Not Just a Good Argument

Scripture: Acts 2:36-41

Years ago, I found myself engaged in an extended debate with a friend of mine. This friend was a devout atheist and philosophy student who would regularly goad me about my faith and question how I could believe in the fantasy of a God who created everything and who sent a Son to save humanity. We went round and round for awhile, and finally, in a state of frustration, I asked, “Steve, if I could prove to you without a shadow of a doubt that the God of the Bible was the one true god, would you fall on your knees and worship Jesus as your Savior?” His response ended the argument, but I have since realized that what I asked him is a really ridiculous question.

There is no way for me to prove what I believe, and there is no way to argue someone into faith.

Peter stands up before a crowd of thousands of Jews who just a couple of months prior were celebrating the crucifixion of Jesus, tells them they murdered their promised Messiah, and that they had totally missed the point of what God was trying to do. If their reaction was to be based on the strength of Peter’s argument, he was probably dead meat. Not because he was wrong, but because his audience would find it blasphemous.

Except that’s not what happened, and not because Peter made a good argument. The Holy Spirit did the true convincing.

Thousands were saved that day because the power of Peter’s preaching came through the outpouring of the Spirit. When we share our faith, it cannot be based on logic and reason.  We cannot prove God without a shadow of a doubt. We need God to go before us, to prepare the heart of the hearer, and to give us the words to say.

My friend’s response to my question revealed that, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, he would not yield to Jesus, because the issue was not logical or reasonable. It was because of his own pride and addiction to self.

It is only the Holy Spirit, and not your good arguments, that can break down those walls. So rather than focusing on saying the right things, pray the right prayers. Ask God to give you favor with unbelievers and to help you see them and love them as He does.

You can’t argue anyone into faith, but you sure can love them into it.

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