The Lord, in His mercy, blessed me with a husband who gently and patiently introduced me to the doctrines of grace, and finally brought me to the idea of Irresistible Grace. We’ll examine this doctrine in a little more depth tomorrow, but today I want to explain why this doctrine means so much to me. I’ll begin by giving you the back story.
But first, let me clearly state that I don’t know what may have transpired between my mother and the Lord just before she died two years ago. I begin today’s article with that admission, lest you suppose that I’m arrogantly judging whether or not she was saved. The evidence available to me indicates that she rejected Biblical Christianity up until the end, but 3000 miles separated us during the last nine years of her life. She didn’t even tell me she had been on Hospice for three months, or that her cancer had returned, until four days before her death, so she might not have told me about any conversion to Christ she may have undergone.
As a new Christian in 1971, I witnessed to Mom constantly. I continued being a typical teenager, rebelling against her authority, and I indulged my sins of anger and selfishness well into my 40s (I lived with her most of my life). So she saw, more clearly than most people, my failure to practice what I preached.
Whenever we’d talk about the Lord, she’d pretty much say that she didn’t believe in heaven or hell and that the Bible, though inspirational and of tremendous literary importance, wasn’t God’s Word. Once, she declared that all my talk of Christ’s shed blood was rather gruesome.
At the time, I could only see that my hypocrisy kept Mom from “accepting” the Lord. I believed that God held me responsible for her salvation. Despite those convictions, I couldn’t seem to behave in a more Christlike manner, and I grew less bold in proclaiming the Gospel to her as years passed. I worried that I’d feel guilty if she died without coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If she went to hell, it would certainly be all my fault!
Yet my mom supported my Christianity, always making sure I did daily Bible reading, insisting that I give money to my church and letting us hold Tuesday night Bible Studies in her living room. Looking back, I believe she respected my faith. As imperfect as my witness was, obviously the Lord made sure that He showed Mom His presence in my life. Furthermore, in the five years before I moved to Massachusetts to marry John, He did help me model a lifestyle more consistent with a godly character. Still imperfect, mind you, but much better.
Have you noticed, in reading this blog entry, how often I’ve emphasized my actions? Yes, I did many things badly in my evangelistic efforts toward Mom, and I’ve confessed those sins with a repentant heart. But as God has exposed me to teachings on Irresistible Grace, He’s enabled me to understand that His effectual call would have brought her to salvation (and indeed may have done so) regardless of my sins and missteps. Although I had to confess those sins before Him, I also had to repent of believing that Mom’s salvation depended on anything I did.
In reality, He had exposed Mom to the Gospel long before she even met my dad, and He certainly made sure that she heard it several times from me and my friends. As I’ll show you tomorrow, when He calls a person to salvation, His Word gives that person the faith to respond to His call. Therefore, if He called Mom, even on her deathbed, nothing could have possibly prevented her from believing in Him. Conversely, if He didn’t call her, nothing I did could have given her saving faith.
God does command Christians to evangelize, both by declaring His Word and by living holy lives. But He makes it clear that only He does the actual saving. We can trust His sovereignty and wisdom, finding peace in knowing that He has prefect control.