We need to recover our confidence in the persuasive power of the Gospel. We are to present truth to the mind, “speaking true and rational words” (Acts 19:25 ESV), and trust the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction, faith and a change of heart in the hearer (Acts 19:28-29; Rom 1:16-17).
We are also to convey the Gospel message in its entirety. In particular, we cannot trim the Gospel message of its ethical component. Forgiveness of sin and a new, endless life with God is for all who repent and commit themselves to Jesus as Saviour and Lord (Acts 2:38). Hence, in proclaiming the good news of what God has done in Christ Jesus, Peter exhorts his hearers to “save (themselves) from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). In the same vein, Paul not only spoke to the Roman governor Felix about faith in Christ Jesus but also “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:24-25).
The Gospel of God’s grace towards humankind in Jesus Christ is an invitation to a changed heart and a changed lifestyle in conformity with God’s design. This power of transformation is made real to the person who turns to God in repentance and faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes real the power of the Cross in our lives so that we can live in conformity with God’s patterns for man ”“ which is to live truly and freely (John 10:10). This is the basis of sound teaching and is reflected for instance in the Joint Statement by Global South and GAFCON Primates on Same Sex Unions (Cairo, 2016). We must robustly contend for the truth out of true love for God and our fellow human being; and at the same time reach out to all who grapple with the brokenness of sin in their lives with the compassionate and life-transforming love of Jesus Christ.
It takes courage to proclaim the victory of the Cross in the face of the resilience of evil and its parasitic spread in the world. If Christ is already on the throne and the Kingdom of God has already come through Him, why are dark forces allowed to dominate in the world and cause so much pain and destruction?