This post has been a long time in the making, because there honestly is so much to say when it comes to our salvation. I have been reading and rereading and studying and searching and sorting through the thoughts that swirl in my mind. It’s times like these that make me fully aware that I am a sixteen year old girl writing about “deep theological things.” And to think that I jumped head first into a series on salvation, thinking nothing of how difficult it might be… of course it would not be easy! What a weighty subject! So bear with me, friends, as I write this out.
To recap, in Salvation – Part 1, I talked about two kinds of fake Christians:
“…there are those who push everyone away with their anger, bitterness, and supposed righteousness; then there are those who shy away from controversy to the point of being no different from the world, so that even if they say they are a Christian, what is the proof? And if there is no difference, then what is the point?”
Both of these positions are rooted in a misunderstanding of the Gospel. Which brings me, as I begin this post, to the true Christian. The one seeking to share their faith and bring others to Christ.
Many times, especially as new Christians, we are so overly anxious to see a person saved that we take short-cuts and make it all too simple. Perhaps we are motivated by our own egos, seeking to claim the glory of another soul saved. Or perhaps we are simply letting important things fall through the cracks in our zealous work to bring others to the Savior that we love so much. Either way, we must step back and evaluate our actions.
If we are to bring others to Christ, we must counsel the lost soul carefully, understanding completely the importance of what we are doing and striving to lead no one astray. Because salvation is important.
Jesus tells us that the salvation of just one sinner is celebrated with joy by the angels in Heaven (Luke 15:10). And to quote Archibald Alexander:
“There is no more important event which occurs in our world than the new birth of an immortal soul. Heirs to titles and estates, to kingdoms and empires, are frequently born—and such events are blazoned with imposing pomp, and celebrated by poets and orators. But what are all these honors and possessions but the gewgaws of children—when compared with the inheritance and glory to which every child of God is born an heir!”
But in the end, the greatest demonstration of how important salvation is stands souly in salvation itself. The love shown by God in bringing sinners to Himself and the sacrifice made in order to accomplish this is proof of just how much God desires for the unregenerate soul to be given new life in Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” -John 3:16-17
So if salvation is such an important thing, we ought to take it seriously. We ought to do all that we can to bring sinners to Christ. We ought to do our best to share it as truthfully as we know how – presenting the full Gospel, leaving nothing out. We must understand that the Gospel is vitally true and able to bring life to the dead soul.
Perhaps you are thinking at this point, “If this is all so dire and vitally true, maybe I’m not the one to be sharing these things anyway! It’s not like I’m perfect! What if I mess up?” But those thoughts have scared too many Christians away from sharing their faith and I want you to understand that I am not saying that. I’m not even saying that no one has ever been truly saved through faulty evangelism. I’m also not expecting that we will never make mistakes in our evangelism, even if we try our hardest. We are human, after all. But the amazing thing about the God that we serve is that He can take our mistakes and use them for good. Because God is full of grace, mighty and powerful, and able to use the most inadequate people to fulfill His purpose. Even through our failures, God is still able to bring the sinner to Himself.
But this does not excuse us from striving to do our best to present the Gospel correctly and does not give us the right to be lazy in our evangelism.
Counseling Carefully –
In all the years I have been a part of Children’s ministry, I have not yet led a child to Christ. I believe that children can have a relationship with Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that God has used my efforts to draw these children closer to Him. But as I counsel each of the children that come forward after the invitation is given, I am cautious about leading them in a prayer of salvation.
Why? Because the decision to follow Christ is more than just a date on a paper. It is a life-time commitment to a God who deserves all that you have and if you push a child (or anyone) into that commitment without helping them to truly understand its importance, you are doing more harm than good.
And this is not to say that a child must understand every facet of the Christian faith in order to be truly saved. Certainly not! For not even the most seasoned Christian can claim to understand all things regarding our relationship to God. But look to see the Holy Spirit working in the heart. Look for true remorse at the knowledge of their sin. Look for true wonder at the love of God in sending His Son and a heartfelt desire and passion to be closer to God and to love Him as He has loved us.
This is the natural response to the Gospel. When we truly understand these things, we cry from our very hearts with a desire to be made right with our Creator. And this may not happen all at once; the process of salvation is often a gradual work. Even as a soul is saved, that soul has been the object of God’s work and guidance since the beginning. For no lost soul is found by accident, but rather by the grace and guidance of God throughout their entire life.
So counsel carefully. Understand what you are saying and how important it is. And pray. Because in the end, it is only by God’s grace that we understand and only through His strength is our weakness made effective. Don’t settle for lazy evangelism – strive to do the best you can and leave the rest in the able hands of God.