Are you a Christian?” That is one of the worst questions to ask someone when witnessing.
Why? Most people in America, without hesitation, would answer “Yes!” They attended church as a child. Their family identified as Christian. Some believe they are Christian simply because they live in America. But that is not the case.
A better approach is this: “Suppose God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ What reason would you give Him?” There are only a couple of possible answers. People are either trusting that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for their sins, or they are trusting in their own “good works” to save them.
Answers such as “I’m a good person” or “I’ve lived a good life” show the person does not rely on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but on what they alone can accomplish.
According to the Bible, that is not enough. In Ephesians 2, Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (vv. 8-9 NIV).
Dr. D. James Kennedy, founder of EE, used to say that you have to convince people they are lost before you can get them saved. And Christians, in name only, are some of hardest to share the Gospel with – unless, of course, the Holy Spirit is at work.
Start by defining the line between “good works” and grace. Ask the person, “Who gets the credit?” If I can save myself by my good works, then the glory goes to me. If Jesus does His part and I do my part through my good deeds, then the glory goes to both of us. However, if I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, then all the glory goes to God.
Ask permission to share what the Bible really says. Most people will agree to hear you out. Their yes gives you an open door to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ without distracting objections.
The conversation does not have to be long. Have a Gospel tract on hand to walk you through the process or leave it with the person to read and consider. Then ask the question that really matters: “Would you like to receive this free gift of eternal life?”