How To Lead People To Christ, Part 2: Our Invitation To Respond -- By: Zane C. Hodges
JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009) p. 115
How To Lead People To Christ, Part 2:
Our Invitation To Respond1
In my previous article I discussed getting the core of our message to men clearly in mind. Our objective is to lead them to believe in Christ to provide their eternal salvation. The gospel message about His death, burial, and resurrection is the normal context for our presentation of this core objective.2 But at the end of the day, anyone who trusts Christ for eternal life is born again.
In this article I will discuss the process of seeking a response of faith from those with whom we share our good news.
I. Believe That Jesus Died On The Cross
In recent years I have become aware of a way of presenting the gospel invitation that troubles me. I believe I have heard it from my earliest years, and I admit it didn’t really bother me for a long time. Now it does.
I have heard people say this: “In order to be saved you must believe that Jesus died on the cross.” In the context of our present discussion, I mean that this is their summary of the requirement of faith. It is not just one item, among others, to be believed. Whenever I hear that nowadays, I get extremely uncomfortable.3
For one thing, is there anyone anywhere in a Christian church (unless it is radically liberal) who doesn’t believe that Jesus died on the cross? For that matter, even some really liberal theologians would consider that a true statement, although they might balk at the doctrine of the resurrection. You see why I am uncomfortable, I hope.4
Now I know that the statement I am evaluating leaves a lot of things unspoken that are still implied by the speaker. Most of the time people who
JOTGES 22:42 (Spring 2009) p. 116
say you are saved by believing that Jesus died on the cross mean that He died for our sins. Indeed the phrase “for your sins” is often added. But even with that addition, there is still unspoken material that the person usually has in mind.
They usually mean to say, for example, that this belief in Christ’s death is all that is necessary for salvation. Thus they are normally proclaiming salvation by faith alone. Also unspoken, but usually implied, is the idea that Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient to provide for our salvation. Thus they mean to say that we are trusting in the sufficiency of His work of atonement.
Let me be honest. I don’t like ...
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