Heaven is counting on you / Run with a heart that is true / Carry the cross, reaching the lost / Heaven is counting on you.
So rang the familiar phrasing of a hit Christian song some twenty years ago.
And it bothered me. Even before coming to a fuller understanding of the sovereignty of God in salvation.
If Heaven is truly counting on me, we’re in trouble. I know myself well enough to know that I’m not good enough or smart enough or likable enough to “win souls” on my own.
Yet this doesn’t discount me from the task of evangelizing, telling people the good news that Jesus came to save sinners. So no matter my personal (sinful) preference to hang back and let it all work out, there is truth to the fact that you and I are called to be ministers of reconciliation in this world. God’s sovereignty doesn’t negate man’s responsibility.
Evangelism is a necessity because no man or woman is saved without hearing and calling upon the Christ of the gospel message. Nature testifies clearly to the glory of God (Rom. 1:18-32), yet the message that actually saves—the gospel—must be told:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15
God has entrusted us with His own truth. He could raise up a rock to proclaim the gospel better than I ever could, but He has set you and me apart as His image bearers. As such, we are to image His gospel and speak His wonderful words of life to our fellow man.
Salvation depends upon faith, and faith is dependent on knowing the gospel. God’s sovereign plan is to bring sinners to faith by bringing them in contact with His gospel proclaimed. Without the truth shared and responded to, people remain lost and destined for hell.
It is solely the grace of God in salvation that gives us any success in evangelism. In light of this knowledge, how can you keep yourself humble before the task of proclaiming the gospel?
Thank God often and explicitly for your conversion. You didn’t figure anything out, nor are you of truer heart than any other human. God radically intervened and resuscitated your corpselike, fish-nibbled soul from the bottom of the sea—death to life in the greatest sense.
By recognizing this, you acknowledge the sovereignty of God in salvation as well as humble yourself knowing He is the giver of eternal life. The Holy Spirit convicts, woos, directs repentance and leads you to Christ.
Pray often for the conversion of others. This is intercession, an often neglected but essential part of evangelism. People’s souls aren’t counting on you or your winning argument; they are counting on the powerful mercy of God. Human beings are spiritually unable to affect salvation or to love God on their own. At day’s end we are utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts.
Do not think more highly of yourselves than you ought. Heaven isn’t counting on you, as though all eternity rests on your shoulders (what an unbearable, hope-crushing weight!). But someone’s eternity could be irrevocably changed by your obedience in telling them of the life-changing power of Christ.
Ask the Lord for boldness to image Christ in both deed and word. The Lord will be your confidence as you have conversations and share your faith with those who are not yet part of God’s family. They will respond not to your voice, but to the voice of Christ in His gospel.