If Our Conversion Is Preordained, Where Is The Place of Preaching?

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Hi M____,

Thank you for your question concerning the place of preaching in the maturing process of a child of God.

You say you read an article on the website which said we become born again when God in His sovereignty brings us to our knees via the circumstances of life. Then you ask me “Where is the place of preaching?” Then you quoted two scriptures:

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

The answer to your question is that preaching is just the first step in the process of our salvation. The original twelve disciples of Christ are our example of how we hear and accept the preaching of Christ, typified by the feast of the passover, long before we are converted and experience our own day of pentecost.

Christ was offered up for our sins after three and a half years of preaching the gospel to and with His original 12 disciples. During that time his twelve disciples heard the preaching of the kingdom of God, and they were even sent out to preach the gospel, yet the preaching of the gospel by itself did not convert them or those who heard their preaching.

Here is what they did during that three and a half years of both hearing and even preaching the gospel:

Mar 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

Later Christ sent out seventy by twos to preach the gospel of the kingdom:

Luk 10:8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
Luk 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

The kingdom of God comes ‘near unto us’ when we first hear the gospel, but what is the spiritual condition of all of Christ’s disciples who first hear the gospel and actually believe on Christ? This was the spiritual condition of Peter after three and a half years of hearing the preaching of Christ Himself. Here are Christ’s words to Peter the very day of His apprehension of the Jews:

Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Here is Peter three and a half years after hearing and even preaching the gospel, and we are told by our Lord Himself that Peter is not yet even converted. Do these words contradict the verses you quoted:

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

If we are “save[d]… by the foolishness of preaching” how can anyone say the humbling circumstances of life have anything to do with our conversion and eventual salvation? Is it not clear that Peter and the other apostles were not yet converted, even though they had heard the preaching of Christ for years?

But someone will contend that this is only because the holy spirit had not yet been given to the twelve apostles, and therefore those who accepted Christ after the day of Pentecost were saved as soon as they heard the preaching of the gospel and believed on Christ and repeated a ten second ‘sinner’s prayer’. But is that true? Here is what the apostle Paul informs us of our spiritual condition immediately after hearing and accepting the gospel. Notice what is said of us after we have been called to be saints, and after being sanctified and after we are told that we came behind in no spiritual gift.

Here is that statement right at the beginning of the first epistle to the Corinthians:

1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
1Co 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Is it even possible to be ‘sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be a saint, have the grace of God given by Jesus Christ, have the testimony of Christ confirmed in us, come behind in no spiritual gift, and yet be an unconverted, carnal babe in Christ’? If hearing the preaching of the gospel is all that is needed to save us, then surely all these added blessings must surely prove us to be saved.

But what do the scripture reveal about these “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”, Corinthians? The third chapter of this epistle tells us this of these very same Corinthian Christians:

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

It is now obvious that there is such a thing as a “carnal… babe in Christ”, who is “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be [a] saint…given… the grace of God, have the testimony of Christ, and come behind in no gift [and still be a] yet carnal… babe in Christ”.

So “where then is the place of preaching?” It is plain that we are indeed saved by “the foolishness of preaching”, but is not that very preaching to include all of “the Word”? The answer is, yes, any true preacher who is sent by Christ to preach the gospel will “preach the Word”:

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

It is “the Word” we are commanded to preach, which tells us that we enter the kingdom of God only “through much tribulations… so as by fire… [and through] suffer[ing] with [Christ].

Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

That ‘fire’ which saves us is the same as the preaching by which we are saved, because both are “the Word”:

Jer 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.

It is ‘the Word’ which tells us of all the fiery trials of life which will cause us to cry out for our salvation because it is “the Word” Who “makes [even our] wicked” man for Himself and who is “working all things after the counsel of His own will”:

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

I hope all these verses of scripture have served to demonstrate that God has given mankind an experience of evil to humble us and to bring us to see our need for a Savior through the foolishness of preaching the Word.

Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.

Your brother who, with you, must enter the kingdom of God “through much tribulation”:


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