What If They Do Not Believe?
Do you have someone very close to you that does not believe in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life?
It is my own opinion that many Christians, whether they are starting their walk with Christ or have been walking with Christ for many years, face this issue at some point. Based on my own experience, this can be a very tall mountain to scale. Christians dedicated to their walk with Christ know that Satan will bring the full force of the world that he controls against them: the reason for this is that we are created in God’s image, and Satan hates us. His rage is further fueled by the fact that, before he was cast out of heaven by God with a third of the heavenly host, Satan was of the highest order of the angels, a 4-winged cherubim:
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north – an immense cloud with flashing lightening and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. (Ezekiel 1:4-6)
These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like the hands of a man. Their faces had the same appearance as those I had seen by the Kebar River. Each one went straight ahead. (Ezekiel 10:20-22)
Satan was further described thus:
You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (Ezekiel 28:14-17)
Satan was a guardian of God’s throne: he could have had no greater honor. Yet through the greatest sin of all, the sin of pride, he as a created being desired to usurp the divine privilege and exalt himself above God. Therefore humanity must deal with the unbridled rage of Satan:
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation12:12)
In dealing with bringing a person who does not believe to belief, it is critical to understand that a believer does not bring a non-believing person to belief. All that a believer can do for a non-believer is to ‘plant a seed’ in that person’s mind: once that has been done, it is the exclusive task of the Holy Spirit to convict that person of the truth. Please bear in mind that a believer cannot say to a non-believer that the non-believer should come to faith, when the believer does not actually live a life in line with the Good News of Jesus Christ. In other words, don’t live like a saint in church on Sundays, but live like you are hell-bound the rest of the week. Holy Scripture attests to this; although Paul is addressing the Jews regarding right belief vs. wrong living, simply substitute the word ‘Christian’ for the word ‘Jew’ in the following passage, as the meaning will remain the same:
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24)
Insofar as belief in Jesus Christ is concerned, Jesus had this to say:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (John 6:44-45)
Understand from the above passage that all of Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, points to Jesus Christ. Central to understanding this continuous presence of Jesus Christ throughout all of Holy Scripture is Jesus’ claim to be one with the Father:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)
When we listen to the Father (when we read His divinely inspired Word), we are drawn to the only conclusion: Jesus Christ. What we see in the Father, we see in the Son, and in both Father and Son we see the procession of grace and blessing through the Holy Spirit that was promised to all who believe.
However… despite all of the testimony of Holy Scripture… there are those who do not believe. Jesus Christ is the purest figure in history; the Holy Bible is the best documented work of literature to come out of the ancient world, and all of what Jesus Christ said and did, including His resurrection from the dead, was eye-witnessed not only by His Apostles, but by others (such as the women who accompanied Jesus in his travels) as well.
Christianity is the only true religion: ALL OTHERS ARE FALSE.
This is not a fantastical, off-the-wall, unfounded claim. Based on eyewitnesses of Jesus’ multiple miracles, His Transfiguration, His sacrificial death and resurrection/ascension, not to mention His perfect fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament that foretold His coming as the Promised One hundreds of years before it happened, no other logical conclusion can be arrived at.
What is the basis of the claim? Simply this… a statement that only Jesus Christ could make:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
All of this having been said, what then prevents people from confessing belief in the One that God has sent, whose claim to be the Chosen One of God, the Son of God, Heir to the Throne of David, the Messiah and Savior, the LORD and the King of kings, is proven beyond any doubt? Paul speaks about the coming of ‘the man of lawlessness’ in the end times, and of what clouds the minds of those who refuse to believe the truth that God has revealed in His Only Son Jesus Christ:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
To me, to believe the truth means to accept it with your whole heart… as a child would. It is no surprise to any Christian that Jesus Christ especially and most dearly loved, and still loves, children: they neither think nor speak nor act evil, they desire only to love and be loved, and their hearts do not dissemble because they are as pure as the snow that falls from the heavens. The testimony of Holy Scripture is particularly significant:
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-3)
Here is a story well worth the telling: ‘the Rich Man and Lazarus’, as told by Jesus Christ:
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:19-31)
If you are someone who does not believe in God, and in His Only Son Jesus Christ as the only way that there is to salvation, who paid the penalty of death for your sins on the Cross of Calvary, be prepared to explain why to Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment, which is the final judgment of all unbelievers from across the ages.
Paul spoke of the grace of God flowing through Jesus Christ for all who believe… while it is a beautiful summation of what God offers all of us, it is also a sober warning.
The beautful summation…
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
The sober warning…
As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
Now is the time… RIGHT NOW.