Paul asked: “’King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.’ Then Agrippa said unto Paul, ‘Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds’” (Acts 16:27-29).
When I read this today, I was encouraged by the fact that not even the Apostle Paul saw everyone saved to whom he witnessed. There have been times that I have shared the Gospel as clearly as I know how, and the person has responded by saying that they were not interested, or that they would wait until later. I have felt my heart sink when I hear this response, because I feel like Paul explained in verse twenty-nine. I too would love every person I have explained the Gospel to, to receive Christ as Savior! I would love to see every person respond with a hearty, “Yes,” when posed with the question of receiving Christ.
The reality is that not everyone you witness to will receive the gift of eternal life that God offers through His Son’s death, burial and resurrection. Not everyone will experience the wonder of the free gift of salvation that is offered, but I want you to consider what Paul stated clearly here to King Agrippa. Not everyone will receive it … but our heart should be that every person has the right to refuse or accept, and that all would receive it. I know that I cannot force, or influence the personal decision of others to receive Christ (frankly, I wish I could … but it doesn’t work that way). Regardless of whether or not a person receives the gift God offers, I want to make sure that I am a good ambassador, and that I let everyone I meet know that God is offering.
We spend far too much time debating whether or not certain people are chosen or elect today. I believe the Bible teaches that God knows who will receive, and who will reject. After all, He is God and He knows everything. I want to be sure that I stay out of God’s way in determining who is and who is not chosen. I gladly leave that responsibility in the hand of God. He is far more qualified to handle that in a just way. I simply want to do what Paul did here before King Agrippa. I want to give the message as plainly and clearly as possible. I then want to give an impassioned invitation to know this forgiveness that I have known to as many as will listen. I am fully aware that it will be their choice, but I want every person I meet to have that choice before they die. Will you join me in giving out the message today? Allow God to do the saving, but give the message!