God has programed into the gospel an inherent energy to transform people, and that energy is the Person and power of the Holy Spirit. Grasping this reality is very freeing for every person who feels inadequate when it comes to witnessing and sharing their faith.
Sometimes we think:
- Only people who are smooth talkers will see other people come to Christ.
- Only people who are persuasive salesmen will be successful evangelists.
- Only people who are handsome or pretty will be successful witnesses.
- Only people who have seminary degrees will be effective evangelists.
No. The gospel’s power does not reside in the person who presents it. The gospel’s power resides in the gospel itself. God’s power to save and transform is intrinsically embedded in the gospel by the Holy Spirit.
When I think of “in intrinsic energy,” I think of magnets, atoms, and seeds. Their energy to produce life and generate work is inherent.
In contrast, a car battery’s energy is extrinsic; it is acquired. Before a battery will produce work, we must add energy to it.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel’s power to transform lives in inherent; it is intrinsic. He wrote,
… as indeed in the whole world it [the gospel] is bearing fruit and increasing — as it also does among you … Col. 1:6, ESV
The gospel produces fruit.
- New converts
- Christ-like character qualities
Focus on the phrase, “bearing fruit and increasing (growing)” and stay with me for a brief grammar lesson. Both verbs are present tense and middle voice.
In this context, “present tense” means that the gospel has produced fruit in the past
and is currently bearing fruit and increasing (growing) wherever in the world it is communicated.
Dr. Lightfoot comments, “The middle denotes the inherent energy” of the gospel.
“Energy” is the ability to make something happen, and the gospel possesses inherently the energy needed to produce spiritual fruit.
Hence, Paul declared, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom. 1:16, ESV
When the Holy Spirit goes before us to prepare the soil of a heart, and
when we communicate the gospel, bumbling though we are, and
when the Holy Spirit supplies faith,
the seed of the gospel germinates, grows, and produces fruit.
We do not need to add power to the gospel. God has already built power into it to transform sinners into righteous people.
Our job is to communicate the gospel even if our communication of it is somewhat faltering and incomplete – and, I usually feel mine is. The Holy Spirit will graciously take our small contribution and produce His desired results.
Hear the good news; hear the gospel:
God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned … John 3:16-18, ESV