My son had a question I am not sure how to answer. The question is: Why is it that some people respond to the hearing of the gospel by accepting the gospel, and others respond by rejecting it?”
It is the same Holy Spirit that will convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment; so why does that conviction bring repentance in one, but not in another? We know that men like darkness, rather than light; however, some will accept the gospel and come to the light, and others will not. Why is that? We know that pride has a lot to do with it; but how is it that one will push away their tendency towards pride and repent, and another will not? Even in a case where two people hear the gospel preached at the same time by the same preacher, one will accept, and one will reject. Even in a case where two people are from the same family with the same upbringing, one will accept and one will reject. Why is that?
Any light you can shed on this question would be appreciated.
p.s. As I was searching for your website, I came upon a most ridiculous letter to you by what must be a very confused lost person. I wonder why he was on your website to begin with. Anyway, the reason I am bringing this up is that last night at church our preacher went over Nehemiah 4:1-9 where the work of the Lord's people was being verbally attacked and ridiculed, and their adversaries attempted to discourage them. The answer to this? Work all the harder (to build the wall in their case), and pray. We must stand fast and work hard, keeping our trust in and looking for our strength in God, when the scoffers come and they will if we are indeed doing the Lord's work. In our church, we sometimes have visitors who will come once or twice and then mock us for our conservative service, saying we can't build a church in today's times in that manner. We need to do this, and we need to do that (in other words, we need to entertain! HA!) No, we are going to continue doing things God's way, and not cater to the carnal flesh. Let them mock us! Our purpose is to glorify God, not bring pleasure to men. Having high church attendance numbers don't mean anything to God. What matters is that we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
I can see the letter didn't shake you, Praise God, but it is a terrible thing to be wrongfully accused of something.
Thank you for your ministry here on the web.
The answer to your son's question lies in the receiver's heart. You are right. It is one message being presented, but a variety of responses come as a result. That is the message of the parable of the sower (Luke 8:5-15). One type of seed is spread, but the difference response comes because of the different grounds on which it falls. Take a look at the lessons "Perceptions of God's Word" and "God's Wisdom" for passages to help you explain this to your son. In essence, God designed His message to bring to light what is buried deep in a person's spirit.
Don't worry about the challenges I receive. I expect them to come. But like you, I'm always amused and curious why people find it an affront to discover that others don't agree with them.
Excellent! Thank you so much. This shall be very helpful.