How is it that man’s work in evangelism works together with God’s power in awakening dead men? Though we may never be able to unpack the depth of this mystery, it is essential that we understand it in a basic way. Otherwise, we easily can get off track, as a matter of fact, way off track.
Consider two sincere Christians. One is skewed to the side of human effort in getting people saved. He works and labors to tell people the wonderful gospel news. But, because he is so focused on man’s effort, he takes matters into his own hands. He pushes; he shoves; he forces the unbeliever; he manipulates the discussion in such a way that he “makes” the person say a prayer. (Oh, how I have seen this in operation—it is unbelievably destructive.) So, the person prays, but not out of a heart response to the gospel. Alas, a false convert has been made.
Now, the second Christian. He is skewed to the side of God’s sovereign power in salvation. So much so, that he rarely lifts a finger to reach out to the lost and proclaim the gospel. Why? Because, he is convinced that God and God alone—without any help from him—must do it.
How shall we deal with this apparent dilemma? The answer is simple—take God at His word. How? Put simply, salvation is of the Lord, pure and simple. Unless God awakens the sinner and brings him from death to life, a million Billy Grahams have no chance in bringing about a conversion. So, we pray and pray and cry out to God for Him to do the work!
But, is that the full picture? No, and no again! The picture is complete only when, again, we take God at His Word. No one is going to be saved without hearing the gospel preached. So, with fervency, zeal, and unrelenting pursuit of the lost, we go and make the gospel known. Somehow, God works both of these glorious truths together to see sinners brought into His Kingdom.