“But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)
John 20:31 is known as the “thesis” or purpose statement of the Book of John. He specifically indicates that this book was written so that people might believe in Christ. Consequently, it also tells us something about the work of scripture, and the way we should use it.
John indicates here that by hearing or reading this scripture, a person may believe, and come to have eternal life. This points first of all to the purpose of scripture: it was given to us so that faith might be created in our hearts as we interact with it.
Thus this also says something important about the way we should do evangelism. IT IS GOD’S WORD WHICH WILL CREATE FAITH IN HEARTS. Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” These scriptures were written for the purpose that people might believe. THIS is how faith arises — NOT from our most creative outreach gimmicks — but from hearing or reading God’s word.
So as Christian ministers and witnesses, we must put our confidence in the word of God. If a person is not saved by hearing and believing His word, then they will not be saved. In Luke 16, the rich man in hell was told that “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” Problems often arise on our part, when we are not patient enough, or become dissatisfied with the number of those apparently being saved through believing the word only, that we try to “gimmick” our way to achieve more of them. But we must realize, if we can “gimmick” a person into a “decision”, it is not genuine anyway. And the rolls of many churches have been inflated with names of folks who responded to some promotional “gimmick” instead of truly being converted by the word of God.
The bottom line is: it is God’s word which the Holy Spirit uses to create faith in the hearts of hearers. As Christian ministers and witnesses, we need to make sure that our confidence is not in our creativity or worldly enticements, but in what God promised would create faith in human hearts: His word.