The gospel is a proclamation, not a sales pitch.
Jesus called people to repent and believe. And he commissioned us to do the same. Some will, and sadly, some will not.
I have been reflecting on this for a couple of days (honestly, for years) but recently two different authors have fueled my thought, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and C.S. Lewis. A few days ago I wrote about Bonhoeffer in a post here. But yesterday I was reading in C.S. Lewis: Lightbearer in the Shadowlands, (Edited by Angus J.L. Menuge, Crossway Books, 1997) and ran across an interesting footnote.
The footnote is actually a quote from a collection of Lewis letters, this particular letter, to a Mrs. Sonia Graham. Mrs. Graham apparently struggled with feeling her life was hopeless or more specifically, that perhaps God had no use for her. He concluded with a note to Mrs. Graham about her searching after God:
“P.S. Of course God does not consider you hopeless. If He did He would not be moving you to seek Him (and He obviously is). What is going on in you at present is simply the beginning of the treatment. Continue seeking Him with seriousness. Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.” (Letters, 411-12)
Lewis’ P.S to Mrs. Graham reminds me of a quote from Spurgeon who wryly suggested that everyone who prays for the salvation of another person is a closet Calvinist.
Conversions are miracles.
This doesn’t mean we don’t work to persuade men. It doesn’t mean that we don’t give evidence for faith. It doesn’t mean that we don’t point to the empty tomb and challenge others to come up with a more persuasive reason than the resurrection or call them to repent when they can’t.
But neither does it mean that we seek “selling points” of the gospel to buy our way into the hearts of those far from Christ. A salesman hawks products. He has no authority, just a product he wants you to buy. But a herald is different. He or she is an ambassador. They, you, have authority. You declare the commands and compassions of the Sovereign of the Universe.
- “The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand …” (Rev. 2:1)
- “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life …” (Rev. 2:8)
- “The one who has the sharp two-edged sword …” (Rev. 2:12)
- “The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire …” (Rev. 2:18)
- “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars …” (Rev. 3:1)
- “He who is holy,
who is true,
who has the key of David,
who opens and no one will shut, and
who shuts and no one opens …” (Rev. 3:7)
- “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness …” (Rev. 3:14)
Does that sound like a God who needs a sales force?
We are ambassadors, heralds of a new world order. We are sent into the world to proclaim the news that the King is coming with salvation and judgment in his wings. Don’t throw your authority away. Proclaim the gospel with confidence.