The gospel of God creates a sense of needing the gospel. Paul says, “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled”—to whom? To those who behave immorally? No—“to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). By “unbelievers,” Paul means those who haven’t had the life of God created in them through personal redemption. As redemption creates the life of God in a human soul, it also creates the things belonging to that life, including a sense of needing the Lord. It is God who creates the need of which no human being is conscious until God manifests himself; nothing can satisfy the need but that which created the need. This is the meaning of redemption: it both creates and satisfies.

The majority of people have no sense of needing the gospel because they have morality and self–sufficiency well within their grasp. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). This is true, but God can’t give until we ask, and we won’t ask if we don’t feel a need. It isn’t that God withholds; this is simply how he has constituted things on the basis of the redemption. Through our asking, God sets a process in motion by which he creates what doesn’t exist until we ask. The inner reality of redemption is that it creates all the time.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). We preach our own experiences, and people are interested, but no sense of need is awakened. But when Jesus Christ is lifted up, the Spirit of God will create a conscious need of him. Behind the preaching of the gospel is the creative redemption of God at work in people’s souls. Personal testimony is never what saves: “The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63).

Wisdom from Oswald

The vital relationship which the Christian has to the Bible is not that he worships the letter, but that the Holy Spirit makes the words of the Bible spirit and life to him.  The Psychology of Redemption, 1066 L