about what they understood the Gospel to be. We wanted to gauge their readiness to share their faith with their friends and see how we could help equip them in this venture. They started out with the normal response about needing to ask Jesus into your heart. I asked them why someone would need to do that and they weren’t exactly sure how to answer. We then went on to have a discussion about creation, the fall, the wrath of God, the promised Redeemer, and the need for a perfect sacrifice because of sin. They quickly jumped in with the story of Jesus’ life: His supernatural birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection.
Finally, we discussed the work of the Spirit in a person’s life to awaken them to their need for a Savior and man’s proper response to the Gospel of repentance, faith, and baptism. We also talked about the fact that God fills us with His Spirit so that we can live out the life He asks us to live as believers. We concluded our time with having them role-play sharing the Gospel with each other pretending that they were talking to their neighborhood buddies. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was beautiful. Ben somehow found his way to a deep country accent and Levi didn’t want to look straight at him because he knew he would laugh. I was so thankful to have been granted these boys and this moment to share together.
If we’re honest, I think we all would like to skip the bad news and jump right to the good stuff. Scripture doesn’t give us that option. In Romans 2, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul about God’s righteous judgment of sin. In chapter 1, He talks about God’s anger toward sin and how those who practice it are without excuse because even creation shouts that there is a God. The Jewish reader would have immediately thought of the Gentiles who many of them considered to be unredeemable heathens. In these verses, Paul makes it abundantly clear that the wrath of God is reserved for all who sin. It felt good to compare themselves to those who didn’t have the law and consider themselves in better standing with God because they did. The problem is that they believed a boldface lie.
Those that Paul was addressing felt superior to others because of outward proofs. They were circumcised according to the law of God. They thought they could live their lives however they wanted as long as they followed a few rules and bore the sign of the covenant. This was enough to be pleasing to God. The thing they hadn’t counted on was the fact God could see their secret lives. He knew all about their thought lives, their motivations, and their hidden actions. He knew everything that they had ever done, and the only answer for them would be the same prescription offered to their Gentile counterparts. The Holy Spirit must produce a change of heart that would lead to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This alone can cause a person to sincerely live for God in public and private to the praise of His glory.