Daily Devotional: Day 132
“[God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, KJV).
Grace to you! Today, I’d like us to build upon yesterday’s message; seeing that many of us will be sharing the Gospel with people at some point in our life. The main point of yesterday’s message was that some people do not want to be saved.
Look at today’s Bible text. It says that God wants all men to be saved. That is true. But the question is: “Do all men want to be saved?” The answer is, “No.” God will not save people against their will. Throughout the Bible, you’ll see examples of this. You’ll also observe that God does not pursue people forever. Knowing this helps us to be more discerning and effective when presenting the Gospel to people. Let’s look at two examples from the life of Jesus.
In John chapter 5, Jesus healed a sick man who had sat by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years. Following the healing, a heated conversation ensued between Jesus and the Jews, because Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath. At one point, Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40, NKJV; emphasis added). Did you catch that? Jesus says they were not willing to come to Him that they may have life. Jesus was willing to save them, but they weren’t. Therefore, He left them to live with the consequences of their choice. Jesus didn’t push, manipulate or coerce them into believing in Him for salvation. We all need to learn a lesson from this when we present the Gospel to people.
The next example is from Luke 13:34, where Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (bold emphasis added). Again, you see evidence of people not willing to be saved. Did Jesus insist that Jerusalem accept Him? No. He grieved over the city, but He respected their choice and He moved on.
God does not pursue people indefinitely, as some suppose. If they reject His love and truth, at some point He will turn away. When people’s hearts are hardened, there’s very little anyone can do. After a while, God lets them do as they please, handing them over to a reprobate mind (cf. Romans 1:27-28). At this point, it becomes nearly impossible for them to be saved. I pray the Lord will give you discernment and understanding regarding these matters as you share the Gospel with people. When presenting the Gospel, respect people’s free will at all times, no matter how strongly you feel about your views.
The peace of Jesus Christ reign in your heart today! Amen.
For further study: Matthew 13:10-15