|Vol. 2, No. 2||Page 5||February 2000|
“Not a Persuasion But an Invasion”
I heard a man on TV say that conversion is not a decision, and it is not a persuasion but an invasion. He explained what he meant by saying conversion is not something one decides on; it does not come by persuasion, but God sends the Holy Ghost into the lost person’s heart and this brings about his conversion. This is what the man meant by an invasion!
What that man said is not true. If it were true, it would means that God is a respecter of persons, but the Bible says he is not. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34-35).
This Scripture tells us that conversion is preceded by a decision! To be saved a person must make a decision. He must decide to fear God and work righteousness. To fear God means to have reverence for God and have a sense of his greatness and awesomeness. To work righteousness means to do what God says is right. This standard of what is right is revealed in the Gospel (Romans 1:17). That is why the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe it (Romans 1:16).
If God “invades” the hearts of some lost people and does not “invade” the hearts of other lost people this would mean he is a respecter of persons. It is true that God is a respecter of persons in the sense that he respects and accepts those who fear him and work righteousness, and he rejects those who decide not to meet these conditions. But he is not a respecter of persons in that he accepts anyone from any nation who decided to fear him and work righteousness.
Some Were Not Saved
Jesus spoke to the people of Jerusalem when he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus wanted to save them, but they decided not to let him do so.
In Antioch of Pisidia Paul and Barnabas preached the Gospel and some who heard them rejected their message. Paul and Barnabas told these that they put the Gospel from themselves and that in so doing they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:46). These could have been saved, but they decided not to be!
This misunderstanding about God invading hearts to convert them is based on another gross misunderstanding and error which is called the doctrine of total depravity. This doctrine says that a person is born lost and totally depraved. This is called “original sin.”
If one is totally depraved when he is born, he could not get any worse, but the Holy Ghost said through Paul, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). If one is as bad as he can be, he cannot get any worse! Those who study the Bible will know that children are born pure and sinless. They become sinners when they get old enough to be accountable to God by transgressing God’s will.
The Bible says absolutely nothing about total depravity and original sin. The bible does not say sin is inherited, but it says sin is committed. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).
The prophet Ezekiel said people do not inherit sin when he wrote, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). This makes it obvious that each person is responsible for his own sins!
If God arbitrarily invades the hearts of some lost people with a direct operation of the Holy Ghost, why are there no believers in areas where the Word of God has not been known? The answer to this question is so obvious it does not have to be given. People have to hear and believe the Word of God to be believers.
Do Not Wait
If you are lost, you should not wait for God to deal with you in some mysterious and miraculous way with a direct operation or “invasion” of the Holy Ghost. Instead, you should realize that the way the Holy Ghost operates on you is by your hearing the Word of God which he gave to those who wrote the New Testament. This word is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). It is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Believe what this word tells you about God the Father and how he sent Jesus his Son into this world to save you. Put your trust in this loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Repent of you sins, confess your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be baptized into Christ in order to be saved by the precious blood he shed for you (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16).