to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling 1 Corinthians 1:2
Saints – When it comes to mass marketing, God doesn’t seem to know much about getting the message out. If the fate of the human race really depends on knowing the truth about Jesus, why doesn’t God use more effective techniques? After all, how hard would it be for God to display a billboard across the sky, or send an internal e-mail to everyone on the planet, or cause some physical phenomenon that would undeniably convince the world of Jesus’ divinity? If the message is so important, why hide it away in the backwaters of history?
If these questions have never occurred to you, perhaps you haven’t felt the agony of seeing people you know and love miss a vital relationship with God simply because they never had overwhelming evidence. If God is really not willing for any to perish, then why doesn’t He just make a booming announcement?
The answer to all these serious concerns is found in the difference between effective and efficient. Ultimately, it’s the difference between a Greek system that believes in communicating information and a Hebrew system that believes in causing transformation. If my worldview is Greek, then my evangelism will focus on the transfer of information. I will attempt to get others to understand what I think. I will appeal to others to come to a rational belief about the Christ. Of course, since the whole world needs this information, I will look for the most efficient ways to disseminate it. And those efficient ways usually involve some sort of mass marketing. They end up in television and radio preaching, big campaigns, tracts, sinner’s prayers and bait-and-switch techniques. The goal is to communicate the information to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of effort.
All of this is noble. All of this is spiritually-minded. It just doesn’t happen to be the method that God uses.
God chooses to focus on transformation, not information. To do that, God chose a method that is gloriously effective but pitifully inefficient. God uses saints. The Greek word, hagiois, is applied to all believers. It’s not a special category for the top of the spiritual ladder. If the Corinthians, with all of their real problems, are called saints, then obviously God considers you and I saints as well. These ordinary people have been chosen by God, set apart through Christ (sanctified), in order to bring others into the Kingdom. How do they do that? By demonstrating the character of God in the life they live. Sure, they talk about it, but what really matters from the Hebraic perspective is the demonstration of godliness in my ordinary behavior. If I want effectiveness, then I will need a lot more than simply words. I will need to model transformation and invite others to copy me. Oh, yes, and by the way, godliness is not limited to good ethics. Godliness means following God’s instructions for living in all the areas of my life.
So, here’s the question. Are you practicing the Greek method of efficient evangelism or are you living the Hebrew process of effective transformation? Only one works for the long run. Only one satisfies the requirement of perseverance.
Topical Index: Evangelism