Grace and Evangelism

Ruins of ancient Corinth. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons)
Ruins of ancient Corinth. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons)

Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. Acts 18:9-10

Some folks think that because salvation is all of grace (and it is) and because God is the decisive agent in regeneration (and he is) that therefore evangelism is not a part of the Christian mission. However, note the logic of the verses before us. It is because God had many people in the city of Corinth that Paul was commanded to speak the gospel in that city. The unconditional election of God's people from eternity and their effectual call by the Spirit does not undermine but rather undergirds our responsibility to preach the gospel to the unconverted so that they might believe and be baptized (see verse 8).

In fact, the doctrines of grace should not be a discouragement to evangelize; they should be an encouragement to do so. It was what was at back of Paul's own courage: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:8-10). Note the word "therefore" - it is the logical link between enduring suffering for the gospel's sake and God's sovereign election.

May the Lord make us all the more bold for the sake of his gospel, not in spite of the fact that we embrace the doctrines of grace, but because we do so.

By: Jeremiah Bass