But Didn’t Paul Address Everybody as if They were All Christians?
Romans 3:18-19–“There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth will be held accountable to God.”
To those who are still ignorant of the gospel, the apostle Paul was not writing about gratitude and freedom. Yes, we tell everybody that those for whom Christ died are thankful and free and pleasing to God. But Paul (see Romans 3:19) also tells everybody : if you don’t know the gospel and believe it, then you should be shut up to nothing but legal fear, because you are still “under the law”.
If Christ did not die for you, you should be afraid. Being afraid won’t save you. But legal fear is the reasonable response to not knowing the gospel. Because not knowing the gospel means knowing that you are not yet justified and still under the law.
I do not want to preach terror to Christians. But I never assume that everybody is a Christian. A guy can whisper as soft as anything that he was identified with Christ. I say some were, some weren’t, and that already. How do you know? Is it because you were baptised with water by a Reformed church? No, you needed to know if you are one of the ones for whom Christ died before you could rightly be baptized with water.
Don’t say: there you go again on water baptism. Forget the water for now. Do we address the people in church as if we are all elect, who have been believing the gospel all along? Paul did not.
We say: some of you may need to be reconciled. Nobody is born reconciled.
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