This week I want to take a closer look at a couple evangelistic invitations that have become popular in the evangelical Church today. The first is “changed lives.” It may go something like, “Come to Jesus, and He'll change your life.”
For some people, a changed life would be a good and welcome thing. They have lots of problems, may feel the weight of their sin, and so putting their trust in Christ and having the Lord fix their mess would bring much relief. I have no complaints about appealing to needs people feel in this way.
For other people, they may see no need for change in their life at all. They may be quite well-to-do, have learned self-reliance, have been successful, have means, and have much this world has to offer. For them, they may see a “changed life” as a lateral move at best. Where's the upside for them?
Those who have no desire to change their life have sin, too. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and that includes them. The compelling issue is not, Do they need their life fixed? Instead, it's, Do they need an itinerary change in their eternal destination? Yes! A thousand times, Yes.
An exhortation to change one's life does not have universal appeal to the lost. “Changed lives” is an exhortation more compelling in hindsight to the saved than in the present to the lost. Those who have trusted in Jesus know that everyone is born spiritually destitute. We need to make sure we don't just see our salvation appeals through our own perspective, but also as how the lost would hear the message.
For those that know they are destitute, All Systems Go. Offer a changed life.
For the sake of those that do not recognize their spiritual destitution, don't depend on offering a “changed life” to be motivating for everyone to believe in Jesus.