Apologeet.nlEight Reasons Why People Won’t Accept The Gospel
Reason 4 – ‘They are strangers to their utter inability to help themselves’
The fourth reason of why people won’t accept the Gospel:
They are strangers to their utter inability to help themselves
are like Samson, in another case, who knew not that his strength was
departed from him.
We may see how corrupt nature changes itself into various shapes on this point. If you urge men to ply the work of their salvation. Alas! say they, we can do nothing; they thus make it a covert for their sloth.
Urge them with the necessity of reformation and repentance, they say, It is time enough, they will attend to this afterwards; as if it were in the power of their hand to do this business at any time: They thus make it a covert for their delays, and still have no relish for the gospel.
Wow! Boston was not really political correct, was he? He takes ‘utter inability’ and a ‘corrupt nature’ as almost interchangeable facts. These truths are not only offensive, but inexplicable to the unbeliever.
Still, I think Boston’s analysis is very accurate, how offensive that may be. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. But that is absolutely not in our nature. We want to do it ourselves. Just go on the internet and do a quick search with the letter DIY (Do It Yourself). We love those tutorials right? And honestly, I have used them very often. However, there is no DIY salvation. People may try to make you believe there is but that just proves Boston’s point: They are like Samson who did not knew that his power left him. In other words: Powerless!
I already mentioned the unwritten handbook of an evangelist in part 2 of this series. I like use it again. This time I want to look at the way we wrap up our evangelistic events. After we’ve made sure that people understand the basics we try to move the plot along. We like to tell the people how they should pray, and we teach them the sinners prayer. It is okay in itself to give people an example but the danger is that many will say to themselves that they now understand all the steps they need to take to be saved. They might go home and think that they can pray the prayer when it suits them best. Next time an evangelist asks them about their faith they will smile and tell that they know exactly what to do. They think it is just that last little step, into the kingdom. Just one prayer, but that ‘final step’ is a giant leap. It is not possible for an unbeliever to take this step flippantly. It demands total repentance, a humble heart, and submission to the Lord. In other words, this last step demands that the unbeliever turns away from his or her own works and starts to obey God in everything. Yes, the unbeliever needs to repent, but no, the unbeliever cannot be saved when it suits him or her best. Would this be the case the unbeliever could say that he or she told God what to do.
Ephesians 2:8-9 explains this wonderfully well:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When I visit the villages in our area, I see this attitude pretty often. After hearing the Bible stories, most listeners understand the basics of the Gospel. I then give them an example of how to pray. However, I do not end the visits there. At that point I am only halfway. The next 15 stories are about how a Christian should live. It is about giving your life to Jesus in everything. Sure, there are beautiful thing to share but I also tell the people that one cannot follow Jesus in their own strength. They need to give up their ideas of being capable themselves.
Mostly people love the first 24 stories as they all narrate about what happened to humanity and how God came to earth in His Son. They love to hear these stories because now they understand, somewhat, how they can be saved. But when I start with the other stories I see less listeners every week. It is rare to see listeners who have been attending the meetings from the beginning till the end.
When I see one of them who attended the first series they almost always explain that by now they understand the Gospel and that they know what to do. One even said that he fully understood the Gospel, but that he wanted to wait till the time was right for him to be saved. He is like a man trapped in a burning house. He senses no dire need, because he is just one doorway from his garden and from safety. But he does not realise that the door is locked and he has no key.
So, how about you? Are you still thinking you are able to be saved? Like buying something on the internet you think it demands only one click? Than realise that it was the Holy Spirit calling you to repent, not you own brainwaves. Not answering to call of the Holy Spirit is like staying in that burning house and not realising that you do not have the key of that outer door. The key of true and sincere repentance. True repentance can only be given by God Himself so that no one may boast.