My husband and I have been participating in a course called Christianity Explored at our local church over the last 6 weeks. The course is similar in style to Alpha, where we are building relationships with non-believers, then watching a video and discussing the video, their questions, etc.
It has been such a joy and an honor to participate in this course and to have such a front row seat to see what God is doing in the lives of these people that we are coming to know and love. God is at work in their hearts, drawing them to himself, convicting them through the Holy Spirit.
But what is our role?
To love them and delight in getting to know them. To share the Gospel as openly, as passionately, as accurately and as often as possible. To care for them in practical ways, to pray for them, to be the hands and feet of Christ. To be faithful in what we have been called to do.
And ultimately, to trust in God’s sovereignty, and in His ability to do the full and complete work in their hearts that is needed to bring them to salvation in Christ. It will not be my words, or my husband’s, or anything clever or compelling the video might say that will be responsible for "saving" them.
It is necessary, therefore, to take the thought of human responsibility, as it affects both the preacher and the hearer of the gospel, very seriously indeed. But we must not let it drive the thought of divine sovereignty out of our minds. While we must always remember that it is our responsibility to proclaim salvation, we must never forget that it is God who saves. It is God who brings men and women under the sound of the gospel, and it is God who brings them to faith in Christ.
Our evangelistic work is the instrument that He uses for this purpose, but the power that saves is not in the instrument: it is in the hand of the One who uses the instrument. We must not at any stage forget that.
For if we forget that it is God’s prerogative to give results when the gospel is preached, we shall start to think that it is our responsibility to secure them. And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis, not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize. And this line of thought, consistently followed through, will lead us far astray.
J.I. Packer, Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God (italics and paragraphs mine)
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