You Can’t Make Anyone Believe
During my time in college, I worked so hard to make people believe in Christ. I would try to work through the issues people had with the Gospel. From creation to the resurrection of Christ, I tried to tackle them all. No matter what I said, many of the people I talked to refused to believe. All of my, what seemed at the time pointless, work and the Scriptures made me realize one thing…I can’t make anyone believe. Acts 17: 22-31 says:
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, “To the unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“In him we live and move and have our being”;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“For we are indeed his offspring.”
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’
Even though Paul is out of his comfort zone, the synagogue, he makes a compelling argument. He uses the Athenians belief system to introduce them to the Creator and the Savior. As I read this text I expected to see all the people bend their knees to Jesus, but that is not the case. Verse 32a says:
32a Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.
Though Paul was probably the greatest missionary the world has ever seen, even he couldn’t make all the people listening believe. In fact, Paul couldn’t make any of them believe. Paul understood this lesson well, but I still had to learn it. I do not have the power to save. That is God’s job. I only have the power to speak the Word with courage and confidence, knowing that it contains the salvation every person needs. Once that truth is understood it takes all the pressure off me to try to convince a non-believer to believe. And when we are true to God’s call to preach, sometimes he grants us a front row view of salvation:
But others said, ‘We will hear you again about this.’ So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. -Acts 17: 32b-34
Though it may be my job to proclaim the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, I am certainly glad it is not my job to make other’s believe it.
Thanks for reading.
Posted on January 22, 2013, in Christianity, Life, Theology and tagged Acts 17:22-34, Christianity, Gospel, Jesus, life, reformed theology, Salvation, theology, truth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.