When the precious gospel of our Lord is presented with sincerity and effectiveness, it appeals to the 1) mind, the 2) heart, and the 3) will of the hearer. Intellectually, the recipient is enabled to perceive the wondrous message as though painted on canvass by a skilled artist. It begins to take shape, fit together, to make sense as the hearer “gets the picture.” The honest hearer of the gospel message reaches a point where he can exclaim with the apostle, “Now I perceive!” (Acts 10:34). And when it dawns upon the honest soul who has been eagerly hearing the message of salvation, he is convinced because it makes sense. It is a message of rationality, which appeals to his mind.
And, the presentation of the gospel appeals to the human heart. It stirs our emotions and proceeds to persuade us that the way of the cross is right. Like the disciples who conversed with our Lord on the road to Emmaus, our “heart burns within us” as the scriptures are opened unto us. This appeal to the heart may be accompanied by great joy and other emotions, but it is grounded in reason, in fact.
And having perceived the truth of the gospel, and having been persuaded to render initial obedience thereunto, the new creature “goes on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39): growing, maturing, and living out the Christian live. It is a process of growth and faithful development. It involves becoming what our Lord called perfect, (Mt. 5:48). The stubborn will at last has yielded, and the hearer is a faithful child of God.
Perception, persuasion and perfection. The three avenues of the gospel’s appeal in a person’s life. And when all three are accomplished, we have that blessed hope of reward in our heavenly home.
In the few weeks ahead we are going to be looking at how the power of God’s word brings these accomplishments and blessings to the Christian life. We want to examine not only how God’s word provides the glimpses we need to see his glory, but the power to persuade us to change our worldly lives and live fully for Him. I hope these lessons will be as helpful and thrilling to you as they have been to me!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.