12/5/10 Jose, about 65
In the parking lot at Home Depot I used a MDB tract as a conversation starter with an older man named Jose, and quickly found out he has been a long-time member of the main location of my church, so although we hadn't met before we knew a lot of people in common and it seemed like we were brothers in the Lord. Yet I've learned not to take the salvation of others for granted, but to ask some key questions that help me know where their faith is at. I asked how he knows he would go to heaven on judgment day. He told me he can't know for sure, but believes he is a good enough person and has been a faithful church member. Why is it so hard to say "Because of Jesus my sins are forgiven!" or something like that? I know that's what is preached at our church. I've also learned not to take an answer like Jose's at face value - it could mean one of three things: 1.) He really is a believer in Jesus alone for salvation, but has gotten confused by the temptation to trust in Jesus + good works; 2.) He sees his own good works as evidence that his faith in Jesus is real and God is at work in his heart; or 3.) He really does think that his good works have earned favor with God for salvation. Unfortunately for Jose, I believe his faith is in his own good works and, judging from the way he dismissed my talk of faith in Christ alone, he seems to have somehow been inoculated against the true gospel.