Why save a man’s soul?

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by Stan Mitchell

This question arises out of what we might call the “National Geographic Explorer” view of other cultures. The notion is that other cultures are warm and wonderful and beautiful, and that Christian missionaries ruined these pure, noble people with Christianity.

In fact, other cultures, just like our own, are infected with the problems that affect all of humanity: Sin, pride and selfishness. In our own culture we sometimes wonder why we should “bother” a non-Christian with the Gospel. If he is a good moral man, faithful to his wife and a productive member of society, then what does he lack? After all, Christianity might be good for some people, but it’s not for everyone.

The Wise man, however, saw it otherwise: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30, NKJV).

The following is not about statistics, nor is it about filling a church building. It’s not about bragging rights, or even “church growth” methods. It is an effort to look into the theological, biblical reasons why we should seek and save those who are lost:

  • Because of the supreme value of a soul: “For what will it profit a man,” Jesus asks rhetorically, “if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” (Matthew 16:26, ESV).
  • Because lost souls will die: (Ezekiel 18:4). “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We hesitate to say so, fearing the politically correct will accuse us of being “judgmental.” Declining to say so, however, does not change the fact that the lost will die.
  • Because there is a judge of all the earth (Matthew 25:32; Romans 14:12). In the end, we will be responsible to him. What can we say about the likes of Pol Pot, Adolph Hitler or Charlie Manson? Though it seems these people carry out their acts with impunity, a record is being kept, and one day we will all stand before the judgment bar of God. No one is exempt.
  • Because we, and we alone have the gospel: We are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are not saying this arrogantly as if there was something we did to deserve possession of earth’s most precious gift. It was just that – a gift from God – and it is the church’s privilege to proclaim it. Governments do not have the answer. Self-help books do not have the answer. Psychology does not have the answer.
  • Because Time Is Short: (James 4:14; 2 Corinthians 6:1,2). Time, like fossil fuels, is a limited resource. The task is as urgent as a kid waiting for summer vacation. We need to speak to friends and family, invite them to worship, teach them while we have the time.

I began by saying that there were good biblical and theological reasons for saving a soul. I think I have given some compelling reasons to reach out to friends, family and neighbors. But I want to turn the message around. If these are excellent reasons to reach others for Christ, then they are also excellent reasons for you to become a Christian. Are you? For these reasons we have examined, you should respond to the Lord today!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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