Paul once told the Ephesians,
I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:26-27 — ESV)
What did he mean by “the whole counsel of God?” I think we catch a glimpse of it here. Paul was brought before the Roman governor Felix to face his accusers.
After the initial hearing was held, Felix called in Paul more than once to chat, and Paul took the opportunity to talk about his faith in Christ. But Paul didn’t stop at talking about God’s love, the cross, and the salvation that comes by faith. Rather,
Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. (25a)
In short, Paul told Felix, “You know that your life is not right before God. You know that you have sinned, and unless you turn from your sin, you will be judged someday.”
Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” (25b)
The gospel is not all God’s love and good, warm, fuzzy feelings. The gospel also is, “There is a serious problem. You have sinned and are facing condemnation. So turn to Christ. Put your faith in him and his work on the cross for you while you can.”
And if we fail to tell people this, we are not giving people the whole counsel of God, and we will be responsible for their blood if they go to hell.
I’m not saying we should literally “scare the hell out of them.” The Gospel is “good news.” And the good news is that we don’t have to go to hell. That God loves us so much that he made a way, not only to escape hell, but to live a life that’s full and complete. To have a life filled with his joy and peace. And that’s where our main focus should be.
But we do need to warn people, “If you refuse Jesus, you are facing judgment.”
Some people, like Felix, may become fearful as a result. They may chase us away until a more “convenient time.” But how they respond is not our responsibility. All we can do is share the message God has given us.
How about you? Are you giving the people the full counsel of God?