Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A good reminder

If, on the other hand, you meet a person who is not thus prepared, a person who as yet has no conviction of truth of the gospel and perhaps no idea, or even a false idea, of what the gospel actually is, it is worse than useless to try and stampede him into a snap 'decision'. You may be able to bully him into a psychological crisis of some sort, but that will not be saving faith, and will do him no good. What you have to do is to take time with him, to make friends with him, to get alongside him, to find out where he is in terms of spiritual understanding, and to start dealing with him at that point. You have to explain the gospel to him, and be sure that he understands it and is convinced of its truth, before you start pressing him to an active response. You have to be ready to help him, if need be, through a spell of seeking to repent and believe before he knows within himself that he has received Christ, and Christ has received him. At each stage you have to be willing to go along with him at God's speed. But that is God's business, not yours. Your business is simply to keep pace with what God is doing in his life. Your willingness to be patient with him in this way is the proof of your love to him no less than of your faith in God. If you are not willing thus to be patient, you need not expect that God will favour you by enabling you to win souls.

J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

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