I describe myself as “an unashamed follower of Jesus Christ.” I believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died for our sins, was buried, and he rose again. We commonly call this “The Gospel.” To be even more specific, I believe the Bible.
I recognize that everyone does not share my faith. I have found only two reasons that people hear the Gospel message and reject it:
The first reason people reject Christ is that they simply don’t want to deal with His message. Yes, the Gospel is a message of hope. Believe Jesus died for your sins; turn from your sins; ask the Lord to save you; and He will save you. This will guarantee you peace and purpose for this life and eternal life in heaven.
But the Gospel message is also a message of judgment. You see, everyone does not want to turn from their sins. Some people—probably most people—LIKE their sins! They clearly understand that to turn to Christ means to turn away from their sins. In short, if someone comes to Christ, they have to be willing to let the Lord begin changing them on the inside. Not everyone wants to be changed!
This man is very much like the person who sees the “check engine” light in his car. This light is telling him he has engine problems. Rather than fix the engine, he breaks the light. In the short term he feels better driving the car, as the “check engine” light is no longer flashing and bothering him. But this is certainly not a good long-term plan! In all my years as a pastor, I have had very little success trying to bring to Christ someone who didn’t want their life to change. In fact, I can’t remember any success.
But there is a second reason that some people reject the message of the Gospel. Some people simply, genuinely don’t believe it. Maybe they don’t believe that Jesus is who He said He was. Maybe they can’t grasp that there is only one way to God. Or maybe they are skeptical about the existence of God altogether. It isn’t so much that they are holding on to their sins. They may have made a mess of their lives and sincerely want to see it change. But they have just not been persuaded that the Gospel is true and that Jesus can be the Source of that change. If you know someone like this (or if you ARE someone like this), I would give you these verses:
“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority.” (John 7:17 NKJV)
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
For anyone who truly wants to know what the truth is, I encourage you to start reading the Bible. Stop listening to preachers. Stop reading skeptics. Just read the Bible. A good book of the Bible to start with is the Gospel of John. And each time you read it, pray a prayer something like this:
“God, if the Bible is truly your revelation to us, please show me as I read it. I open my mind and my heart to accepting anything you reveal to me as truth. I am simply asking you to show me if this Christianity stuff—this Bible stuf–is true. Amen!”
Are you reluctant or afraid to do this? WHY?