Does a person have to be told he is a sinner in order to be saved?

Is preaching about human sinfulness necessary in the gospel message?

The Spirits work convicts of sin (John 16:8). The disciples preached that men should repent (Mark 6:12) while the Lord was on earth. Before His ascension, He sent them to preach repentance and remission of sins (Luke 24:47). Paul preached "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). To the Jews in Jerusalem, Peter highlighted their crucifying the Messiah (Acts 2:36). To the Jews in Asia, Paul emphasized their historic disobedience to God (13:17-29) and to the Gentile philosophers their sin of idolatry (17:22-30). The Lord faced the Samaritan woman with her perceived need and with her sins (John 4:13-16), as He also did with the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-22). The Lord focused on Nicodemus sin, his spiritual ruin (John 3:3). The Spirit does not reveal truth about Christ while a soul resists the truths of guiltiness (because of sins) or ruin (because of sin).

Popular evangelical preachers are increasing their insistence that the gospel should make seekers comfortable and address only the hearers perceived need. In general, societys thinking justifies sin and obscures the divine line between right and wrong. These conditions demand a greater, rather than decreased, emphasis on mans sinfulness. Unbelievers, even while struggling to be saved, have not yet repented or submitted to God. Clearly presenting the sacrifice of Christ and the simplicity of salvation will not deliver an unrepentant sinner. The preaching of the gospel balances these valuable truths regarding Gods remedy with the convicting presentation of mans ruin.

D. Oliver