By Hank Hanegraaff
A common mistake Christians make derives from the notion that someone can be talked into the kingdom of God. While the motivation may be sincere, the consequences are often devastating.
First, no matter how eloquent you may or may not be, you cannot change anyone else’s heart—only the Holy Spirit can do that. Thus, while it is your responsibility to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15), it is God who changes the heart.
Furthermore, the problem is not that people cannot believe; it is that they will not believe. In other words, it is often not a matter of the mind but a matter of the will. To wit, the maxim: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” As Jesus Christ declared, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19–20). The Christian faith is reasonable, but reason alone will not compel a person to embrace Christ.
Finally, I am utterly convinced that if we are “prepared to give an answer,” God will bring into our paths those whose hearts He has prepared. Thus, it is our responsibility to prepare ourselves to be the most effective tools in the hands of almighty God.
No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:11–14 NKJV
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