For several years after I got serious in my faith, I was heavily involved in apologetics. In case you’re not familiar with the term, it has nothing to do with apologizing for anything. Instead, it’s a reasoned defense of the faith before nonbelievers. I devoured books like Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell, and Who Moved The Stone? by Frank Morrison, along with other works which attempted to present evidence in favor of biblical Christianity.
I still believe that there’s a place for apologetics. After all Peter commands us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” There’s nothing wrong with it in itself, and there are people whom God has called to use their gifts to present the best possible logical arguments in the Kingdom’s cause (like my hero C. S. Lewis).
You can sense the “but. . .” coming, cant’ you? Today’s passage presents to us a perfect balance, especially to people like me who are tempted to try to reason people into the Kingdom. Please read it again. When people are presented with an accurate portrayal of the Good News about Christ, and they reject it, why do they do that? Is it because the presenter didn’t make his case well enough? Can the honest seeker, after taking a close look at Jesus, reject him in all sincerity?
I wouldn't claim to be an expert on the human heart or soul. I don’t even know myself as well as I should, much less another human being, whose mind I can’t read. But Jesus could, and did, and does know all of us down to the core, and he knows (as we read a couple of days ago) exactly what lies in the hearts of men. And according to him, from reading this passage, the problem is not a lack of information or evidence. The main problem is “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” They love their sin, and they don’t want to let go of it. They love their independence, and they don’t want anyone telling them what to do. That’s the issue.
So what does this mean for us? For believers, this has two main applications. First, this takes a lot of pressure off you as the person presenting the claims of Christ to the lost people around you. You don’t have to come up with the perfect presentation or be able to answer every single objection. Just submit the truth as you know it, and relax a bit.
The other application for me is to notice the spiritual aspect of what we’re doing when we’re witnessing to people. You actually could come up with airtight arguments, but the person will never receive Christ as Savior until the Holy Spirit turns his heart of stone into a heart of flesh. That’s what you have to pray for: That the Spirit will penetrate that person’s heart and lead him to a saving knowledge, to know how much he needs Jesus and how much Jesus loves him. Only the Spirit can do that.
Father God, please forgive me for trying to be an amateur Holy Spirit. Please give me the courage and wisdom to speak the truth in love.