By Beau Crosetto
My online friend Miguel raised an interesting question on FB:
And it got me thinking (as he usually does) about the tensions that this questions raises.
- Do we have a role in leading others to faith in Jesus?
- If so what is it?
- Is it total arrogance to say something like that? Of course God saves people not us.
- If it is all God’s role then why am I needed?
- Maybe what bothers us has nothing to do with what is actually being said, but more to do with the type of people who say that kind of statement?
Your Role Is Vital
My response to that question of his was this, “Great Job”. I would say that to someone if they came to me and told me they led someone to Christ. It is our job to lead others to Jesus just like it is my job to lead my son to the Dentist. Do I fix his cavities? No! But I got him there and if I don’t take him there he’s not getting work done.
So of course I am going to acknowledge and so should you that we have an active role in bringing people to Christ and we should celebrate that and encourage it.
“40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.” – John 1:40-42
What is a natural expression of being excited about someone’s presence? You are going to tell others about it and do every thing you can to introduce them. Andrew was pumped about his day with Jesus and verse 42 is clear – he brought Simon to Jesus.
Andrew wasn’t the first (John the Baptist) and he wouldn’t be the last to bring/point others to Jesus. We have a full on 100% role to play in God’s mission of introducing people to Jesus.
To suggest that you or I have any power in “making someone have faith in Christ” is crazy and we all know that isn’t possible and doesn’t’ happen. I don’t ever take someone’s statement “I led so and so the Christ yesterday” as a statement that they think they made a changed heart happen and forced a life to submit to Christ.
So if it bothers us, it must mean a couple things
- We think the person thinks they caused the belief in Christ
- We don’t believe we/others have any role in connecting others to Christ, so any kind of statement like that is arrogant or pushy automatically.
- We don’t like the person or their style of evangelism so we distrust any thing powerful or lasting happened.
You Have Nothing To Do With It
Yes, I can lead my son to the dentist and yes the dentist will fix his cavities. Just like I can lead my soul – sick friends to Jesus and he can transform them also. But the analogy falls short of course. God is not some static dentist waiting in an office for us to show up.
He is on the prowl looking for us too! We see this in the Luke 15 story of the lost sheep, and coin. On one hand we have a lot to do with bringing people to Jesus, but on the other not much at all. He is searching for his lost people. Not only is he searching, the scripture makes it even more clear we can’t do anything about getting people to Christ.
44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John6:44
That is a pretty clear statement. It is only by the Fathers drawing that people can come to Jesus.
J.I. Packer in his book, “Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God” uses the word “Antinomy” to describe two things that are mutually exclusive happening. Like, the fact that God is 100% human and 100% God. Or that God is 100% in control and drawing people to himself and humans are 100% active in the process of conversion. He defines antinomy this way,
“an appearance of contradiction between conclusions which seem equally logical, reasonable or necessary” (p. 18).
The idea that one can lead someone to Jesus is an antinomy. We are 100% responsible to lead others to Christ – to introduce them – but we are 100% dependent on God to do all the work in drawing them and regenerating their soul. They must be born again – born of the Spirit of God or they have not crossed from death to life in the Spirit. That is obviously all God and to suggest otherwise is foolish and wrong. We wouldn’t do that.
So can we lead people to Jesus?
Absolutely & No Way!
How do you feel when someone says, “I Led so and so to Christ”?