In my last post I explored how the Biblical account of creation offers a solid foundation for understanding your purpose for existence. I argued, briefly, that if there is a Creator then there is a a cohesive design for the universe. All is intentional. But if there is no creator, if this world is a random and mathematically impossible accident, then there is no ultimate purpose, plan or moral standard. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow is pointless anyway…
"My Son, if sinners entice you, do not consent." Proverbs 1:10
This simple proverb should be precious to every Christian, especially in our culture. If the whole world tells us that we should accept sin we simply say, "No".
If our politicians entice us to believe that women's health means the slaughter of the unborn, we simply say, "We do not consent."
When the world around us tries to redefine what it means to be married or to be male or female, we respond we a hearty, "Let me think about it....no."
When your boss asks for your help in participating in unethical business practices, you can go ahead and say it in Spanish, "No."
Christians are those who are wise because as Proverbs 1:7 tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge". We are compelled to live by a standard that transcends cultural changes, political parties, or philosophy. That standard is God.
Friends, when sinners entice you, do not consent. Get used to it.
16 “For hGod so loved ithe world,9 jthat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not kperish but have eternal life. 17 For lGod did not send his Son into the world mto condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 nWhoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not obelieved in the name of the only Son of God. 19 pAnd this is the judgment: qthe light has come into the world, and rpeople loved the darkness rather than the light because stheir works were evil. 20 tFor everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, ulest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever vdoes what is true wcomes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Why do people not believe in Jesus?
We have looked for the past three weeks on what it means to believe in Him. Remember the story of Nicodemus? He believed in everything about God. He knew the history, he memorized the scriptures, he felt that he followed all of the rules, but yet Jesus tells him that believing is not in the mind's consent only but in the heart's affection. Satan is orthodox. Seminary professors and pastors can know all about Christ and still not truly believe.
But our question is, why do people not believe in Jesus?
Is it because Christianity is a foolish belief?
When we look at any truth claims about worldview, or belief, we must filter them through the four tests of correspondence and coherence which are: origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. Filtered through these categories Christianity holds strong and probable.
Why do people not believe in Christianity?
Is it because the bible as a historical text is unreliable and found wanting?
There are over 24,000 manuscript copies of the NT in existence today that we can compare to for textual accuracy. The next highest book for original manuscript copies would be Homer's The Illiad with 643 manuscript copies. In other words, if you can't trust the bible as a historical document, then you must approach other works of history with equal or greater skepticism. Btw, there are only 7 copies in existence for Plato.
Is it because the message of the bible is grotesquely oppressive in its judgement, and Christ, it's centerpiece, is megalomaniacal in His quest for power?
On the contrary, where else in the world do you find a story so beautiful? You may not believe in God, but if this story were true you certainly can't mock it. If you do, then you are a fool. It is the story of our creator, the author of life itself and all things good, beautiful, and true seeing the effects of pain and suffering caused by sin in the world and having so much compassion for those whom He loves that He would send His own son to take the blame and penalty that sinful man deserves. Not only that, but after taking the punishment He is able to defeat the grave which would have held us and reigns as King of Kings. If that were true then what do you compare it to? It is glorious. And friends, we believe that this is true.
So we must ask ourselves again what is it that causes people to reject Christ. Jesus Himself answers this question in verses 17-21 of chapter 3. Let's look at these verses again together.
- So why was Jesus sent into the world? He was sent not to condemn the world, but to save!
He did not come to condemn, but that by love some may be saved.
- If you believe, then you are not condemned, but if you do not believe does He come to condemn you? No, he says that you are already condemned because of your unbelief.
- There are only two kinds of people with God. Those who believe and those who don't. No division of rich or poor, no classes or hierarchy, just those who accept their creator or those who deny Him.
- He doesn't come to condemn, it is already done.
- Jesus didn't come to neutral people. He didn't come to innocent people. There are no neutral people. There are no innocent people.
- He came to a world already condemned.
- He's also saying that unbelief is our fault and that belief is a gift of God.
If He saves some He is glorified for His mercy. If He doesn't save others He should be glorified for His justice. It is all unmerited and unearned grace.
What is this crucible of judgement? Why are we condemned?
- Light came into the world.
- 1 John 1:5 "God is light in Him there is no darkness".
- John 8:12 I am the light of the world
- God revealed Himself. What is true, what is beautiful, what is good, what is evil, what is ugly, what is right and pure.
- But people LOVED the darkness rather than the light.
- Our hearts are involved. There is love going on here.
- In other words, God comes into the world and is perfect but He makes our skin crawl when we are before Him because of His perfection.
- He is the servant to all even unto death. Most of us serve ourselves. Even if we serve others our motives are often selfish.
- He tells us to kill our pride and to turn the other cheek. We are a culture of hit back harder.
- He exposes the hypocrisy of the religious and the irreligious. We are a culture of religious hypocrisy as well as a culture of half-baked reasons for skepticism.
- He tells us the truth about sexual immorality that it lies in the heart and mind and not the body only. Our culture tells us that our mind and heart is ours to do what we will. And it's just a mild thing to be sexually unfaithful.
- We, like the Pharisees when they talked to Jesus, often want to pick up stones and pelt him because of the way He makes us feel.
- Not because He is a jerk who comes to point out our flaws, but simply being the perfect standard when we see Him we see just how far short we fall from being like Him. To peel back our hearts and to see the ugly truths that lie in our daily motives and our daily thoughts would be to see a radically ugly difference from our depravity to His purity.
- Who has done evil things? Everyone.
- They don't want this to be exposed
- They love darkness - It's safe. It's a love affair
- Therefore, they hate the light
- They don't come to Jesus
- I'm evil
- I don't want that to be exposed
- It's safe in the dark
- I hate the light
- I'm staying here and not coming to Jesus
This does not mean that people don't sin in public.
Why do they? Why are sins so publicly flaunted in our day.
When the public admires and supports the darkness the way our world does then there is no need to hide your sins because you are already in darkness. No one cares.
As long as Christ is excluded from the public sphere where you conduct you acts of evil public sin is in the dark.
- Whoever does what is true COMES to the light. He is not just coming to be saved, but he is coming so that something may be seen in his life. — it may be clearly seen that his whole newness was carried out in God.
- The believer in Christ relishes in the fact that He cannot save Himself but that there is a mighty and willing God who can and He gave His life for us. That is a radical kind of beauty that our world knows very little of. We all want to save ourselves. Make our own way. Radical beauty is admitting our need like a child. Pride is the number one killer. In the dark where it is safe we are King. In reality you cannot even draw your next breath unless He gives it to you.
So why do we reject Jesus? We are in love with our own sin. We love control. We will resist and fight all who question our sovereignty of our own throne. We are our the Caesars of our own heart.
Come to Christ and have your sins acknowledged and forgiven and not a slap on the wrist or a death sentence. Come to Him like a runaway child ashamed and afraid of what it means to go back home and show your face again. Come and feel Him as He runs out at you when He sees you from a distance and wraps you in His arms and tells you He loves you. Come and see the dignity that you have as a man or woman forgiven of their sins instead of living among the multitude of those who sin against their creator and refuse to repent. Come and see that He would do anything, at any cost to Himself to take your punishment on Himself.
Come and believe in Jesus.