I was first introduced to Ray Comfort and his ministry by a fellow missionary in Mexico. We watched some of the videos that are at his website and became excited when looking at what Mr. Comfort had to say concerning witnessing. Seeing the way personal evangelism has been done and taught over the last several years, it is no wonder that we have people in churches who have no assurance of their salvation, or who probably aren’t even saved. Of course I have no way of passing judgement on anyone concerning their salvation—nor would I want to.
This little book, God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life, is nothing new if you have read some of Mr. Comfort’s other books. But what he does in this book is focus on the core of why presenting only the good news of the Gospel without the conviction of the law is causing false conversions.
This book is not as much about how to present the Gospel, but why you should do it using the law of God. When a person never understands that they are a guilty sinner before a just and holy God, they will never understand the good news that Jesus offers. This causes them to want salvation for the wrong reasons. They are told that: God loves them and God wants them to be happy. Salvation can give them a full and joyful life.* The problem is that when they have trouble in their lives and the joy is gone, they no longer want the salvation that goes along with it. Could they have been saved in the first place with that perspective on God and His provision? Again, I can’t know the answer to that, but I would venture to guess that they only came to Christ for the benefits, not the fact that they needed a Savior. And in that case, I would say they were never saved.
There is one illustration the author uses that I think sums up his whole point. The example relates to someone having a speeding ticked paid for them. A man comes up to a stranger and tells him that someone paid a $25,000 traffic ticket for the second person. The first person is excited that he can share the good news with the second guy. However, the second guy is offended that the claim is being made that he has supposedly broken the law in such a heinous way. This man has no recollection of committing such a crime. Instead of the man accepting the good news, he sees it as someone trying to publicly ridicule him.
However, if the first man approached the second man differently, the outcome would be different. The first man should explain to the second man that he has broken the law—help him understand that an offense has been committed. The explanation is that the police recorded the man driving 50 MPH through a neighborhood that was zoned for 15 MPH. The reason for the strict speed limit is that there is a blind child who lives in the area. The first man can bring proof from the judge stating that the offender was in that neighborhood at a certain time on a certain day. He would help the man to realize that he really was breaking the law. For his offense the man owed a $25,000 fine, or imprisonment. Now that the man understands he is guilty, it is an appropriate time to tell him the good news. The good news being that the fine was paid by someone else. At this point, the man who was guilty can see his need for someone to pay the penalty for him. He also becomes grateful to the person paying the fine. He is not offended, rather he is humbled because of what someone else has done on his behalf.
When we present the Gospel to others, we should start by helping them understand that they have broken God’s laws and are guilty. This can be done in a loving way, but it still needs to be done. The Bible repeatedly states that we understand our need for grace because the law has brought us to that point. Too many people are trying to preach grace without teaching the law. You end up with people claiming a Savior out of a desire to be happy rather than an understanding of their spiritual need.
This little 128-page book is full of guidance on why we need to consider a change in the way we present the Gospel.
At the Living Waters website (Ray Comfort’s ministry), they are giving away the book for the price of shipping. You are limited to 1 per customer and they don’t indicate how long the book will be available for free. They also offer a case of 48 books for $48. If you are interested in more than one book, but not 48 you can pick them up for $5 each at the website. Amazon sells them for $9.
When you are at the Living Waters website, take some time to read through their materials and watch some of the videos. They are well produced and I think it will be a blessing to you.
UPDATE: I found a new website they set up for this book. It gives the details of getting the book for free as well as other features. The book is available as a PDF and as an audio book that you can listen to at the website or download and put on your MP3 player.
*It is true that God loves people and can give them joy, but that is not what brings them to see their need of a Savior. These are things we experience after salvation. Salvation doesn’t come because we think that adding God to our lives will give us joy. Salvation is a result of humbling ourselves before a holy God in repentance for the wickedness of our sins.