God? Ummm…yeah. What’s for dinner?
“Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” (Psalm 96:2)
So I’ve changed the focus of my blog. Whereas before I was often taking a stand for or against something, now I’m channeling my efforts into helping the seeking unbeliever believe, by addressing common hindrances to and misunderstandings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I still see myself as an amateur apologist defending the faith, but if I present a strong case yet no one is moved closer to God, what have I gained? Good apologetics is crucial, but many are outside of the Kingdom of God for reasons other than a rejection of the validity of the Christian faith, and they are the ones I want to speak to now. And hopefully break down some of the barriers that keep them from believing the Gospel and receiving the eternal life God promises to all who do.
Of course, there are some who reject the whole idea of God. I’m not going to address them. Neither will I speak to the agnostic who acknowledges that there may be a God but is not convinced. I have already argued for the existence of God in multiple posts, and you can read them here. I want to talk to those who when asked if they believe there is a God, would answer in the affirmative, but for one reason or another could not be said to be true believers.
Each individual is unique, and their life circumstances unique to them as well. So I don’t want to oversimplify the reasons why people are far from God. But certainly for some, their busy lifestyles influenced by a culture that promotes and celebrates worldly endeavors and pleasures, hold at bay any serious consideration of who God is and what he may require of them. They just don’t think about him. And if he happens to creep into their thoughts, they experience no compulsion or need to entertain him there, and don’t even notice when he slips away.
I wonder what excuse such an individual would offer if he died in this condition and God asked him why he disregarded him. “Wasn’t it your responsibility as my Creator to take care of me? How was I supposed to know I had to do anything?” Would he dare say something like that? Would he assert, “If you wanted me to pay more attention to you, you should have told me so”?
God’s love, mercy, and grace are why many of these disregarders suffer pain and trials in their lifetime. God knows that’s the only way he’s going to get their attention. He knows that, for many, if their lives are consistently pleasant and trouble-free, they will not seek him or know that they still need him. They will take him for granted as the one who brought them into being and now owes them a living, not recognizing that their flippant attitude is just one of many sins that will condemn them to an eternal separation from him if they never repent. Is not temporal suffering worth it if it results in eternal bliss? As C.S. Lewis put it, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” 1
Are disregarders deaf? I believe so, but by their own choosing. And blind as well. The Bible says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20) Creation testifies to the existence and nature of God, and he uses it to call us to seek him, if we will just look. He also speaks to us through his Word, other people, and our own thoughts, if we will just listen.
To the one who has no time or concern for God, I implore you to consider the uncertainty of your future. You may die tonight and find yourself with no excuse as you stand before the God who says, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.” (Isaiah 65:1) You need not fear; no matter who you are or what you’ve done, God is ready to forgive you and adopt you as his child. Just as in the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15, God rejoices, and all of heaven as well, over every sinner who repents.
You are a sinner in need of a Savior, just like every single one of us. Disregarding that fact, and the One before whom we must give an account, is a careless way to live that endangers your eternal destiny, and robs you of true satisfaction and fulfillment in this life. Jesus took your sins and mine on himself when he submitted to death on a cross. Our part in the salvation mystery is simply to believe and receive it as a gift, submitting to the One who submitted for us.
This is a very powerful and moving demonstration of the Gospel at work in people’s lives. If you’re unsure about what the Cross is all about, I urge you to watch it. It may be the most important 28 minutes you’ve every spent.
1 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (San Francisco, Harper Collins, 2001)