“Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.”
Salvation is a free gift given to man from God. Jesus Christ became a man and offered Himself as a willing sacrifice on the altar of Calvary, in order to pay mankind’s debt and wash away all sin. This salvation, while freely given, must be received. John wrote,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”
When we recognize we are sinners and Christ is the Savior, and we put our trust in His work on the cross to save us, our sins are washed, and we become the adopted children of God. This is an individual decision. It is not something we can make for another. Parents cannot receive Christ for their children or children for their parents. As much as we may desire for our spouse, siblings or neighbors to receive Christ, we cannot force them to make that decision. Coercion, manipulation, nor brute force, are the methods that will save a soul. That being said, Solomon exhorts us to do what we can to deliver those who are heading toward death and destruction.
There are many things we can do to influence the decision of another. First, we must make the decision ourselves. A very common, and unsuccessful parenting method, might be called the “do as I say, not as I do” method. Often, parents put standards on their children which they do not follow. A parent who commonly uses profanity, will chastise a child who uses it. However, that parent will find, as the child grows, they will talk much as their parent does. The same is true of relationship with Christ. Jesus explained, we are the light of the world. People are watching, and as they see a life committed to Christ, they too, will be drawn to Him.
Second, we must pray for those who have not yet decided to receive Christ. Prayer is the most powerful and least used weapon in winning others to Christ. It is through prayer we will see hearts soften, doors open, and the message of the Gospel take root. When praying for our loved ones, pray that whatever the enemy is using to blind their eyes to their need for Christ, would be removed. Pray, just as you saw your need for Christ, they would see their’s. Pray they would come to church or outreach events with you, and they would make a decision to surrender to Christ. Pray right now!
Third, we must share the truth. Paul explained that the Gospel is the power of God that will lead to salvation (Romans1:16). It is important to be loving, kind, friendly, considerate, compassionate and relatable, but if we do not share the message of the cross, people will have no idea why we are the way we are. Paul declared, he desired to know nothing among others except Christ and Him crucified (1Corinthians 2:2). In other words, it was of the highest importance to him, to explain to others the way of salvation. Sometimes, the best way to do that is over a meal or a coffee. Other times, it may be through inviting someone to church, or after church to invite them to bring their questions to the pastors. We might send them a CD of a morning message, or a link to a live feed or last weeks Bible study. Whatever door the Lord opens, be sure to take it.
While salvation is the decision of every individual, let’s be sure to do our best to influence them to decide for Christ.
Questions for Proverbs 24
1. Why is it foolish to be envious of the wicked?
2. First 10 seems to state the obvious, yet it is the times when our strength fails that we learn to understand our need for God. What do you need strength from the Lord for to face today? Pray for that right now.
3. What do we learn about the righteous on verse 16?
4. What do verses 28-29 teach about relationship with others?
5. Choose a favorite verse from this chapter and write out your thoughts on how to apply it to your life