The Role of God in Evangelism
29 SEP 2017
Evangelism is the spreading of the Gospel -- literally, "good news." Within Christian thinking, there are three roles that must be played for true evangelism to take place: A believer to share the Gospel with large groups or solitary individuals; nonbelievers -- those who have not yet come to faith in Christ -- to hear the Gospel; and, God, who plays a significant part in evangelism.
The focus of evangelism is Jesus Christ. Christians believe that as the son of God, Jesus is both fully God and fully man. According to Christian belief, Jesus paid the penalty for all of mankind's sins when he died on a cross, and he paved the way for those who receive him in faith to have eternal life in heaven. When a Christian evangelizes, he doesn't so much attempt to convert an unbeliever to the religion of Christianity (though that happens as a matter of course) as encourage unbelievers to put their faith in Jesus Christ, whom Christians hold to be both real and alive.
Many Christians -- especially evangelical Christians -- believe that God leads them to evangelize. The Bible instructs Christians to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and offers many examples of both individual and group evangelism, particularly in the Book of Acts. Many of the biblical accounts tell of times when Christians were led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as understood by most Christians, is part of the Trinity and fully God. Many modern Christians believe that God helps them to find opportunities to evangelize and inspires their words.
Christians have many views on the role they should play in evangelism, but many agree that the conviction which leads an unbeliever to put his trust in Christ comes completely from God. Many Christians cite John 16:1-12, in which Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and that through this conviction, the Holy Spirit would bring glory to him.
Believing that God is the only one who can change a person's heart and that God is responsible for the results of evangelism, Christians are encouraged to share the Gospel with whomever they can. They accept that some will receive Christ while others will reject him, and God is the one who ultimately convicts people's hearts. The Apostle Paul had this to say about his own evangelistic efforts: "I planted the seed, Apollos (a fellow Christian) watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)