3/8/12 Jose, about 30
I walked through a park with a prayer on my lips; that I could share the Gospel with someone who is one of the "elect" whom God has chosen for salvation. As a new believer years ago, I would have thought this crazy - had not I chosen God? Had I not decided to "accept Jesus in my heart"? But the more I share the Gospel the more I am convinced that salvation and all that leads to it - repentence and faith in Jesus - is a gift of God graciously given to those whom He has chosen. "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:5-6) That being said, however, I also believe that the identity of these "elect" is not often obvious. Many of those chosen by God for salvation are at present non-believers. God is waiting to show his glory by performing a miracle in their hearts like he did for those of us who already believe. These "pre-believers" think, speak, and act like non-believers because that is what they are right now. Yet it seems like some people, including Jose, a man I met just after praying the above-mentioned prayer, are destined for salvation. Jose was happy to talk about his beliefs, and clearly falls into the "I think my good deeds will outweigh the bad deeds I have done" category. So why do I feel he is destined for salvation? I think maybe because, as he shared his history of moving from a nominally Catholic family to atheism and now back to being what I would call an active seeker and lover of God, I see a trajectory in his life that is leading him ever closer to a saving faith in Jesus. As I shared the Gospel as best as I could, I could see his strong interest and acceptance of biblical truths he clearly had never heard before. Yet not only the fact of his salvation but also its timing is in God's sovereign hands, and I believe God wants to include the active prayers of the saints in that process, so please, by all means, pray for Jose!