I have been doing evangelism in some form since 2004. By God’s grace, he has placed seasoned evangelists around me in various ways. They have been kind to show me a fruitful and faithful way of sharing the Gospel. I have been asked to address two theological points:  the law of God and the imputation. How can the open preacher use the Law effectively? And, what are the implications of the imputation being explained during our Open Air Preaching?

When an open air preacher sets out to preach the Gospel, whether in his local city or in some other country, there is one thing that he knows: men are sinful and heading to a Christ- less eternity in hell. The task of the preacher is to expose man to his plight while he hearing his trumpeting voice.  This is the weight of our task: to show man his sin and at the same time the beauty of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

The law of God is the worn tool of choice in the seasoned evangelist’s tool belt. It is designed by God to show us that He is good and that we fail to reach the standard of goodness. We find the most potent form of the Law found in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are like ten individual tools to expose the sin sick heart of man. As a doctor uses blood work and x-rays to show the cancer patient the looming danger in their body, so the Law of God shows man the condition of his dark, sin-filled heart. Once man sees his condition, he is ready to see the good news of the imputation.  

Imputation is “A broad concept finding its theological center in the atonement. The Latin word imputare literally means “to reckon”, “to charge to ones’ account,” and is an adequate rendering of the Greek term logizomai”.1

The imputation of Christ has to be explained with the same glorious emphasis that the Law thunders from our lips. The Law breaks the ground of the hardened heart ; the imputation is the alien righteousness that comes from the perfect Lamb of God. Just like a candle lights the path of a weary night traveler, the truth of imputation gives the light of knowledge that we need to respond rightly to God’s grace. The implication of the imputation is that Jesus charges to our account, His righteous  in exchange for our unrighteousness. 2 Peter 3:18

The imputation has a dual effect as the open air preacher shares this doctrinal truth. First, it reminds the believer of how much they have been forgiven and that Jesus obeyed the Law completely for the Glory of the Father and for the benefit of sinful man. This gives the believer great gratitude to the God that gives life and salvation.

Secondly, it allows the unbeliever to humbly fall at the feet of his creator and receive the gift of eternal life through repenting and placing his faith in the One that was righteous:  Jesus!  Acknowledging that you can bring nothing to the table concerning your salvation is the heart of imputation. God extends His scepter of grace; lost and sinful man receives with gratitude the gift of salvation through faith in what God did.  

The heralding of the Law and the explanation of the imputation benefits both believer and unbeliever alike. If you are going to share your faith in one-on-one conversations or by open air proclamation, use the time tested Law to show man his sin and then the truth of the imputation will make sense.


[1] Pg600 Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Edited by: Walter A. Elwell, Author of the article of footnote is: R.K. Johnston