Convinced May Not Mean Changed, Evans Olang

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Acts 26:28, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”  

confrontation

To come close but feel like it’s still far is a test we all face. This happens to me many times when I evangelize, there are people who seem to be close but in reality still far, very raw. For those who appear close, we are often tempted to close the deal, ask them to say the sinner’s prayer and proclaim them believers. I see this many times when reports are given of hundreds or thousands of people making decisions to follow Christ through crusades, meetings etc. And my thought, how was the gospel presented and how many of those are truly saved (God saved them). Could it be possible that we are dealing with almost persuaded, people convinced but not changed when 80-90% of those who make a profession of faith fall away? That is the question.

The Apostle Paul was before king Agrippa, he had given his testimony, Festus the governor had tried to shut him down accusing him of too much learning that had made him mad. Paul had gone back to declare the same message Moses and the prophets would have agreed to making known that he was not speaking of anything new. None of these were strange or unknown to king Agrippa, in fact Apostle confirms it to him and those present in vs. 26. These were all convincing facts through history and Torah including the big one denied, the resurrection of Christ, 1Corinthians 15. But is the convincing all we need to declare people saved? Paul in writing to Timothy reminds him of how the scriptures made him wise in preparation for salvation, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”, 2Timothy 3:15. The Scriptures does the convincing, God does the saving through that which He has convinced with.

King Agrippa was convinced even though he may have tried to silence his conscious. His eyes had been opened, what he knew made him accountable, however his actions shows he rejected it. Acts 26:28 reads, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” This was like almost being married but not. Almost is never good enough. Almost like being on the finish line but not crossing it or schooling but not graduating. The king thought this was something by his power he could make it work or not until Paul said, I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains”, Acts 26:29. He appealed to the power of God to convict and convert. Salvation is the gift and the work of God but we must cast ourselves into the able hands who has opened our eyes to the truth.

“A world that lies in wickedness must be sanctified and reformed; it is not enough for them to have their eyes opened, they must have their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, but they must be turned from the power of Satan unto God, Agrippa saw a great deal of reason for Christianity. His understanding and judgment were for the time convinced, but his heart was not changed. And his conduct and temper were widely different from the humility and spirituality of the gospel. Many are almost persuaded to be religious, who are not quite persuaded; they are under strong convictions of their duty, and of the excellence of the ways of God, yet do not pursue their convictions. Paul urged that it was the concern of every one to become a true Christian; that there is grace enough in Christ for all. He expressed his full conviction of the truth of the gospel, the absolute necessity of faith in Christ in order to salvation“, Matthew Henry.

Are you convinced of the truth and not converted? Are you almost like king Agrippa but your heart is still hard to bend your knees to God in repentance and faith for salvation?  Your hope is not on “Almost”, you need to “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you”, Acts 8:22 as Peter told Simon the Sorcerer. What is repentance?  It is taking sides with God that you are not a good person only playing religious games and turn away from your sins and place your trust in God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to save you. You must humble yourself, be done with self. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble James 4:6. Blessings, Ev

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