Sally texted me from a train en route to her parents’ home. She is one of many at our International Church who have recently responded to our evangelistic efforts. Sally received the gospel years ago and has had significant evangelistic training. Yet a lack of understanding the gospel kept her from finding assurance of her salvation. I wrote to her in reply, “If the only way you can be sure you will go to heaven is to stop sinning while you are on earth, you will never be sure. I am a human being who sins constantly. But I am 100% sure I will go to heaven because my salvation does not depend on my righteousness, but on Jesus’ righteousness.”
Over the past 6 weeks I have had two opportunities to ask the members of our congregation to fill out response cards if they are not 100% certain they will go to heaven. We’ve received 300 responses.
At the same time I recruited a 25-member Evangelism Team from around the world. Each of them called, texted, and used other means to contact 10 to 15 people, asking for a time to meet to share the gospel. Lunches, coffees and small group meetings occurred at various times and places around our city.
This decentralized approach has brought about a lot of personalized ministry. Some had theological questions, some wanted to be connected to a small group or singles ministry, and some needed to be baptized. Many simply wanted our basic evangelistic materials to share with their family and friends. A woman signed up on the first visit of her life to a Christian church! Pastoral care was given to a brother whose wife recently passed away from cancer.
What we experienced most often was believers who lack assurance of salvation. They have a vague, fuzzy notion of trusting Christ as savior, but had never thought of it in terms of the kind of absolute certainty that John writes about in 1 John 5:13: “These things I have written to you who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” An hour together studying the Word of God helps them clearly understand the nature of salvation, so they can find certainty of eternal life.
Sally continued in her email, “I always feel I’m not good enough to accept such generous grace.” I replied, “You are correct. Nobody is good enough to accept God’s generous grace. That’s what makes it grace—we don’t deserve it. As Romans 5:8 says, ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ If the only people who received God’s grace were those who were good enough, nobody would receive it!”
Praise God for grace freely given to us undeserving humans. And praise God for the opportunity to freely share that grace with others.
Your brother and sister in Christ
This is a recent message from missionary friends of mine who I cannot name, but their message is so relevant and clear that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you find it as encouraging as I do.