[Every Friday I answer a question that someone has asked me. Check out past question’s here!]
I work for a church where we do our best to walk through the Bible faithfully and let the text determine our topic. We don’t think it’s a ground breaking idea, we just happen to live in a time and place where that is a little more unique than we might like.
Most of the time, I think people dig that part of our church. The problem is that recently we’ve gotten to stuff that most people aren’t loving. We’ve going through the story of Jacob and Esau and are having to deal with super hard texts like Romans 9. That’s prompted a ton of questions including the question of the week, asked by a student of mine:
“If we believe that God chooses us, why do we ask our non-believing friends to choose God?”
I love this question. If the Bible teaches that our salvation is based on God alone, why on earth would we walk around talking to people as if it’s a choice they can make? In fact – why on earth would God talk that way?
About 4 times a week, I stand in front of a room full of women and I beg them to trust their lives into the hands of Jesus. I beg them to give their dreams and their hopes to Him. I write blog posts that plead with us to believe His promises. I do all this, not in spite of the fact that I believe in the sovereignty of God, but because I believe in the sovereignty of God.
God is not just sovereign over the end, He’s sovereign over the means. He’s not only ordained who be saved, He’s ordained how they shall be saved. He says they shall be saved through a new heart that is given to them and a Spirit moving in them to enable them to value rightly the things of God and therefore choose Him. He says that when they hear the gospel, He will give His children faith to believe it through hearing it, (Romans 10:17).
My sister might be reading this so I feel a little awkward saying the next part, but here’s what is true:
I’ll spend every breath till I die pleading with my sister to trust in Jesus. I’ll share with her the story of the gospel and the greatness of God’s love. I’ll pray for her with every ounce of my soul. I don’t think it’s hopeless for me to do all that because God is sovereign. I think it would be hopeless for me to do those things if He wasn’t sovereign.
She would tell you today that there is ZERO chance of her bowing a knee to Jesus. I agree. If I doubted God’s sovereignty I would despair.
But I believe salvation belongs to the Lord. I believe that her opposition to the things of God makes her a prime candidate for a display of His powerful saving grace. And I trust Him more than I trust her and so I’ll keep pleading and praying. Because my God is mighty to save.
I know that He alone can incline her heart to hear His words in my mouth and change her taste buds. And when that day comes – if our Lord is willing – she will suddenly see the gospel as true and valuable. And she will call on the name of the Lord. And she will be saved.
When I share the gospel it’s not with a sense of burden and guilt or duty, but with a sense of delight – knowing that it cannot fail. I know that there are children in this world who are destined to hear the Word of God, whose hearts are destined to be made new, and who are therefore destined to call on His name. I share the gospel because I want to be a part of that.
Confession time: I picked this question because I have ulterior motives. I’m getting ready to post a blog with a similar theme and I have a question for you to ponder before I post:
Does the promise of our salvation through Jesus Christ make the warnings and ‘conditions’ laid out in Scripture irrelevant for Christians?
Let me know what you think! And don’t forget to email or post any questions you have!!