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March 7, 2011 / beidson

Confidence and Compassion in Redemptive Truth-Telling

What is the balance between God’s sovereign election of people to salvation and our gospel-sharing to those who are being saved?  Can we get along with the staunchest Calvinist and Arminian?  Sure we can.

I think the key is having confidence in God’s grace to save and enough compassion to wish that God would save.  So we understand that grace draws a person to repentance, that repentance is not merely a decision to believe in Jesus, but rather an entire revolution of the soul, in which the old administration of evil passions is overthrown and a new, divine government is inaugurated in our hearts.  And we also understand that this does not happen while we are sleeping, and we don’t get a notice in the mail notifying us that our old nature has been evicted and replaced by a new one, as if we were unaware, being completely passive and naive.

I can get along just fine with those who place a strong emphasis on electing and effective grace, the grace of God that compels the heart to surrender, as if it had no other choice.  I do believe this is true.  And yet I can get along with those who would call people to intentionally and willfully put their hope in Jesus and voluntarily surrender their will to God and cry out for mercy and forgiveness.  This is true as well.

I am confident that God saves whom he will, and I am broken for those he has not saved yet, so moved by compassion, I ask him to bring them to faith in Christ.  And then I look for real pain and tears and questions in those people’s lives, expecting that their hearts will begin to fail them, that they will begin to grope for God and desperately try to find peace for their souls.  I believe God likes to hear me pray and even commands me to pray for the redemption of rebels.  So with confidence in God’s grace and compassion for rebels, I pray to God and tell the truth to them.

There’s no need to be paralyzed by uncertainty.  You can be confident in God’s grace and you must have compassion for those who need it.  Be confident that God will respond to your compassionate truth-telling.

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