How do people become Christians–how does someone actually come to saving faith in Jesus? Is there a secret? And why is it that there are those who never commit to Christ, even though their loved ones hope for years?
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
There are those who, for whatever reason, have concluded God can’t love or wouldn’t accept them, or they refuse to abandon an entrenched sin. But I suspect that the fact of the matter is that most have simply never heard enough of the message to understand that Jesus is for everyone and come to a saving faith in Him.
We frequently think: the gospel message is so simple, even a child can understand it–and that is true. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and those who come humbly to Him acknowledging their inherited sin-nature and inability to be holy, God accepts, forgives, and conforms to the image of Christ. But many who aren’t Christian are no longer children–they are adults, and the adult mind needs to be fully convinced. We need to hear enough to truly get it that God is real, this message is real, and I should trust Jesus, commit my eternal destiny to Him and spend my life obeying Him. And the best “convincer” is the Word of God itself. Today’s verse is 100% correct: faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God–or to put it more simply, faith comes by exposing yourself to enough of God’s Word.
Yet the problem is that many people never give themselves the chance to hear enough of the Bible to be fully convinced. Remember the sad reality that “…the sinful nature is always hostile to God…” (Romans 8:7 NLT) The sin nature in us tries to avoid contact with God. Rather than running to Jesus, whom we so desperately need–we run away.
Think of any person you know who is still actively hostile to Jesus–I bet he or she won’t sit still long enough to read a chapter of the Bible, or listen to a sermon on the radio, or come to church so he can be taught. They desperately need to “…escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (II Timothy 2:26 NKJV), yet they want no part of it and avoid that which might convert them–exposing themselves to enough of God’s Word. So what’s the solution?
There is no easy solution: the fact of the matter is that conversion is something the Holy Spirit does in us, but He does it through the words of the Bible. Rather than do the instinctive thing and run away–which we all tend to do–we can give ourselves a chance. We can get together with people who love God. We can listen to Biblical teaching. Most importantly we can open the Bible ourselves and really read it to try to understand what God is saying to us. And, we can pray for others to come to faith in Jesus. Because, after all, “…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Bring me to saving faith! Bring others to saving faith! Amen.