What is truth? Truth is defined as the state of being the case: facts, verity, and actuality. Personally, when it comes to information sharing, I like to be told everything. I do not appreciate half or partial truths; I hate surprises. There are people who excuse their half-truth presentation of information as a way of protecting people’s feelings.
Having said that, I have heard people, including Christians, who say hell should not be mentioned when the love of God is communicated. They claim it is enough for people to know God loves them. People should not be intimidated by the mention of hell. The gospel message, however, is not complete without the mention of hell (eternal separation from God), because that is the reason Christ died. He died to save us from hell! Yes, people should know God loves them. They should also know what He is saving them from and the implication of not responding to that love.
A parent might say to a child, “I love you. Don’t touch this hot burner.” As inquisitive as children are, don’t you think the child could ignore that instruction and touch it anyway? I believe so. A better approach is, “The burner is hot; you will get hurt if you touch it. I love you and don’t want you hurt, so don’t touch it”
People faced with decision making need to know the facts on which to base their decisions. They need to know their options in order to make the best possible choices. After they know the facts, they are responsible for their decisions and the outcomes. They have no one to blame but themselves for untoward outcomes. On the other hand, if their decisions are based on partial truths, they could be surprised by the outcome and may even feel that others are to blame for their predicament.
God makes sure He tells us the whole truth, and He expects us to go and do the same. When we focus on protecting people’s feelings by sharing partial truths, we really do them a disservice. The idea of hell is frightening, but that is the reason we need to share it. We tell this truth with compassion.
The gospel presentation should therefore include:
Who God is (Our holy Maker who hates sin), “I am God almighty; walk before me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1 NIV84). (Also see Leviticus 19:2)
Who we are (sinners), “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV84).
The consequences of our sins (death), “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NIV84).
God’s provisions for our sins (the death of His Son Jesus), “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3 NIV84).
The blessings that come with accepting God’s provision (salvation). “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned” (John 3:18 NIV84).
The consequences of ignoring His provision (condemnation and hell), “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18 NIV84).
Most people would prefer to hear the whole truth and believe on Jesus for salvation, rather than have their feelings protected with half-truths. Let’s be diligent and share the gospel, undiluted, with compassion and urgency.