1 Peter 1:1: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
The Bible makes it clear that Christians are strangers, living in a strange land. That is, we are in this world, but not of this world.
As strangers, we will be in the midst of strange customs and strange language. Some of the strange language will sound very much like ours, but may mean something entirely different.
Following are some examples of statements and questions in “native language” that you WILL hear, if you are listening for them:
- I believe in eternal life by grace, through faith in Christ, but ….
- It’s not faith and works, it’s faith that works.
- I think a person will change once he is saved. That was my experience.
- A “true believer” cannot go on practicing sin.
- The book of 1 John is a series of tests to provide secondary validation of faith.
- You can tell whether or not someone is a Christian by whether or not they are bearing fruit.
- Can a person who is “practicing” ___________ (insert sin) really be a Christian?
The above phrases have several possible translations, including
- I don’t believe the gospel. I never have.
- I don’t believe the gospel. I once did, but have fallen from grace.
- I believe the gospel, but I have incorporated the native language into mine.
- I believe the gospel, but I have substituted my experience for biblical truth.
- I am a babe in Christ, and have not yet learned that ALL of these statements and questions can be used to undermine the gospel
Anytime we hear the kinds of native language set forth above, God has given us an opportunity for witnessing or teaching – just the kind of “open doors” for which Christians often pray.
We cannot know whether the person using native language is saved or not. But, it would be reckless to assume they are.
And, just as with everyone whom we encounter, we can’t possibly know if there will be another opportunity. It is urgent that they hear the truth.
 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Please note that “redeeming the time” does not include compromising with people who are intent on remaining in error and in teaching it to other people. We MUST NOT let people think we are “on the same page” when we are not.
Following are some of the tactics that people who are intent on remaining in error will use. They will:
- Soften their position, and then expect you to reciprocate by softening yours
- Ignore the answers you gave to their previous questions, by introducing new questions
- Re-state your position in a disingenuous manner
- Appeal to other people, when they can’t refute with scripture what you have told them
These tactics are all intended to get you to compromise. Remember, the gospel is not yours to compromise.
If you would like to know how to have eternal life, or would like to know how to explain it to other people, click here: THE GOSPEL