1/24/10 Dennis, about 22
It can seem like people are too busy at grocery and department stores (not often true), but a great place to find people who have some extra time is in the magazine, book, and/or music departments. Today I went with Luke (teaching elder) to the grocery store and we found Dennis at the magazine racks. A lifelong Catholic, Dennis trusts in his positive attitude and actions, believing he has a good chance at heaven come judgment day, but "you can never know for sure". Dennis agreed that by God's standard he is a liar, thief, blasphemer, and a murderer and adulterer at heart; that God is just and demands a penalty for sin; that God is a good judge who won't accept any kind of good behavior as a bribe to ignore justice; and he agreed that one needs to repent and trust Jesus. Time to lead him in a "sinner's prayer" for salvation, right? I didn't think so. I saw intellectual ascent, but no heartfelt conviction. Better to let the Holy Spirit have time to work on Dennis' heart, than to lead him in a superficial prayer and give him a false assurance of salvation. Can we ever assure people of salvation? Only God knows what's in the heart, but we can point people to God's word, which tells us to "examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5) and to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil.2:11-13), - something the unbeliever isn't likely to do after the false assurance of salvation by a sincere but mislead Christian.