I think the parable of the sower or parable of the soils in Matthew 13 provides us in a very meaningful way the reasons to this very intriguing question. At the fore is satan himself who takes the seed that falls on the beaten path. The soil is so hard, the seed cannot germinate because the soil is packed, and Jesus said when the Gospel is broadcast to the world, some seed falls on that packed soil and the evil one comes and snatches it away before it can germinate. 2 Cor. 4:4 calls the evil one or satan, the god of this world. He has blinded the eyes of the unbelieving that they may not see the glory of God in the face of Christ. We go out into the world; we pray, we leave tracts; we visit the sick in hospitals; we hold evangelistic crusades, and the great mystery is when we present the Gospel so clearly – we tell people Jesus loves them, He died for, and whosoever will can be saved, that they can have eternal life, that they can have the free forgiveness of sin, they can have a purpose in life, they can have peace that passes all understanding, the great mystery is why some people can afford to reject such an offer from God?
But there are 3 other kinds of soils, and in all my life as a Christian, i’ve been told over and over that “if you just prayed this prayer; if you just receive Christ and no matter what happens you go to heaven when you die”. We’ve heard that message preached all our lives, but look at vs. 20 “and the seed which fell on the rocky places”, this is the man who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy – yes it germinates, yes the plant comes out, there is greenery yet has no firm roots in himself, only temporarily. When affliction or persecution arises, immediately he falls away. This is shocking to those of us who always hear “if you only believe”, “if you only receive”, “if you only commit”, “if you only sign this… you’ve got the promises of God”. Because that’s a big, big lie from hell. “in that day many will say to me Lord, Lord didn’t we do many miracles in your Name; cast out demons in your Name; preached in your Name?” Jesus whirls on that group and says, “depart from me you accursed for I have never known.” I believe it’s possible to have a facade of religiosity, even an active ministry; successful ministry that calls on Jesus’ Name and yet does not belong to Him. We watch tv programs and even in the radio that claim to be from Christ , and all they have is money-making schemes that tell you to send money. If you send money, you will receive blessings but if you don’t you will receive sickness or financial setbacks or a plague or something. We are surrounded by spirituality that is false, and if we don’t know our Bible well enough, we won’t know the difference. This man received it with joy; temporary belief and fell away.
Look at the next one, vs. 22, the seed that fell among the thorns. This is the man who hears the Word, but the worries of the world and deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. Is it really possible that if we focus on the initial decision and totally ignore the call for a changed life that there is a biblical possibility that nothing happened at the decision? YES absolutely! If you go through Romans 3:24; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9, it says salvation is free. Yes, however, we have to realize that the Bible presents truths in tension-filled pairs to keep us in the middle. Salvation is absolutely free in the finished work of Jesus Christ but salvation costs everything that you are and have from the day that you freely received it until the day Jesus comes again and takes you unto Himself. And what we’ve missed is the call for daily sacrificial discipleship. We just want to come to church every Sunday and go home for the rest of the week live our own lives, and we call ourselves Christians? I believe eternal life has observable characteristics.
Now, look at this last verse; the one on whom the seed was sown in the .good soil. This is the man who hears the word and understands it. Who indeed bears fruit and brings forth some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty. All the 3 soils on whom the seed fell germinated, but this last kind of soil has it seed bore fruit and much more fruit. I guess the important thing to remember is that salvation is a contract or a covenant between a sovereign God and a responsible human being. What starts in repentance and faith must issue in a lifestyle of repentance and faith. What starts as a gospel seed must, must, must turn into gospel fruit. The evidence of true salvation is not how high you jump, or how much you cry. the evidence of a true salvation is Christlikeness. It’s not enough to say “yes”, you must live that “yes”. (cf. Matt. 13:1-23)