Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15b). Moreover we read in Luke 15:2b the Pharisees accusatory, but gloriously true phrase, that ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’ It is great when sinners come among us and we should be rejoicing when they come among us at church. The question comes though: how do we handle them when they do come among us?
I fear that so very often when people come among us our thought is to not to ‘gospelize’ them, but to ‘christianize’ them. What is the difference?
We gospelize people when we seek to introduce them to the great saving grace of God in Christ and His cross. We are praying for them that they will come and taste that the Lord is good. We don’t allow their awkward habits, disturbing lifestyle or morally iniquitous ways to divert us from this goal. Rather, winning them for Christ is what we are fixed on and we will not be diverted.
We christnsiaze people when we see people come among us and want to change their lifestyle because we believe it to be incompatible with our Christian ways. So for the transgender person who comes we start to engage in a rectification process so that birth sex and chosen gender cohere. and as for the couple engaging in fornication we counsel them to purer ways.
When we christianize and don’t gospelize we are putting the cart before the horse. The horse is conversion, the cart is a godly life.
I have written about this before here. We should be welcoming people relentlessly, but our welcome should be a gospel welcome.