There have been relatively few times during my missionary career when I have had the joyful opportunity to witness a person actually coming to Christ. Ultimately, only God can see the heart, but there are times when a person’s outward response to the Gospel leaves little doubt that they have been born again.
Today I witnessed just such a rebirth in my own living room.
Several months ago, a man named Vasyl began attending our English Club here in L’viv. It was evident from the beginning that God was working in his heart, and he asked lots of questions about the Lord. On two prior occasions we had extended conversations during which I explained the Gospel to him in detail. Although he seemed very open, it just didn’t quite penetrate.
Last night after English Club, Vasyl, who works as a taxi driver, drove Jessie home since Jessie’s van is currently in the shop. Jessie called me later that night and said that they had had a great conversation and that Vasyl seemed to really be searching for answers. Due to the language barrier, their ability to communicate was limited so Jessie suggested that Vasyl come and meet with me today. I later called Vasyl and we agreed that he would come to my house.
He arrived around 3:30 or so, and we talked for over three hours. During the course of our conversation we read many passages of Scripture including Romans 4:4-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 10:1-10, Philippians 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, and others. He hung on every word, and after about an hour or so, the lights came on. As I went through the basics of imputed righteousness and the contrast between faith and works, his eyes lit up. He exclaimed over and over how he had never understood this before, how a weight had suddenly fallen from his shoulders, and how he could barely keep from weeping.
Finally, when I was convinced he had really understood, I gave him the test questions.
“Vasyl, if you were to stand before God today, and He asked you on what legal basis you should be admitted to heaven, what would you say?”
Without hesitation he replied, “Because Jesus died for me.”
I pressed further, “Yes, but you’re a sinner. What is to be done about your sin?”
“Jesus paid for my sins and has given me His righteousness.”
Now I was the one who could barely keep from weeping. With great joy in my heart I said to him, “Vasyl, if you have believed what you just told me sincerely from your heart, then on the authority of the Scriptures, all your sins are forgiven and God has granted you everlasting life.” We talked for a while longer and towards the end we prayed together, thanking God for His provision of salvation through Christ.
The Vasyl that walked out the front door of my house today is not the same one that came in. I started out to have a chat with a friend, and I ended by embracing a brother. Rejoice with me today: a sinner has come home!
“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”