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Salvation is from God and God alone. No amount of work on our part can make someone to turn towards the Word of God and believe, unless God has mercy: "...it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." (Romans 9:16 NKJV) "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (I Corinthians 1:18 NKJV) "Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him(Jesus) whom He(God the Father) sent.” (John 6:29 NKJV) God is Sovereign! And by that it means He and Him alone has the authority to move a person's heart and change their disposition (awareness), and cause a sinner to repent (change their mind about themselves, how a person manages their life, and a person's attitude towards God Himself). "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44 NKJV) "...He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Ephesians 1:4, 5 NKJV) As believers, we have the privilege to access God through prayer and the Holly Spirit that lives in us. And that is a powerful tool to have. "...The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. "(James 5:16 NKJV) Be an example in everything and live with the hope that an unbelieving friend or relative will see the light and be drawn to it. Once the disciples of Jesus had a question about salvation too after Jesus told them a story about a rich man salvation. After what they've heard it seemed impossible to them to see who can be saved at all: "When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25, 26 NKJV) So, read the Gospel to people, show them who they really are, with love and care, then humbly explain who God is, pray to our Father in Heaven and believe in His everlasting power to save mankind.
I think that there is a number of reasons, each quite personal. Each conversion is unique because everyone is different. One reason (for the purpose of answering your good question) could be selfishness. Raised in a Christian home or in a home with great morals and values or neither, before having a personal relationship with Christ we are serving Satan by default. We are confused or even enticed by Satan's lie that he does not exist and that really we are serving ourselves only. We often think, 'why serve someone else, for their benefit when I am enjoying serving myself and reaping the benefits.' We never understand the real benefits of the Christian life until we enter it. I think that is because it is a personal relationship with God. It is like a marriage, people can explain how great it is but you never really understand until you are in love with someone yourself. Yes marriage is hard work and yes it is all about serving each other but the benefits outweigh the hard work and selflessness. Sin (selfishness) is understandable in the unsaved, don't be discouraged if that is their choice until reaching the end of themselves. I believe that we are only ready to be saved when we reach the end of ourselves. Realizing that our selfish ambitions are hollow and having no other options except to accept Christ as our Lord and saviour or to reject Christ. Do not be discouraged when you think they have reached the end of themselves by your standards, but are still continuing in sin. The fact is that we do not know the limits of a person, only God does. Do not give up praying and trusting God throughout a seemingly hopeless situation. Basically it is hard to choose Christ because the devil is working hard. God bless you for asking this question. Trust God He is sovereign.
Most people who are not raised in a Christian home have to do battle with Satan who will strive for the capture of their souls. He tried to convince me that every one of my friends were already saved and they didn't have to know that I was lost.
Julian, I believe it is simple a matter of authority. All beliefs, religious or otherwise, must be based on some authority. You believe it because of this or that, but it has to come from somewhere. When man is told he must submit to a higher authority, especially one he cannot see, he will most often reject it. And because man does not inherently know right from wrong, but still wants to be in charge, we have the world we see today. Arguing religion or intellectual debates concerning God and His creation seldom win anyone to the Lord. Whenever possible however, your personal testimony and your walk with the Lord will show them instead of telling them what He has done in your life. After that give it to Jesus and be patient. It took many years of my loved ones praying for me before I came to the Lord. It’s all in God’s timing. Hope this helps, God bless Don
Just as a baby says "Me do.", so we just want to do it by ourselves. Sad, but the balance scale mentality is prevalent. I do much more good than bad, so I'm OK. Also the Horatio Alger mentality of raising ourselves by our own boot straps is the American way. The idea of denying ourselves is not popular. I minister in a Senior community. Most of these people are "good" people. They worked hard and now have a comfortable retirement. They have not cheated on their wives. They were honest in their businesses. We pray for them. We love them. Often, when trying to share, they will comment, that it is OK if you need a crutch. We have seen a few come to Christ, but it is the exception rather that the rule. Sometimes. when they have a crisis and we reach out to them, they respond. Most of the time they just try to pay us back. The people are very friendly. But as Christ mentions that it will be harder for a rich man to obtain salvation that it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. It certainly is true.
