- Be careful how you point out the person is a sinner.
- Admit you are, and he will be much more willing to admit he is.
- An effective statement is, “God says everyone is a sinner…I am, you are, we all are.” Some people associate the term “sinner” only with “vile criminals.” Explain that when the Bible says we are sinners, it means even “good” people, because even they are not perfect. If you happen to know that the person is very moral, compliment him, but show that he still isn’t perfect in God’s sight (Isa 64:6, Jas 2:10)
While we must never act like, or imply that, we are “holy” because of personal righteousness, neither is it wise to go to the other extreme. Don’t tell him your past (or present) sins. Don’t use phrases like, “I used to be a sinner, but now I am saved.” A person will always be a sinner until he receives his glorified body. I have heard of a person who said he hadn’t sinned in three years. 1Jn 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Sometimes a person will feel he is too great a sinner for Christ to save him. To such a person, an effective statement is, “God cannot save a good person!” (There are no good people…Rom 3:12.) When the person knows he is a sinner, don’t badger him until he “loses face.” Move on to the next thing you want him to see in the Bible.
(ALWAYS keep the issue between the Bible and him and not between you and him. The issue isn’t that you have the answers, but that God has the answers. Avoid referring to your opinion, that of his preacher, or of his denomination. Point out that “this is what the Bible says.”)
2. DOCTRINE – The result and penalty of sin is death…separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom 6:23). The payment for sin is death. Sin is not paid for by good works, penance, church membership, water baptism, etc. Sin is paid for by death. God does not hate the sinner, but He hates the sin. He hates sin because it separates us from Him (Isa 59:2), and He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2Th 1:8-9).
Except for those taken in the Rapture, everyone will die physically. The body goes back to dust, and the soul goes to heaven or hell. Everyone is born dead spiritually (Eph 2:1). The soul is separated from God because we are sinners. This is why Christ said in Joh 3:7, “…Ye must be born again.” Only through a new birth of the Spirit can man have eternal life. If a person dies without having trusted Christ as his Saviour, his soul will be separated from God and he will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire forever…the Bible calls this the “second death” (Rev 20:14-15).
PRESENTATION – For most people, a simple statement on this point is sufficient, as: “God loves us but hates our sin, because the payment for sin is death and separation from Him.” How to deal with specific “cult teachings” that differ from Scripture on this point will be covered in the chapters on Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Science.
When you do not sense resistance on this point (and you usually won’t), move on to what you want to cover next.