Evangelism is not salesmanship. People are not funneled into Christianity with smooth human tactics. There is a revelation component that is often missed in our Christian circles. There is an eighteen-inch difference between true salvation and mere mental assent—the distance between the head and the heart yet it is eternity long.
Listen to this conversation with Jesus and His disciples in Matthew 16:13-17 (NKJV),
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus asked His disciples two seemingly simple questions, (1) Who do people say I am? and (2) Who do you say I am?
In my minds eye, I can see the disciples looking around at each other like a classroom of confused students wondering who is going to answer the hard question of who is Jesus. Simon Peter, the often assertive one, answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.
It was more of a bold statement than our Sunday School trained minds could imagine. Peter declared unequivocally that Jesus was the Messiah; the One-Long-Awaited-For, King of Israel, the Prophet foretold by Moses, and described throughout the Old Testament. Perhaps some were still trying to understand the reality of Jesus as the Messiah but Peter knew in his spirit for certain.
Jesus’ response to Peter is even more profound. He said, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you”. In other words, man had not shown him this truth. Jesus continued by saying, “but My Father who is in heaven” [has revealed this to you].
This revelatory aspect is often overlooked. Men try to persuade people to accept Christ which is admirable, but there is a thin line often crossed. Unless someone receives the spiritual revelation of who Jesus is, then all human persuasion is a vain effort.
Yes, we preach the Gospel and give witness of salvation in Jesus. We declare the truth of God’s Word concerning salvation in Christ. Some sow seeds of the Gospel, some water but only God can give the increase of the harvest. Salvation truly comes when that “revelation light bulb” comes on in our spirit and we verbally confess.
We see the results of many false confessions with lives unchanged by a mental agreement rather than a spiritual revelation of who Jesus is. If someone is humanly persuaded to accept Jesus, then they can be humanly persuaded to fade away. When someone receives spiritual revelation of the reality of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” it is a life-changing event.
The required response of faith for the Christian believer remains the same as Peter’s confession, that Jesus is the Christ, as supported by Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV), “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
I pray you have and if not, I pray you will; receive the revelation of who Jesus is and believe, and then confess, and then live in Him.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt
Featured Photo: Pastor Baptiste baptizing a new Jesus follower in the ocean near Leogane, Haiti.