I was baffled recently when I heard calls to raise hands to receive Christ. Others eyes were to remain closed to not cause shame to those who were raising their hands. I was even more baffled to hear “Congratulations” shouted out to those who stepped forward, as if they have “accomplished” a great thing by their own might, their own capacity of understanding the eloquent rethorics!
What followed next was a you’re-one-of-us-now pat in the back, or a you-made-the-right-decision mentality.
It reminded me of the catch phrase, I had once heard: “salvation is free, but you have to decide.” So if we tell someone that they’re free, they’re not free until they have decided? And later one they can boast in themselves that they were smart enough to make the right decisions?
I wonder how many congratulations went to those who received the Holy Spirit in Peter’s days. I mean, really? Is salvation really by man’s own choosing, man’s own capacity of understanding?
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” (Acts 10:44)
This is what is to follow after the genuine and simple gospel is proclaimed and those who were to rejoice in it by God’s mercy gladly received it that day:
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48)