After hearing the word I think many people realize that following Christ will require them to make changes in their lifestyle that they are unwilling to make.
The "saved" are "forgiven," not "doing less sinning," or on the wagon for "designer sins." Forgiveness shines light on the one doing the forgiving. Saints are proof of God's love, not proof that the law works if you'll just keep it. God saves a remnant, everyone is deserving of death. "So at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace" (Rom 11:6). When believers will start to repent of trying to take credit for "getting" saved, the rest of the world will listen a lot closer. Then the rest of the world might start to hear the "knocking" that is surely happening (Rev 3:20). I hear and see ads all the time about something being "free" and I ignore them without the slightest thought of checking it out. I learned long ago that there's always a catch, something that erases the "gift" portion of the offer. That's not true of the offer to return to God and have an eternal life with Him. Luke 15 tells the story of a son who "chooses" to walk away from his relationship with his father and get as far away from him and his "ranch" as possible. It turned out badly for him. When he "came to his senses" he returned and asked his dad to hire him on as one of the hired hands. One of the most revealing parts of the story is the fact that he left with plenty and came back penniless. It reads as if he was barefooted. He had nothing to offer but his repentance for leaving. He wanted to be forgiven. He didn't wait until he could make a better showing, he returned in the shape in which he had gotten. It doesn't surprise me that the wandering son was welcomed home by his father but not by his "brother." The brother is a good example of some in the church. The father honored the returning son with a feast. He wasn't "rewarding bad behavior." That's one of the things you hear from the people who "practice the law," and not the grace of God. He was showing his love for the son who had come back to him. The "brother" complained that the father had never thrown a party for him and his friends. The father tried to explain that the brother had always enjoyed "all that I have" (His love). He wasn't talking about the stuff on the farm. The Church, not the word of God, came up with the "catch." When we emphasize "stop sinning " and "every sin must be confessed," we are constructing major hindrances to the gospel of grace, which produces repentance brought on by the pardon itself. I suspect that a large majority of church leadership have never wandered far from the "ranch" they were raised on. I believe church leadership is made up of more "Brothers" than "Wandering Sons." It's the only explanation for why "grace" isn't more appreciated and promoted. Every time "grace" is given top billing an alarm is sounded: "Grace doesn't give you a right to sin." Such an admonition effectively makes grace a suspect not a hero. No self- respecting saint, saved by the love of God, expressed by showing favor for His child, takes that grace shown to him as a reason to flaunt his sinful nature. When he does miss the mark he does so because of his flesh, not his spirit (Gal. 5:16,17). We have to distinguish the difference in the world's government and the kingdom of God 's government (the church). In the world's justice system "clemency" is warranted by good behavior. Not so in the kingdom of God; clemency in God's kingdom is used to show compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and leniency in the character of the Judge. When Paul says he's the chief sinner (1Tim 1:15), it's the best testimony for a saint, but the church is reticent to use it as a campaign slogan. The best the church has as an administrator says he's a blatant sinner, saved because of God's love for him just as he is. That scripture, (1Tim 1:15) should be right up there with John 3:16 on the company's web page. There's nothing wrong with the gospel, it is the power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16). The world thinks the law has that power and many in the church goes along with that delusion.
Good question and relevant, Julian Grear! I can only really speak for myself. I found it hard to give my life to Christ because of my pride. I took pride in the fact that I was a fairly good person. But that didn't satisfy me, eventually. I had to come to realize that my "goodness" was really not good in God's eyes (Isaiah 64:6 KJV--“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”). But I like how the Gaither Vocal Band's song "Yes I Know" sums up my salvation: "And I know, yes, I know Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean And I know, yes, I know Jesus' blood can make the vilest sinner clean.... "Hm hmm hmm It's the blood of Jesus Can make you clean Oh, the blood of Jesus."
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