Saturday I did some gardening, potted flowers, sold hot dogs and icees at the Little League “snack shack”, washed my car and did some shopping errands. After the sun went down I went for a little walk in the neighborhood to see if I could meet more neighbors (we have a big neighborhood) and sow some gospel seeds.
As I was walking down my street approaching my home on the way back, I met one of my “few doors down” neighbors. I’ll call him “Peter”. He is one who has been laughing, scoffing and mocking at me (for my faith) for 10 years.
So we are chatting on the sidewalk, and all of a sudden he says, “So you believe in sin, right?” I told him yes I do, and he starts telling me how concerned he is because he has sinned and he knows it, and he knows that judgment is what comes after we die. He was telling me he’s scared because he has done some “pretty bad things” and is not sure if there is any hope for him now.
For the first time ever, he was open to really hearing and wanting to understand the gospel. He had questions about sin, judgment, condemnation, confession, repentance, faith, grace, and how we can be right with God. He asked if a person can be forgiven even if they have broken all the commandments, how it is possible that Jesus makes us forgiven before God, works vs. faith, etc. He asked me if I have broken the commandments and I told him, yes all of them, and I explained the “heart” issues behind the moral Law. I gave him the example of how hating someone in selfish anger is like murder, in your heart. He wanted to know about willful lifestyle sin that you love, (in Christ we must now “Go and sin no more”) vs. sin that you don’t want to commit but do and hate (in Christ we are assured of forgiveness in 1 John 1:9). He wanted to know how Jesus makes us right when we stand before God.
I shared my Roman Catholic testimony with him; how I did every religious tradition to try to earn God’s favor. This really resonated with him because he was an “altar boy” back in his youth (in the 50’s?) and also tried to get to God through Catholic Church tradition. I told him how God sent me the bible and how He revealed Himself to me in the words of the gospel. I gave Peter a gospel CD, told him to listen to it, and invited him to gracentruth.wordpress.com where he could read the bible, and articles about how God made a way for us to have all our sins forgiven forever through Jesus.