Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 3, 1963

Anxiety For Souls

Robert C. Welch

Anxiety for the unsaved is a normal Christian's impulse. Some seem to think that if a Christian shows any care and serious concern for the person who is out of Christ, he has become unreasonable and a fanatic. Let us be assured, however, that it is a completely normal reaction to be found in the true Christian. A Christian's efforts to help the erring brother and the friend involved in religious error should not be condemned; such efforts should be accepted graciously and should have the most sincere and cordial encouragement of other Christians.

"And I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more abundantly, am I loved the less." (2 Corinthians 12:15)

Many stifle this anxiety until they seem to become cold and dead to any feeling of concern for the lost and erring. This may develop as a result of a selfish indifference to all but the personal relationships. It may come from a pride and vainglory in external pageantry and display of religion. It may be the result of a misconception that to manifest any kind of emotion or feeling in religion is out of place. This over-control and loss of such anxiety will destroy the Christian spiritually, and if found in the church generally, it will kill the church. Lukewarmness will cause the Lord to spew us out of his mouth. (Rev. 3:16) We need to stir up our holy, righteous, and compassionate impulses, which God supplies through teaching, by exercising ourselves unto godliness.

Coextensive with the joy of salvation and the knowledge of God should be the urge to share this joy and knowledge with others. This is found in those who have been newly converted to Christ. But with some, the new wears off, and they lose their fervor to tell the story of the cross. It would do them good to meditate on the lessons in the parables of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, The Prodigal Son. There was rejoicing when that which was lost was found. But they seem to grow indifferent to the sin and error about them, and show no anxiety for those who are ensnared therein. It is the old, old story; but it is ever new to the genuine Christian.

Lead me to some soul today;

0 teach me, Lord, just what to say;

Friends of mine are lost in sin, And cannot find their way.

Few there are who seem to care, And few there are who pray;

Melt my heart and fill my life:

Give me one soul today.

— Will H. Houghton It is important that the proper speech always be employed in gaining them to righteousness. The Lord says: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one." (Col. 4:6) "And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will." (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Wherefore, surely, let not the alien or the erring despise the Christian for his earnest care for lost and wayward souls. Neither let the cold and unfeeling Christian condemn his brother for such a sincere feeling of anxiety and zealous effort in trying to win the wayward.

Christ Jesus is the supreme example of such holy concern for the sinning, erring and dying among the human race. The inspired record says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." With yearning heart he cried, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Let us follow him, who endured the cross, despising shame, for us.

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