You’ve just shared the most precious message your friend could hear. Deeply convinced of the reality of heaven and hell, and equally sure of everyone’s status before God on their own merits, you’ve carefully explained the truth of the gospel.
Since the day you placed your faith in Christ, you’ve hoped the day would come when this dear friend would listen and respond to the plan of salvation and join you as a brother or sister in Christ.
But even before they speak, you know from the look in their eyes that there will be no joy in heaven today over their decision. Their words are at least polite but it’s a ’No thank you’ just the same. What can you do next?
Get Mad or Go Looking for a Present
Their ‘no’ is understandably difficult to hear and our response should be based on the spiritual truth behind their rejection. Here are two possibilities and you can be part of the solution in both.
- They don’t comprehend the message they’ve heard – You can try explaining it again, have another friend give it a shot, or take them to an event where the gospel will be preached.
- They don’t have the faith to believe – No matter how hard you try or what you say, you can’t give them the faith they need but there is someone you can ask for help; God.
The Gift of Faith Unwrapped
We know the unconvinced need faith to be saved. Paul clearly stated so in his letter to the Ephesian church. In uncomplicated language he said, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We all know that. Faith is a gift and a great one at that; it’s the gift that saves. Yet sometimes we respond to our ‘reluctant to accept Jesus’ friend by telling them that they just need to put their trust in Jesus or have more faith. But this only shows our own lack of understanding about the faith gift.
God given, saving faith makes disbelief impossible. In other words, once a person has received the kind of faith only God can give, they can’t not trust. Consider the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Imagine as an unbeliever that you’ve heard the message of eternal life that is available through faith in Christ’s work on the cross. It certainly sounds better than anything else you’ve ever heard. There’s even a hint of reality to it and you find yourself wanting to believe that it’s true. But something is holding you back, you just can’t accept it.
God suddenly steps into the room and hands you a beautiful gift wrapped box. You open it and lift faith out. It becomes yours. You have the faith described in Hebrews 11. You are now “sure” of what you hoped to be true and “certain” of it even though you have no visible proof. That’s what faith is.
Knowing that, we realize that getting frustrated, disappointed, angry or fearful over our friends response is not what we need to do. Instead we turn to a God who desires that none perish and ask him to send the gift that our friend needs and that only He can provide; faith.