The final sections of the booklet, Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face, cover the topics of what Jesus did (dying in the place of sinners), the resurrection of Christ, and the responsibility of the reader of the booklet now that he/she has learned the gospel.

The authors covered the important aspects of these topics, including the sinlessness of Christ, his voluntary sacrifice for sinners and taking “the full force of God’s justice on himself,” his resurrection, his appointment as judge of the world, and his offer of new life.

Section Six wraps up the gospel presentation by explaining what the “two ways to live” are. According to the authors, we can choose to live our own way, which results in condemnation by God, death, and judgment, or we can choose to live God’s way by submitting to Jesus as our ruler and relying on Christ, which result in divine forgiveness and eternal life. The authors are to be commended, in my opinion, for telling the truth about man’s responsibility:

The end result is that God gives us what we ask for and deserve. He condemns us for our rejection of his rightful rule over our lives.

There is no defense of man here: The authors clearly communicate that if people are condemned, it is their own fault.

The only problem with this section is the way it downplays the harsh consequences of rebelling against God. The authors go on to say,

We not only have to put up with the messy consequences of rejecting God here and now, but we face the dreadful prospect of an eternity of separation from him, without life or love or relationship.

At times the language of this booklet seems so gentle and nonconfrontational that it is hard to believe it was written for adults. Phrases like “messy consequences” and “without life or love or relationship” seem deliberately soft and positive, falling far short of the truth. The temporal consequences of rejecting God that people suffer in this life are much worse than “messy,” and the eternal punishment that awaits those who die without Christ is far more dire and frightening than merely being “without life or love or relationship.” Hell involves not only a separation from God but also conscious, ongoing torment. Those who are condemned to hell don’t merely sit in some cold, dank prison cell for eternity; they suffer anguish and torment. Why didn’t the authors mention the harsher realities of rejecting God—eternal torment, the lake of fire, everlasting destruction, the undying worm and the unquenchable fire, and so on? The author of the epistle to the Hebrews sternly warned his audience, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:31) and “our God is a consuming fire” (12:29). The authors of this booklet, however, seem unwilling to provide such sober warnings.

The booklet concludes with a list of three steps the reader must take if he or she wants to live God’s way. They are: 1) Talk to God; 2) Submit to Jesus; and 3) Keep trusting.

I have mixed feelings about this list of steps to take. The first step, “Talk to God,” encourages the reader to pray a sinner’s prayer. The use of sinner’s prayers has been the bane of evangelism for many years now, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will be going away any time soon. Fortunately, the one presented in this booklet is not accompanied by the usual assurance that goes something like, “If you prayed that prayer sincerely, you are now a child of God and have eternal life.” The reader is simply encouraged to pray to God.

The second and third steps, “Submit to Jesus” and “Keep trusting,” explain how the reader must live the Christian life. The second step essentially tells the reader to repent without using the word repent. The reader is admonished to submit to Christ and to “get rid of old rebellious habits … and start some new ones that please God.” What is refreshing about this section is that the authors try to get the reader thinking about their lifelong commitment to Christ. They don’t use that exact phrase, but they do emphasize that this second step “will go on for the rest of your life.” This is definitely a strength of this booklet and should not be underestimated, especially in a day and age when gospel presentations so often lack the admonition to “count the cost” of following Jesus. This same idea is continued in the authors’ explanation of the third step, “Keep trusting,” in which they tell the reader, “You need to keep putting your trust in the right place” and “You’ll need to keep coming back to [Jesus] again and again.”

Continued in Part Five…

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

The author of this blog, Jeremy (Jehanne), is a Catholic who strives to think God's thoughts after Him and obey Christ's exhortation to take up the cross daily and follow Him on the way to Golgotha. He likes reading theology, evangelizing, and, of course, writing.