Devotional – ‘No “Write-Offs”’ (18 March 2018)

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear…” (Isaiah 59:1 ESV)

Is there a person or group of people that have been so wicked, so stubbornly resistant to the Gospel, that we have considered them a “write-off”? These would be people that we think are beyond saving, or at least, we don’t hold out much hope for them. Thankfully, the decision of “who will be in and who will be out” isn’t in our hands!

We must not “write-off” people as unsaveable, or likely not to be saved. We sometimes tend to do that: we think so and so is such a “so and so” that he or she can’t be saved. We might even avoid these folks, thinking it is useless or pointless to continue to interact with them. However, we must remember that with God, all things are possible. We have ample enough testimony (if we but think of it) in our own experiences, even in our own congregation, of the saving work of Christ reaching down to those who to all appearance and reckoning, were “beyond hope”! Thankfully, we aren’t in charge of God’s agenda. “The Spirit blows where He wills,” Jesus told Nicodemus, and we must be minded that while there is the breath of life in a person, there is hope. So, we must pray and labour on with the Gospel, sharing the good news with them, praying that the Lord would open their hearts to the Word.

We must not “write-off” people as unsaveable, or likely not to be saved.

John Newton, in one of his letters, writing to a lady who lamented being around unsaved people and hoped to get away from them, said,

“I would wish when you go amongst your friends, that you do not confine your views to getting safe away from them without loss, but entertain a hope that you may be sent to do some of them good. You cannot tell what effect a word or a look may have, if the Lord is pleased to bless it. I think we may humbly hope, that while we sincerely desire to please the Lord, and to be guided by him in all things, he will not suffer us to take a journey, or hardly to make a short visit, which shall not answer some good purpose to ourselves or others, or both. While your … friends affect an air of raillery, the Lord may give you a secret witness in their consciences; and something they observe in you, or hear from you, may set them on thinking perhaps after you are gone, or after the first occasion has entirely slipped your memory; Eccles. 11:1.

For my own part, when I consider the power, the freedom of Divine Grace, and how sovereign the Lord is in the choice of the instruments and means by which he is pleased to work, I live in hopes from day to day of hearing of wonders of this sort. I despair of nobody: and if I sometimes am ready to think such or such a person seems more unlikely than others to be brought in, I relieve myself by a possibility that that very person, and for that very reason, may be the first instance. The Lord’s thoughts are not like ours: in his love and in his ways there are heights which we cannot reach, depths which we cannot fathom, lengths and breadths beyond the ken of our feeble sight. Let us then simply depend upon Him, and do our little best, leaving the event in his hand.”