To: the one who believes in God and the one who doesn’t

To the one who believes in God and to the one who doesn’t:

To those who do not believe in Jesus Christ — yes, Christians sin.  “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  “All” means just that: everyone.  Do you know the punishment for sin?  Death; eternal separation from God.  So if all have sinned, even Christians, what’s the point of Christianity?  Christians are simply those who recognize their sin and inability to fix themselves, and repent of their sins — believing that Jesus Christ is the only one who can save them.  They put their faith in Him alone.

But yes, Christians sin.  We shouldn’t be proud of it.  The beautiful part about having a relationship with God is that He is always forgiving:  “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).  Does this give Christians an excuse to sin?  Of course not.  But let me point something out to you — something I hope you’ll never forget — Christianity is not defined by Christians.  It’s defined by Christ.  Instead of looking to Christians to define Christianity, look to the leader.  Go figure out who He is, what He’s like, what He’s not like.  Only from Him will you have a completely accurate picture of Christianity.

To those who do believe in Jesus Christ — do you know that He cares deeply about each of our relationships with Him?  Each of us — He desperately desires every human being to know Him and adore Him.  It’s not about rules, it’s not about comparing ourselves to each other.  It’s easy to forget that we’re on this earth because He put us here to worship Him — but friends, He created us to worship Him.

What about sharing the Gospel?  What about having conversations with people about Him?  What about joining causes that bring Him glory and working for ministries that share His Name?  Don’t lose your passion.  But there is something even more important.  Remember the story of Mary and Martha?  They welcomed Jesus into their house, and Mary sat at Jesus’s feet listening to Him while Martha did all the work serving guests.  Martha was angry for having to do the work while Mary sat there — but Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42, emphasis mine).

Most important is your relationship with Christ.  Are you prioritizing that?  He is the only one who can give you strength and wisdom to do the day-to-day, the big and the small.  You may think there’s not enough time to prioritize it, not enough time to spend reading and praying — but in reality, there’s not enough time to go without.  You will flounder and struggle and try to do everything by your own strength and end up wasting time instead.  It’s only as we learn more about God and love Him more that we can effectively serve and minister to others.

Friends, we’re surrounded by people who don’t know God.  There are people who haven’t heard the Gospel; there are people who have heard about Jesus and refuse Him; there are people who bitterly hate God.  This shouldn’t be surprising to us, but it also should never cause us to segregate ourselves or act rudely or spitefully towards them.  May we humble ourselves, put our own reactions and thoughts aside and actually allow Him to make us more like Himself.  Resist the desire to get worked up over things that aren’t worth getting worked up over.  There are battles to fight and there are battles not worth the time or energy.  Pray about the battles you choose to be involved with; will they honor God? show His glory? put the focus on HIM and help others see Him?  Or will they be means for pure aggravation and argument?  Will they focus on you and your opinion more than on Him?  There are things to fight for and to stand up for.  As you spend time reading your Bible and praying, He will lead you.  You are fighting for His cause, not your own.

Know where you stand.  Let your convictions be made solely from what God’s Word says.  Don’t be childish; don’t whine and complain and victimize.  Watch your words and attitude.  Because on the other side of the screen, on the other side of the table, is a human being with valid emotions and thoughts.  “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).  It’s not up to you to change people.  You can’t.  But you can be graceful and loving even while standing firmly for Truth.

For all of us, believer and unbeliever alike — we all are facing the inevitable.  Every single one of us will meet Jesus face to face, and will be required to give an account for our lives.  For everything.  Not one of us will get off the hook; either we’ve been covered by the blood of Christ or we haven’t, and that will determine whether we are granted Heaven or Hell.  You and I have a choice, every day.  We can live like this truth matters or we can live like it doesn’t — regardless, truth remains truth.  Choose your words, actions, and how you spend your time wisely.

***

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  But we know that the judgement of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.

And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgement of God?  Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who ‘will render to each on according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For there is no partiality with God.”

Romans 2:1-11

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