Salvation is a transformational experience that every Christian goes through when they commit their lives to Christ. Some of us experience a tremendous manifestation of God’s power, His voice, His protection, etc. While some of us didn’t experience a big supernatural manifestation, or have a wild story, we all remember when everything changed. We all have a testimony of what God has done, and we rightly go and share it with whoever will listen.
This personal story of what you went though, and what brought you to Christ is something that no one can say didn’t happen to you. There’s no unbeliever alive who can take away what God has done for you, so you don’t try and argue with people who don’t believe you, or try to debate you on it.
This unwavering commitment to Christ and the reality of our experience is something that can’t be taken away, but I’d like to offer some perspective on how our testimony relates to the Gospel. I think that many of us see our personal testimony as a better way of telling people about Jesus, whether or not we realize it.
We’re so used to people who argue about Christianity, that we feel our personal experience is more effective than telling people the Gospel itself. It’s harder to talk to people about sin, how we are all sinners, that Jesus came and died for us, and that we need to repent than it is to only tell people what we’ve been through and what “works for us.” The idea is that since no one can tell you that you’ve had this experience, it’s better to just tell them what you used to do and what you do now with Christ.
The reason why some of us feel this way is because the Bible is a book that was written before our time, therefore it’s hard for people to grasp why we believe what it says. We are in the present, and so we see our personal testimony as the best way to talk about Jesus, and don’t think that the testimony of Christ’s work in the past would be as relevant to them.
Even though it seems like many people won’t trust in God if we tell them the gospel, Romans 1:16 testifies of the gospel as being the power of God unto salvation.
When we tell people this message, God confirms the truth of this message by showing up in the present with power and conviction for change. Our personal testimony of how God changed our lives should never replace the gospel, but it should always be an example of it.
It is the gospel that not only reveals the love God has by doing what He did, but it also exposes the weakness of every other way that isn’t His. Sometimes we don’t realize the influence that beliefs and worldviews have on people. So they may hear your testimony, and end up saying, “Wow that’s great! Glad that you changed your life, but I’m ok with what I’m doing, it’s changed me too.” They’ll attribute their own change to whatever beliefs they have. It’s not that your testimony isn’t true, but because people see it as what worked for you, they don’t see their need for it. The gospel shows us our need for Christ.
The gospel also exposes our trust and dependence on the work of the Spirit in someone’s heart so that they do see Jesus as He truly is. The same gospel that transformed your life, is the same one that’ll transform those around you. Your lifestyle is the result of the gospel that you tell people about, because it is by His Spirit that you’re able to apply the gospel to your life.
We experience change in our lives daily that points to the gospel and it is our testimony that makes people aware of the good news God wants us to proclaim. It’s a great thing to say how much you’ve changed from your old lifestyle, it’s another thing to present to people the foundation of truth that it stands on.
Point to the gospel as the ultimate testimony, because that points to Jesus, the One who transformed you Himself. Let God show His power through the gospel message by telling people this message. A popular quote says, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words”, but I think the quote should be, “Preach the gospel with words, and live what you preach.” In order to preach something, you have to use words, and you show the impact of what you say by how you live.