On occasion, I’ve had people share their frustration in witnessing in terms like, “I just can’t get so and so to see the light!” As you’ve shared the gospel with people, you’ve more than likely had the experience of an individual not understand, be confused by, or categorically reject the message.
My advice is, “Stop trying to get them to see the light. You can’t! Only God can!”
In past blog posts, I’ve shared the biblical witnessing principle that “some sow, some water, but God gives the increase” from the Parable of the Sower. In fact, only God gives the increase. How a person responds to our message and what happens in a human heart is between God and him. Our calling as witnesses for Jesus Christ is simply to share the message.
Our message is comprised of three key concepts: Sin, Salvation, and Savior. All humans are natural born sinners, we all need salvation from our sins by putting our faith in Jesus, the Savior who came to pay our sin debt via the cross. Simple – yes. Profound – yes. But easily understandable – no! Why not?
The gospel is based on spiritual wisdom, not human wisdom> 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 states: “These things [divine wisdom] we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” For a deeper study examine 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16.
God Himself needs to reveal the truth of the gospel to people supernaturally> “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6: 44). See also John 6:65. It is the work of God, not ours, that opens the eyes of the blind.
At this point it would be appropriate to acknowledge the tension between free will and God’s sovereignty. Now it’s clear that Scripture teaches that men and women are free will moral agents.
“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
And it is also clear that God is sovereign in salvation, meaning it is He who saves people according to His will. And how is that when we reject HIS offer of salvation, we are responsible and when He saves us it is His sovereign grace? How do you reconcile this paradox? Well, God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “My ways are higher that your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” We can’t reconcile this paradox. We simply need to acknowledge that our Father in Heaven knows best. And as His children we’re called to take God at His word and walk by faith. As my pastor says, “One of the first things we’ll say when we get to heaven is, ‘Of course!’”
Regardless of what you believe about this aspect of salvation, it’s immaterial in the pursuit of the Great Commission. For God commands us go out and make disciples of all nations and His invitation for reconciliation universal, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We are called to sow gospel seed, to be His witnesses, to live as salt and light in a lost and dying world. Yet, God is the Author of Salvation.
We can’t save anyone from their sins. People don’t save themselves from their sins. God’s gift of salvation is received by faith and faith alone, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So don’t try to get them to see the light. As you witness, ask the Lord to open up spiritual eyes so they may see the truth.
Testify of His Grace, share the gospel message with people in word and deed, and trust God to do what only He can – save an individual who trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life!