In a book about influencing others, the authors say that two questions must be answered before a person can be persuaded to perform a certain action. First, is it worth doing? Second, can I do it?
Every saint of God works to persuade others to become followers of Christ. The above questions are pertinent to the mission of the church, since many people ask them about the Way. They may be answered fully and satisfactorily from Scripture. The Bible holds an abundance of texts that address them, as well as stories and parables that illustrate well such answers.
Is it worth becoming a Christian?
So many good replies may be given to this question, that it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s start at the end.
Yes, it’s worth becoming a Christian because of the final judgment. The day of judgment serves as a strong and worthy motivation both for hearers of the Good News and those who are already followers of the Chosen One.
Preaching to the Athenians on Areopagus, the apostle Paul chose judgment day as a major motivation for repentance.
Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.
Before the governor Felix, “Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment” Acts 24.47. The thought frightened the governor, even if he didn’t respond properly.
The “coming wrath” was evidently a major theme in his evangelization of the Thessalonians as well.
For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.
1 Thessalonians 1.9-10
Yes, indeed, it’s worth becoming a Christian in order to be delivered from the “coming wrath”! This decision has great value.
Peter shows the worth of the faith through his first letter, often by use of the word “precious.” Perhaps the saints to whom he wrote began to question the value of their possession as they faced persecution. Their faith, refined and purified, is more valuable than gold, 1 Peter 1.7. The blood of Christ that ransoms “like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb” is precious, 1 Peter 1.19. Peter says that Christ himself is “a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight” 1 Peter 2.4, and backs that up by quoting Scripture that he is a “chosen and precious stone”, v. 6. “You who believe see his value,” he observes and encourages, v. 7.
Finally, Peter says to women in Christ with pagan husbands that they ought to value what God values: “the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight” 1 Peter 3.4.
Is it worth it? Time and again the inspired writers give us all kinds of positive reasons.
Can I do it?
The second question that influencers must answer in the minds of those they want to convince is the possibility of success. Again, Scripture supplies an abundance of material.
If we think of human power, the answer of course would be no. But we know that no one is saved by self-effort. With God, however, all things are possible.
Since we mentioned Peter’s letter above, we can also see that he provides an answer to this question as well. “You are attaining the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls” 1 Peter 1.9. It’s happening, you’re doing it, the goal is being reached, he says.
In his greeting Peter mentions all three persons of the Godhead, and in the first chapter he details what each one does to make salvation possible for the saints: regeneration by the Father, vv. 3-5, the coming of Christ who brings salvation, as the goal of faith, vv. 6-9, and the revelation of the gospel by the Holy Spirit, vv. 10-12. Framing the whole chapter are the power of God, v. 5, and the word of God, v. 23. God is in this, from start to finish.
And when God calls, he gives the means to answer. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” 2 Peter 1.3 CEB. “Everything we need!” Isn’t that a comforting thought!?
If we are in Christ, we have it all, for “Christ is all” Colossians 3.11. The Lord Jesus Christ is the repository for “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2.3.
How would you answer these questions?
You can certainly find other wonderful ways to answer these questions. It’s important, however, that we seek to answer them to the satisfaction and salvation of those who are considering the commitment of following God’s Chosen One.
We’d be interested in hearing, below, how you would answer these two questions.