After a VBS session last night, a young man in high school approached Marilyn and I, asking if we would be willing to talk to him. This was shortly after a presentation of the gospel message. We spent about an hour with him, and without disclosing any of the private conversation that occurred, we came to the conclusion that he did believe in what Jesus did on the cross.
However, he admitted that he was not following the Lord in practice and had fallen into the wrong crowd. We could see there was remorse, and he was truly seeking an answer to why he had gone in this direction, and what he should do. We were able to share a lot of God’s word with him. At the end of the meeting, he was still reluctant to make a commitment to Christ without more contemplation.
Of course, our desires would have been to see this young man fall on his knees and give his life to the Lord right then and there. The natural question comes to mind, “Did we do enough to ‘convince’ him of the truth of the Gospel?” The comforting answer to that question is that it is not in our power to save anyone. That is the job of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit …
“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4)
I like how Eugene Petersen paraphrases these verses in his Message: “and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.”
We cannot save anyone. Our job is to share the Word of God and the gospel message. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Again, from the Message: “The point is, Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” That’s our job … to preach. Thank you Lord for giving us the ability and the opportunities to do just that!