In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
- Ephesians 1:11-14
“To you who spoke and wrote, this message will be greatly disappointed if it does not lead many to the Lord Jesus. It is sent forth in childlike dependence upon the power of God the Holy Ghost, to use it in the conversion of millions, if so He pleases. No doubt, many poor men and women will take up this little volume, and the Lord will visit them with chosen, and many homely expressions have been used. But if those of wealth and rank should glance at this book, the Holy Ghost can impress them also; since that which can be understood by the unlettered is none the less attractive to the instructed.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace
The Apostle Paul wrote a wonderful greeting to the people in Ephesus. He talked of salvation by hearing the word of God and believing. Paul could have praised himself for their salvation, as many evangelists do today, but the work is/was God’s work. God inspired the writers of the Bible. Jesus came to earth, lived among the people of His time on earth, and died on the cross for our sins. The Holy Spirit indwells within us and convicts the elect of their sins so that they will seek God.
In the Spurgeon quote (the first paragraph of the book), he gladly does as the Apostle Paul does in Ephesians. He says that he has produced a message, but the message will go nowhere without God using the message. If God pleases, millions of people will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus by reading Spurgeon’s book. Wow!
You could say that Spurgeon was taking a great leap of faith by publishing the message, and this paragraph to start it. How audacious! Millions will come to Christ through a short message (a mere 20 short chapters), but it was only a baby step of faith. It took effort on Spurgeon’s part. It took Spurgeon taking the leap of faith, but we can see in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that this leap had been made before. People over the centuries between Paul and Spurgeon had heard one message or another and came to know God.
When we evangelize, give our testimony, or preach a sermon, we are there, present at the time. We are part of the process. In surrendering to God’s will at that moment, we are making ourselves available for God’s service. But the heavy lifting is God’s work to do. If someone comes to Jesus as a result of our message, the Holy Spirit has been working overtime preparing them to hear the message (not mentioning all the Christians they come into contact with), and the Holy Spirit has been guiding our words as we speak them (or write them).
What did we do? We made a conscious decision to be there and let God do His work through us. God will reward those who choose to follow Him in this manner, but salvation is a process, performed by God, and for God’s Glory. And when that is our focus, God uses us. We get to be part of the most exciting process in all creation. What other process results in a choir of angels, singing and praising God?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.