Can Living the Gospel Replace Telling the Gospel?

The Christian life is not meant to be easy, but we are masters at creating rationalizations to try and make it that way.  One way we do this is by convincing ourselves that living the Gospel is the best way to share the Gospel.  If someone were to ask us if we believed someone could be saved just by observing our transformed lives, we would most likely say “no”, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t live that way a lot of the time.

I think this rationalization partly comes from the fact that so many unbelievers claim that Christians are just like they are, with the same pet sins and moral failings.  With such an indictment, we feel like we’ve got to prove them wrong by performing random acts of kindness, keeping our noses clean, and generally exceeding their expectations.  We also emphasize living the Gospel over telling it because of the reactions we get when we do share the good news.  We’ve all experienced at least a few of these: rolling eyes, blank stares, interruption, belittlement, outbursts of anger, the constant watch-checking, and other various displays of discomfort or annoyance.  Let’s face it, people like it when you’re nice to them, but they don’t like it when you tell them they’re wrong about their whole belief system and morally wretched before a holy God.

Let’s think about the laughable logic we use when we believe the lie that living the Gospel is the best way to tell the Gospel.  We are banking on a person with a sinful nature and a deceitful heart to see our kindness and integrity and then somehow come to the conclusion that we live that way because we trusted that God became man, lived a sinless life, died as our substitute sacrifice, and then rose from the grave to conquer death and sin.  “Not likely” is a serious understatement.

Church, let’s remember Paul’s words, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14).  Living the Gospel should never be de-emphasized, but it should never be thought of as a replacement for actually telling people the only message that will bring them salvation.

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

One response to “Can Living the Gospel Replace Telling the Gospel?

  • jake

    thanks for this truth. Gotta use words. Its the “foolishness” of the message of the cross that God has chosen to save souls, not our good deeds. Our good works should stem out of love for our Savior and His grace poured out to wretched undeserving sinners.

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