Using the law in evangelism is pure Calvinism.
A healthy article by Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff on the ‘5 points of Calvinism’ examines the points in the following order as they pertain to salvation:
- We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.
- Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.
- Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.
- Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.
- And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.
Although these points do not entirely translate to tasks for the evangelist, I think there is value in understanding how God works and in doing so we might learn something for our evangelism efforts.
In evangelism, we need to first start with the Law of God to show sinners their current condition before God and their need of God. Before we can get to this first point, however, there should be some time spent clarifying just who is this God who has given the law. The people we are talking to might not even think there is any evidence that He exists. In sharing the Law we are attempting to show the sinner how he is already condemned by doesn’t know it yet. We are trying to show them the judgement and eternal damnation that awaits them in their current state.
When the Law has been used by God to humble the sinner, the grace of God can be presented. This is when the evangelist shares about the cross and how Christ died for sinners. This will extend on the explanation on how a price must be paid for sin – Christ has come to be our ransom. He has died that we might share in his righteousness. How joyful to know that the grace that we are sharing is irresistible to those who are being saved.
The Holy Spirit can then use the words of the evangelist to cause the gift of faith in our wonderful Saviour to spring to life in the heart of the sinner. This might not happen on the spot, but God is faithful in acting in those he chooses for his glory.
It’s important that the sinner in moved to a faith that trusts in the atoning work of Christ alone. This is only possible again through he gift of God, but the sinner needs to hear what they are required to do: repent and trust in Christ alone.
Points 4 and 5 are useful for people to know after conversion. It is often beside the point when witnessing to someone – the most important thing is that we tell them to repent and put their full trust in Jesus. Going into the election of Christians and the perseverance of Christians are wonderful truths to learn when the journey with God has begun.