We must understand that sin is what separates man from God. Initially, in the biblical picture, it was Adam and Eve’s disobedience that constituted the first sin. Their disobedience caused the whole human race to become separated from God. So, in the first instance, men and women are sinners, not because of anything they do or don’t do, but because of Adam and Eve’s transgression. We inherit our sinful status from our original forebears. We are therefore sinners by inheritance.
Romans 3:23 puts it as simply and plainly as possible: “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory [standard] of God.” (For additional information on this subject, please see the article on “Salvation” in this issue of ACTS.)
This teaches the universality of sin. All people, everywhere are sinners. It teaches the nature of sin; i.e., to fall short of the glory (standard) of God.
When we endeavor to show someone that they are a sinner. In the sight of Almighty God, we are not singling them out for criticism, or suggesting that we think that their personal behavior or standards are worse than the average person. We are simply stating that they, together with all of mankind, come short of God’s required standards.
Next, they must be told that there is a final and ultimate accountability to God for our lives. As part of this accountability, there is a penalty for sin.
2. The Penalty Of Sin
Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.” Not just physical death, when the human spirit leaves the physical body; but spiritual death, which means continuing and everlasting separation from God. This is the penalty about which God warned Adam and Eve. He told them that if they disobeyed Him, “in the day that you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17).
Through their transgression, physical death began to work in them. They became mortal (death doomed) beings. Physical death and its symptoms began immediately to work in their lives, the consequence of which was that one day they would die (see Genesis 3:17-19).
But the greater tragedy is that dying in sin means that one will be separated from God eternally; that is what the Bible calls hell. This is an absolute judgment without exception or excuse; and it is eternal, not temporary.
By this time, the person we are talking to may be ready for the Good News of salvation through Christ.
The latter part of Romans 6:23 introduces a positive aspect when it states: “But the Gift of God is eternal Life in [through] Jesus Christ our Lord.” We emphasize that salvation is not through works, self -effort, good living or kind deeds; it is through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We must show the people their absolute need of a Savior. If one is not aware of one’s need, then there is no motivation to look for a Savior.
We must further show them that Jesus Christ is the Savior. “For unto you is born a Savior, that is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
He is the Only Savior. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
He is a Complete Savior. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Heb 7:25).