Reason and Evidence Doesn’t Convict People of Their Need of God

I really appreciate ministries that are proclaiming the gospel and speaking out on misunderstandings of reason and logic. I enjoy listening to these ministries that are pointing out that what so many things people say and think are actually self-defeating. For example, criticizing someone for being critical, or judging someone about judging, or making a truth statement to say there’s no way to know what is true.
 
My frustration comes with hearing talk about people coming to faith, as if you can just give someone a good argument apart from the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17) and all of a sudden they will realize they’re a sinner and repent, while trusting in Christ alone for salvation. How can this be? Why are you using evidences of the resurrection and rational arguments of the incredible growth of the early church in the midst of severe persecution as means of convicting someone of their sin. How can you disregard Ephesians 2 and John 3? Are these things credible and helpful? Yes! Just not as a substitute for the gospel. Now I’m not implying these rationalists or evidentialists are not proclaiming the gospel in their ministries. It just seems their method leans heavily on human reason and acceptance of evidence. 
The only reason any of these arguments for evidence and reason make sense in a salvific way, is because God changed your nature and gave you a spiritual one that’s capable of repenting and believing? Do you not remember the time when you cared nothing of the things of God. When every day was a self-absorbing mission to satisfy yourself and do whatever you thought was right in your own eyes.
 
I have to conclude that much of this comes from people who did not experience much of a life as an enemy of God. If you don’t have a significant part of your life when you’re not under the control and oversight of your parents and you’re making all decisions on your own, while not being saved, then I guess it’s hard to see the dramatic change God makes in your life after conversion. If you’re saved at a young age, I imagine it’s hard to see the “before” and “after” realities of your own life. This, I think attributes to the thinking that God is not completely responsible for the initial and continued faith we have. As well as the initial and continued repentance in our lives, which is in conjunction with our trust in God.
 
God’s children were saved by His grace (Eph 2:8-9). We were “born again” and given new life (John 3:3ff.). If it wasn’t for God, we would be the same utterly spiritually selfish and God rejecting people we were before. And He did this through the Holy Spirit and His Word. Praise be to God! All thanks be to God! May we never try to take credit for our salvation or that of others. We are merely instruments God might use for His own glory. Woe to man for stealing any of God’s glory! 
A great resource to understand this issue better is Dr. George Zemek’s “Doing God’s Business God’s Way.” 
See also previous post Biblical Evangelism
Glory to God Alone!
J.D.N.

Comments

  1. Ryan Martin says:

    Thanks Jay. Ephesians 2:8-9. One of my favorites. (But there are a lot of “favorites” as different passages can apply to one’s life differently at different stages.) Praise God for His Grace that allows us to experience all the phases of life that He has gifted us with and He still continues to pursue us and pull us back to Him at any stage in life that we are in.

    • Hey Ryan, that’s a great reminder! The fact God doesn’t leave us or forsake us is such a powerful truth. In my difficulties with my own sin, the sins of others, and the fallen world, knowing that He who began a good work in my life will finish it, gives me great encouragement as I march on in my pilgrim’s progress.

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