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Donald

The faith to be saved

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Over the years, I have ran into a situation(like the one that I am about to relay), a few times and I am challenged each time, with the temptation to ignore what I know Scripture says and do what “seems best” to me; But praise the Lord, so far I have always done the right thing.


First example: About a year ago, I was approached by a college student(at the local state college that I regularly visit to minister), and as usual, he wanted to know why I am always sitting at that table reading my Bible(haven’t I finished it yet?). After explaining that you can never really finish the Bible(because it’s God’s Word), I continued with my standard operating procedure in cases like this... I ask if the person is born again(or saved if they don’t know what that means), and this kid said that he wasn’t.

So I started off sharing the Gospel with him: And as usual I followed that up with my personal testimony of how I got saved and what happened to me following my salvation.  But on this occasion, the young man I was talking to(Nick), didn’t respond as expected(by either accepting or rejecting the Gospel), but by simply not responding.  After telling him that “saying anything but yes to Jesus is saying NO”, he responded that the “conviction” that I described, that was necessary for salvation, just wasn’t their.

I further explained that this feeling of conviction, is actually a result of “believing the message of the Gospel”(being convinced), and having a “fear of going to hell”!  That is, when you truly believe the message of the Gospel, than you will believe that there is a “real hell” that you are going to spend eternity in, if you reject Christ.  He continued to explain that he did feel convicted.  He said, “he want to believe”, but the conviction just wasn’t their.  

At this point I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 ....
V.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
[it is] the gift of God:    V.9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

And explained that for salvation to truly be by “unmerited favor”, than it was necessary for God to “place this faith into your heart”!  You can’t “work up” the faith to be saved.  Nor was salvation possible by simply having all the right information(knowledge alone, can’t save anybody).  God has to give you, the faith to believe.

Well our conversation ended, with me giving him a pocket size New Testament and encouraging him to keep seeking for salvation in Jesus.
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Oh, by the way; I know of several IFB’s that would have simply gotten him to recite a prayer; Then stamped him saved.  (And he was open and I could have done that!)
  But I didn’t!

 

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Praise God you didn't give in to any temptation to make it "easy" for him to "get saved". You are very correct that a number of IFBs (as well as most other Christians) would have jumped at the opportunity to tell him, "Just say this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart and you will go to heaven."

It's difficult to deal with those who believe the Gospel message but they are not willing to accept the one and only means of salvation. I've talked with those who believe what the Bible says, believe heaven and hell are real, believe Jesus loves them, died for them, salvation is only through Jesus, but are unwilling to commit.

I'm concerned for those I don't get to speak with again. For those I have had the opportunity to speak with a few times I start pointing out to them the longer they reject Christ, the harder their hearts will become and the less chance they will accept Christ before it's too late. In some you can see the fear and concern in their eyes but they walk away still lost.

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Well done Donald - but I don't agree about the knowledge thing. Yes, a head knowledge is needed to change the heart, otherwise what is the sense in explaining the Gospel?

Not easy believism at all, but just like the scriptures say - 

To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins...

And here -

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient...

And here -

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

Just a few examples.

 

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I appreciate the encouragement, but I am nothing without the Lord.
And the reason for this OP, was to kind of “touch base” with other believers, about my response to this kid.  
(Because it felt kind of wrong, not being able to “bring him to Christ”.)
But this is just half of the story!

This happened about a year ago; But "two days ago", this same young man came back to my table and I didn’t remember him, when he asked what book of the Bible I was reading? I told him “Jeremiah” and asked him if he read his Bible every day...

His response was, “No, not any more!”
Still not knowing who he was, I asked him why he had stopped reading his Bible?
Then he reminded me, about our previous encounter and told me of how he still had the New Testament that I had given him and had bought a big Bible and had attended a local Baptist Church, for a few months(after our last conversation).

But(as he put it), he never did experience the feeling of conviction that I had described or that the people at Church talked about; Therefore, he started checking out other religions and had spoken to a JW and a Muslim and a Buddhist, with no success.

At this point, the Lord blessed my response, by giving me lots of sound instruction and advice.  A few minutes later, I was concerned that I was boring him, by repeating a lot of the same things that I had said before, but he assured me that he was very interested, because he “wanted to know the truth”.

I reminded him, that what he needed was “faith” and that God was the only one who could give him the “faith to get saved”: But that all he had to know right now, is that “Jesus was the only source of truth” and that all of those other religions, were all lies, because they rejected Jesus as Lord!  I also pointed out that the Lord had not given me the “faith to get saved” until I was 27 years old; And suggested that he not give up on searching for truth.  I also suggested that he start back attending that Baptist Church(the one closest to the college), and that the Bible promises, that “those who seek shall find”.
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I wish that I could have done more for this kid(he really seems like he is looking for the truth).  But if he really is, than I know that he will find it.

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