I was watching a video with John Gerstner and he was explaining the parallel between his job as a teenager in a factory where he had to separate different metals into different boxes. Copper goes into one box, steel goes into another box, etc. He got the idea to grab a large industrial-powered magnet to pull out the magnetic material to speed up the process a bit. He made a parallel to the message of the Gospel and said that he never thought that he’d still be running a magnet around for those who are predisposed to be drawn to it. I’d like to dig into this analogy.
There are tons of different metals – copper, iron, titanium, iron, gold, silver, aluminum – but not all of them are magnetic. You can sit there with a magnet all you want, but it’s not going to be attracted to it. There is nothing inside the metal that will attract it to the magnet. The magnetic metals will always be attracted to the magnet. Sometimes, though, when you’re pulling up the magnet through all the different metals, some of the metal will fall off of the magnet. Luckily for that metal, just because it fell off the magnet doesn’t mean it is no longer magnetic. It is still magnetic and will have another chance to come out of the box when the magnet comes back through.
As humans, we live in a world full of magnetic (elect) and nonmagnetic (non-elect) metals, but we are all born in the same state – nonmagnetic. No matter how much the magnet (Gospel) filters through, none of us are attracted to it. The Holy Spirit comes into our lives, due to no work, will, or energy of our own, and puts an electric charge in us and suddenly the next time the Gospel comes through the box, we are attracted to it, and not only that, it is pulling us to it. We cling on to the Gospel with all of our might, and it is pulling us up through all the people who do not have that disposition toward the Gospel. Sometimes we get caught up in the world and we let go and fall back into our sinful ways. We can even fall all the way back to where we started, but thanks be to God, he does not remove our magnetic properties. The Gospel will continue pulling us to Christ, and we will eventually grab back on and be carried up to be with Him who calls.
This is the goal of evangelism. We are called to be the magnet that God uses to call, justify, sanctify and finally glorify His elect. We have the easy job. All we have to do is run the magnet through the box, and those whom God eternally predestines to give an electric-magnetic charge to will be pulled to the magnet and held tight and will be seen through to the end, and thanks be to God that he does.
On this Pentecost Sunday, let us always remember the work that the Holy Spirit did in our lives to change our hearts to be attracted to the magnetic Gospel. Let us thank Him for entering us and effectually calling us to Him. We did nothing to deserve such grace and mercy, but that’s what makes it grace and mercy, isn’t it? Something unearned but that we are eternally grateful for.