Monday, March 13, 2006

I Will Save Some of Them!

“Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.”

Paul “glorifies” his gospel ministry to the Gentiles so that his fellow Jews will be provoked to jealousy and “I will save some out of them.”

One cannot help but hear echoes of Whitefield’s “the whole world is my parish!” in that last statement of Paul. He uses the Future Indicative, as if to say, "this is exactly what is going to happen."

When I used to sell Lada’s (worst job ever!), my manager subjected me to various sales Gurus and their secrets to success. The common denominator to all of them was getting yourself to believe that you were going to sell a car today to whomever walked in the door. The Amway scammers tried (not so successfully) to inculcate the same principle. Of course, what was disgusting about this was the way it elevated self above the good of the client! With the “Dress for Success” coaching and “I’m # 1” lapel pins, the whole thing reeked of pride. But there was something to be said in terms of results.

The guys (and gals) who bought into this idea could pretty much sell a car to a dead oak tree. They were relentless and nothing short of miraculous in their ability to make their target believe they really needed this car... and the extra-fluffy floor mats. They believed they were going to sell – and sell they did.

I have seen the same kind of proud and self-centered philosophy creep into many evangelism programs... but perhaps just as evil is the belief “God will never use me to save anybody!”

I think we all need to learn from Paul. “I will save some out of them!” Here is a perfect example of humble gospel zeal rooted in a firm grasp of divine sovereignty.

I don’t know who they are and I am not trusting in me (my motives, my learning, my speech, my technique, my learning, my abilities, my friendliness, etc) but I am living this life believing that what God says in His book is true. He is going to save people. He is going to save some hardened Jews (now and especially at some imminent, future point). He is going to save some moral neighbours dead in their sins. He is going to save some immoral scoundrels lost in their debauchery. He is going to save them and He is going to use people like me to preach the gospel to them!

“I will save some of them!” That ought to be our firm expectation. It is not that we try to pump ourselves up and self-talk our way into conversions. Far from it! We just take Almighty God at His Word... and live like what He says is what is really going to happen. God is going to save sinners – and He is going to use saved sinners like you to do it.

“I will save some of them!” Can you say it? Pray it? Genuinely expect it? I believe you can. I believe we must!