I received an email from South America which is self-explanatory. As I read it, two thoughts came immediately– 1) How important this is; and, 2) how serious it is to answer such a situation with exactly what is needed for this particular person and their inquiry, not being long-winded, not getting off track, and not pointing the person in a direction that won’t help them.
When such questions come to us from what appears to be serious and sincere people, how do we answer? When I begin to think about how to answer, how equipped as a Christian am I to give this person a proper, clear, response to the question, “I know I’m lost–I can’t seem to get saved–I don’t even know if God now wants to save me, but I want to be saved.”
I haven’t replied to them yet, so please pray for them and for me in answering, that it will be exactly what they need to hear. But I share it with you, because it can help you to think about this as a Christian.
Here is the cry for help which came in the email–
My name is _______ and I’m from ___________, in the state of _________…..I saw a video of yours, Pastor Mack…about your salvation.
And honestly I am not saved….I always knew this in my consciencie, but I didn’t understand why. In my church they just tell us to ”pray a prayer and ask Jesus to be your savior”
And I was, one day, angry and tired because I couldn’t have the relationship with God that people in the bible had. So I prayed and asked why.
That’s when I found out by a sermon written by Spurgeon (called New Heart), that my conscience was right: I am still dead in my sins.
So I started praying…But I find myself lost…Wondering if I’ll find God’s mercy or God’s justice for my case since sometimes I have the impression that He just is not going to answer me at all.
I have that sin I struggle with…. that is pride (I have tons of sins..but this is the one I most love and fear) I pray because of this sin for so long….I wonder if I am doing things wrong ( I’m 25 years old by the way)
And I don’t even know what to read in the bible and where to start. This makes me desperate. I can’t give up, but I also don’t know from where I should start.
From your experience, please tell me, what should I do? I’m reading the gospel of John and trying to meditate, but it is not that easy and I wonder if I am doing this wrong too…
(I know…I’m a mess. I sometimes I think that I shouldn’t even try, cause I know my heart. I am the most cretin person alive and I can’t even repent or feel anything good)
Sorry this e-mail is so long. (And sorry If my english is not that good)
Thanks for reading this….
I never get such an email or call without it gripping me with true feellings of how responsible I am before God to not answer too quickly and simplistically. My words can either help toward making the situation better or worse, and can either become words of life or words that don’t help at all. Some professing Christians would send such a person an outline with five things God wants you to know, or three steps to salvation, or tell them to “just believe the gospel.” But such responses don’t help people at all and often do further damage. It is personal, tailor-made gospel counsel such a person needs and that takes time and personal real love to communicate rightly with them. They don’t need a quick, pre-packaged evangelistic presentation.
If anyone ever speaks to us as Christians in this way about their need, how do we answer? How accurate and clear and helpful is your evangelism at such a time? Are we so equipped with gospel exactness and wisdom, so as to give the best and simplest truth possible that such a person needs? As a Christian, we need to know how to answer such persons, “giving an answer to those who ask you of the hope that is in you”, as Peter says, “being ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with gentleness . . ” (1 Peter 3:15)
So if someone shared this with you, think through exactly how you would reply, remembering that you may have one opportunity to say anything to them. How would you answer them? I don’t need to know how you would reply, but you sure do.
– Mack Tomlinson