“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:13-15 ESV).
It has been said that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (attribution of the quote is controversial). Never has the saying been more true than when applied to the Gospel.
If I were to have discovered a cure for cancer, yet kept the information to myself, what sort of person would I be? If it came to light that I had withheld this information for years, allowing millions to die horrible and agonizing deaths, I would be held on par with Hitler.
Yet every day that passes untold numbers of people die in their sins while I contemplate the will of God for my life. Millions go to the grave having never heard the gospel while I mull over the meaning of “Go ye therefore….”
Not everyone is called to full-time ministry. Even fewer are called to do the work of an evangelist or missionary. But we are all called to be witnesses. We are all called to reach those within our sphere of influence. Even the worst of people would on condemn us for withholding a cure for cancer; yet we often think it nothing to withhold a cure for a much deadlier malady, sin.
It seems that even the apostle Paul may have struggled with this issue at times. “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17 ESV). There is no doubt that Paul preached the gospel everywhere he went. But perhaps at times it wasn’t always his will to do so. I find this easy to understand. He faced death every time he opened his mouth for the sake of the gospel.
Most of us face nothing anywhere near that kind of consequence. Embarrassment… perhaps. Ridicule… possibly. Stoning, beheading, crucifixion…not so much.
We are entrusted with the greatest treasure ever, a treasure that increases when given away! By keeping it for ourselves we are devaluing its bounty. Paul told us that as we share the gospel with others, “grace extends to more and more people” and that it will “increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God”. Spreading the wealth of the good news of Jesus, extending His grace to others makes us and our hearers thankful and brings glory to God.
Whether we share our faith out of desire, or out of obedience and compulsion, really isn’t relevant. We believe, therefore we speak.