As I was reading my Bible today, I came across 1 Cor 3:10, which says that men must be careful how they build on Christ's foundation. 1 Cor 3:13 and 1 Cor 3:15 tell us how the quality of our works will be tested by fire, and if it doesn't measure up, we will suffer loss, even though we are still saved.
So, the thought occurred to me that maybe this could be speaking of evangelism. How many times do we hear, "God can use any method to accomplish His purpose of saving someone."? True enough, but that does not excuse us from the responsibility to follow the example given in Scripture. Even Pharaoh and Judas were used for God’s purpose, yet it did not justify their actions.
What if things like "God has a wonderful plan for your life" and the "love and grace only" Gospel, having no biblical foundation, will be burned up when tested? Even though people may have been saved by these methods, they are leaving out half the Gospel, and so they are not completely biblical. We have started using man’s ways instead of God’s way (Is 55:9) to proclaim the way of salvation.
Those works, although well intentioned, may well be burned up when tested by fire because they are not the methods given in the Bible: Law to the proud, grace to the humble (1 Pet 5:5, James 4:6). The Law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal 3:24). The Law is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7), why should we look for other ways? Paul said he would not even know what sin was, apart from the Law (Rom 7:7). God is the Judge, and He is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). Shouldn’t we warn people? Of course we should, God doesn’t want anyone to perish (Eze 18:32), yet many will (James 1:14-15). And He has commanded us to warn them, as a watchman on the wall. We cannot actually convert anyone, only God does that. Yet He will hold us responsible for warning them (Eze 33:8-9).
Granted, your salvation is not at stake for using unbiblical methods to reach out to others. Evangelizing by any method is actually more than a lot of people do. Yet do you really want to forfeit any part of the reward that God has for you? Wouldn't you rather be like Paul, able to say, I have finished the race (2 Tim 4:7), stayed strong, preached the full Gospel (Acts 20:26-27)?
If we call Him Lord, wouldn't we want to do things His way, rather than trying to make up our own? Wouldn't we rather hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:21), instead of, "Congratulations, you just barely made it in by the skin of your teeth, your clothes have scorch marks on them!"?
Soli Deo Gloria