Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Conversation With Russell #2

I just know my 2 readers are waiting with baited breath as to what my second response was. So here it is. I asked him about his view of the nature of the New Covenant as opposed to the Old. I mentioned that his description of the coming Kingdom seems no different than the response of the people of God at Mt. Sinai. I made reference to the Exodus.
Exo 24:3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!"
When he started to respond, I actually thought he might get the Gospel right...for a moment anyway. He started his response by saying that under the Old Covenant, the blood of bulls and goats did not accomplish what is needed. Jesus is a better sacrifice.

I said, "Great! What does this better sacrifice accomplish?" He said the law is now written on our hearts. "We now obey God better" seemed to be the answer.

So I asked him, "So the Good News is we now can obey God's law to achieve salvation? How does that square with Romans 3 which clearly states,
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
He responded with silence. He had no idea how to answer such a question. Why is his response to God any different from the Hebrews' response under the Old Covenant?

Now for some odd reason, since I knew he was coming over, I decided to read Hebrews 8 in preparation for our discussion. It was at this point that I finally had the opportunity to present the Gospel.

I explained to Russell that Jesus is the Mediator of a better Covenant because His sacrifice actually takes away sin. I then explained to Russell that he was a law-breaker and that no flesh will be declared righteous by the deeds of the law. I explained his need for Christ and Christ's work in our behalf to be received by faith alone. I then read to him Colossians 2
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
There it was in black and white. The legal debt of our sins against God is paid for by Christ. I explained that we must possess Christ's perfect righteousness imputed to us by faith alone. That it is by His perfect life we stand before God declared righteous.

He was clearly troubled by this viewpoint. "I just can't believe that. It seems to lead to easy believism."

Of course I then explained to him union with Christ and true saving faith as explained by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6. It seemed that in his 35 plus years as a Jehovah's Witness, he had never really heard of a Jesus that saves and saves sinners perfectly. It seems that he had never truly heard of his true need of a perfect savior.

It was at this point our conversation began to end. No trick up my sleeve would trick him to convert. Nothing I could say would persuade him to say some prayer. I could only trust that the Good News of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit could change this heart of steel.

I will continue to pray for Russell that he would have peace with God by the finished and sufficient work of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, I hope you would pray that prayer with me as well.


Anonymous said...

"No trick up my sleeve would trick him to convert."

That's what the world needs. More tricked Baptists.

Howard Fisher said...

That was my point. Perhaps I could have expressed it better. But I was relying on the Gospel that Jesus is the Good News and not some trick to trick him out of his beliefs into another set of beliefs that have no basis in Scripture.

Quite often Christians get so desperate to see "conversions" they will resort to any poor argument or method. The problem with that is that if you can convince someone with a bad argument, then someone else may come along and unconvert that person with a bad argument.

Sticking with the truth of the Good News of Christ's life is my point.

God Bless