Day 52: Winning the Debate is not Enough

Acts 9:22-25 :

But Saul increased more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ. When many days were fulfilled, the Jews conspired together to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They watched the gates both day and night that they might kill him, but his disciples took him by night, and let him down through the wall, lowering him in a basket.

I used to think that if I explained the truth about God clearly enough, people would be completely convinced and become Christians. When people didn’t agree, I would try harder to make a new argument that would convince them. There’s nothing wrong with explaining the truth so that there is no excuse, but I didn’t realize that it might not convince them.

The real problem is in the heart of those I am trying to convince. If God doesn’t help a person to overcome their sin, they will never believe.

When someone’s heart is not right and they are bent on doing what they want, it doesn’t matter how excellent my argument is. They will do whatever it takes to continue going they way they want to go.

Notice in this passage that Saul argued for Christ so well that he “confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus,” but instead of being convinced, they “conspired together to kill him.” Saul wasn’t wrong to tell them about God, but we can see that they were unable to overcome their sin and believe the truth. Instead, they got “mad” and acted like crazy men. These types of things happen to this day when people hear about Christ and it shows that mankind is really not as civil and self-controlled as they like to think of themselves.

If we want to win a debate and bring others to Christ, we should ask God to open their hearts so that they can accept the message when it is proven to them. If it is the right time, they may believe. If it isn’t they may act like these men did to Saul, but it is still the right thing to do.