The gospel is addressed to faith, not reason. It needs to be proclaimed, not explained. Faith rests upon the character of God, not demonstrations of logic; what can be proved requires no faith. The noblest efforts of men are dust and ashes unless there is supplied the power of the Holy Spirit to anoint the tongue of the one speaking or the ears of the one hearing; natural gifts and talents are, of themselves, no use in God’s Kingdom; they must be energized and animated by the eternal Spirit of God if they are to be effective in God’s work. Too many use their natural gifts to seek glory and recognition for themselves; their work is useless and will perish. But where the Spirit is present the message carries with it divine power to open the ears of the unbeliever.
The true gospel runs entirely counter to the natural man; the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those whom the Spirit has not quickened. This sometimes leads good men to speak in persuasive or apologist terms in presenting the gospel, desperately seeking to save those who cannot be saved. Consequently, our Churches are filled with those who have believed this watered down version of the gospel; they accept Christ as Saviour but refuse to take up their cross and follow Him.
Our first contact with Christ is generally when we seek His help – an appeal by faith to a God hitherto unknown in any personal sense. That step opens the gate to receive grace and grace applied leads to more grace; such is the economy of God.
But the scriptures nowhere teach that the man who comes to Christ for help, but with no intention of obeying Him, can be saved. This is a latter day heresy. Peter presented “this Jesus Whom you crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Peter did not divide the offices and nor can we. Christ must be Lord or He will not be Saviour.