Soldiers of One Cross
Called to Share the Gospel
Those that affirm a free will approach to salvation are wrong—but not in the way you may be thinking. My goal here is not to debate theology; I will leave that to men far more capable than me. As I have grown in my understanding of Reformed Theology, I have learned that many free will affirming brothers and sisters have several misconceptions associated with those of us that ascribe to Reformed Theology. The most glaring misconception is that Reformers do not value sharing the Gospel.
In my experience, it is widely assumed by those that value a free will approach to salvation that because Reformers believe in the sovereignty of God, we consider ourselves exempt from sharing the Gospel. We are painted as “fatalists” who believe God will do all the work of salvation and, therefore, we have license to sit back on our theological haunches.
How we understand the means by which saving faith is achieved—whether it is by man’s free will or God’s sovereign election—must be understood as an in-house debate. It is a discussion among brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, but ultimately this discussion does not change the calling given to both Reformers and to those that affirm free will to share the Gospel.
Five Reasons All Christians Should Share the Gospel
In light of this, I think it important to outline reasons why we as Reformers value sharing the Gospel, in the hope of clearing up at least one misconception with our free will affirming brothers and sisters. I also hope to build a bridge by outlining ways in which all believers in Christ are likeminded regarding sharing the Gospel.
1) The Gospel Has Transformed Us
As believers in Christ, we can all agree that his work on the Cross has transformed us. Once enemies and haters of God, we have been adopted through the Spirit of adoption and been made sons and daughters of the Most High. Genuine believers in Christ are compelled to share the truth of the Gospel with those who have not heard it. Regardless of perspective, an indicator that authentic saving faith has taken root is a desire to share the Gospel with the lost.
2) Love for the Lost
When it comes to those that do not know Christ, the undeniable fact is that they are doomed for a hopeless eternity without hearing and believing the Gospel. As believers in Christ, we know the truth and our neighbors, friends, family, co-workers and the unreached/unengaged people groups around the world need to hear it. All believers should be troubled by the eventual destiny of those who will pass from this existence to perpetual torment. To deny sharing the Gospel with those who need to hear it is selfish and will reap eternal consequences. Our love for the souls of the lost should drive all believers to preach Christ.
3) Our Love and Reverence for Christ
At the Cross, Christ secured a destiny for believers that we were incapable of obtaining on our own. In understanding the depth of our iniquity and the price that was paid for our redemption, we cannot help but respond with a heart overflowing with gratitude. We understand that on the Day of Judgment the only difference between believers that will obtain eternal life and non-believers that will endure eternal punishment is Christ alone. To that end, “we present our bodies a living sacrifice” and sharing the Gospel becomes an outflow of our “spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1, ESV).
4) The Great Commission
Christ, before he ascended, gave one specific directive to all believers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mathew 28:19, ESV). He did not give any caveats or a different set of instructions based on various theological leanings. He simply said, “Go”. Out of obedience to the Author of our faith, we all seek to fulfill this calling.
5) We Do Not Believe in Fate
There is not some force that is playing a cosmic game of roulette with the souls of men. God is sovereign and ultimately in control of the process of salvation. Whether we believe that he exerts that control by the freeing of man’s will or by God’s own will, we all can agree that he is the One to which we will all give an account. To that end, we do not just wait for fate to make salvation happen. We all preach the Gospel to “whosoever will” (Mark 8:34, KJV) because it is the means by which men will come to repentance. Fate does not save people, the Gospel saves people.
In Revelation 5, we see a massive gathering of humanity around the throne of God, giving worship to him and the Lamb. People from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, ESV) will be gathered, giving praise and thanksgiving to our God. In that moment, our theological leanings will not matter; Christ will be all that matters.
Until that day, both Reformers and those that affirm free will must understand that we are brothers and sisters on the same side of the battlefield. How we understand the doctrine of salvation is important, but not as important as understanding that we are soldiers of one Cross. We are followers of one Christ and we preach one Gospel: Christ died for our sins and he rose from the dead. All praise, honor, and glory be unto him forever.
What is the biggest barrier to you working with those that have a different perspective on the doctrine of salvation? If you have no barrier, then how have you worked with those that have a different perspective?