‘“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:42, 43 [ESV]).”’
The gospel of Jesus Christ has never been comfortable for those who hear it. Even for the converted, on hearing and understanding (Matthew 13:23) the gospel for the first time, it is a disturbing experience; but why?
Because the revelation of Jesus Christ in all His glory and holiness is an awesome, life-transforming experience. On account of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the newborn in the Spirit know they are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1). They have been given complete forgiveness, because their sins have been washed away by the atoning blood of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 12:11).
On hearing and understanding the gospel (Matthew 13:23), the Holy Spirit revealed to them their *total depravity, i.e., their evil nature. They acknowledged their loathsome and despicable state before God. They realised they were obnoxious to Him, and their actions and idolatrous lusts made them deserving of death (Romans 1:32). They were a stench before His nostrils, and yet, in His great mercy and forgiveness (cf. Exodus 34:6) He looked upon them with compassion, and He removed His just wrath from them (cf. Isaiah 54:8-17).
Furthermore He demonstrated His great love (Romans 5:8) by giving them His Son (John 3:16) as a sacrifice to appease His anger. In effect, the second Person of the Trinity, by dying on the cross, suffered the punishment due them. God the Father also suffered, as He observed the unimaginable suffering of His Son. In this suffering and alienation, Jesus placated His Father’s wrath and removed it from the repentant sinner.
Paul explained to the Roman church that God set forth His Son ‘to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness …. that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).’
When faced with the truth that every person will be judged (Hebrews 9:27), the unregenerate, on account of their carnal nature, naturally resent being told they are guilty. But at the end of time they will find themselves standing before the Supreme Judge, who will be seated on His white throne (Revelation 20:11-15). They will claim they are innocent, and they will have the audacity to come up with plaintive pleas. This will not wash with the Judge, and they will be found guilty. He will sentence them to be incarcerated into hell where they will experience everlasting torment (cf. Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50).
But where there is condemnation there is also mercy (Exodus 34:7).
If beforehand, during his first life, a person confesses his guilt before Almighty God, and he humbles himself, and he repents and believes; God will forgive him (Acts 2:21). He will be accounted righteous (Romans 4:5), and at the resurrection he will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11), where he will be found not guilty. Furthermore, he will be given an inheritance which Christ has laid up beforehand for him in heaven (John 14:2; 1 Peter 1:4).
In view of the above, why is it that preachers are reluctant to present the whole truth regarding God’s justifiable punishment of sinners who do not repent? Why do they shy away from preaching the whole truth? By excluding words such as: accursed (1 Corinthians 16:22), wrath (Romans 1:18), gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12), fire, brimstone (Psalms 11:6) and torment (Revelation 14:11), they do not present the full gospel. Neither are they merciful; for by not preaching the whole gospel they preclude the hearers from fully understanding and receiving the blessings of God’s mercy.
To present a sugar-coated, diluted gospel is itself an anathema. Paul warned against such preaching – that includes the preaching of an incomplete gospel. With conviction and passion he wrote, “Let them [false preachers] be accursed (Galatians 1:8)!”
Finally: ‘But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul (Ezekiel 3:19).’