However, it’s also filled with truths, and some of them can be hard truths to swallow, especially in our current culture.
There are so many who rebel against God, not because they truly believe He doesn’t exist, but quite frankly, because they don’t want to believe He exists.
The truth of it is that folks more often than not, just don’t want to give up their current (and often selfish) ways of living, and fear that believing in God and His Word will force them to do so.
Being a believer will force them to change themselves, and hey they don’t want to change… because sin is fun! Isn’t it?
That can be true, and not true.
Sure, Sin Can Be Fun
But it’s only fun for awhile. Then it often becomes harmful and ultimately, brings death. And if you know in your heart you are living in a way that probably isn’t pleasing to God, then yes… accepting Christ as your savior may require some changes to be made.
There are no short-cuts around that.
Matthew 7:14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!
And those little feelings you feel in your heart very well may be the Holy Spirit nudging you, trying to guide you to a path that is pleasing to God.
But the awesome thing about God, is that if He does require changes from you in your life, He arms and equips you to make those changes.
Even better, He instills in you the desire to want to make those changes.
He is with you every step of the way, no matter how big or small the things are that He asks of you. He makes living right even more rewarding and filling, and ultimately everlasting, than the transient pleasures of sin could ever be.
1 Corinthians 10:13 None of the trials which have come upon you is more than a human being can stand. You can trust that God will not let you be put to the test beyond your strength, but with any trial will also provide a way out by enabling you to put up with it.
Believers and Non-Believers
My Pastor said something this week that was pretty eye-opening.
He said out of all of the deathbeds he’s visited in his many years of ministry, it’s astonishing the differences he’s seen between a believer and a non-believer.
A believer almost always meets death gracefully, even joyfully. They are at peace, they know where they are going, and they are looking forward to the next stage in their creation story.
A non-believer on the other hand, he often found to be sad, fearful, wondering of where they may be going, wondering if there really is a God, and wondering if they can be forgiven at this late stage.
By contrast their death is anything but peaceful.
I think it’s the same with the loved ones left behind too.
Loved ones who believe and are left behind still grieve, mourn, and miss those who are gone, but they feel ultimately their loved ones are livin’ it up in the heavens and they will see them again someday.
By contrast those loved ones left behind who do not believe, often may grieve harder, mourn longer, and find themselves wondering what the point of it all is.
They have no hope for anything beyond the here and now.
That seems to me to be a pretty sad and useless way to live out the gift of your life, with no hope for a future beyond a very certain death.
He also said something else, and I’d heard it before, but him saying it just drove it home again.
He said “there are no atheists in an emergency room”.
Others might say it as “there are no atheists in foxholes”.
Meaning being, when people are under extreme duress, such as war or another life-threatening situation, they will almost always wind up praying to something or someone to bring them through it, regardless of what their stance may have been before they found themselves in said current situation.
Whether or not this statement holds true or not, really only God knows.
My Pastor was merely referring to his own experiences in many years of serving in ministry and confronting death and duress. I tend to agree, but that’s my own opinion.
He went on to talk about how he believes in the Bible and what it tells us about God and our creation story 100%, and in living as though the Bible is truth, and in believing, he loses nothing.
He is blessed with a beautiful family, he gets to minister and help others every day, and ultimately he lives a rewarding and fulfilling life, at peace with his current now and his future death.
He has faced his sins, admitted he is broken, and invited God into his life, and he is a better man for it.
If he dies today and God doesn’t exist, no harm, no foul.
But if he dies today and God does exist... he’s gained everything. He’s gained an eternity with our Creator, a place in Heaven.
What’s the old quote to that effect?
I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is.- Albert Camus
So what does any of this have to do with the book of Romans in the Bible?
Because if we are going to confess our sins and ask Christ to be our Savior, we often have to face some difficult truths about ourselves that we may not necessarily want to face.
And I think it’s easy for people to get lost in the messages of Good News throughout the Bible, but disregard areas of God’s Word where He speaks strongly about sin, His expectations of His children, and His judgments on those who willingly and knowingly choose to turn their backs on Him.
Romans talks of this, and the consequences.
Turning your back on God, willfully and knowingly, is like spitting in His face. It’s a huge sin. Maybe even an irrevocable one.
Granted, I’m no Bible or theology expert, but these are my observations and what I’ve gleaned from reading my Bible.
And in the case of Romans 1, these people were blaspheming the Holy Spirit, because these people had been given clear evidence of God , had even accepted Him once, and then turned their backs on Him. And blaspheming the Holy Spirit is considered the ultimate sin, resulting in permanent death.
My question is could that be what you are are doing, if you are stating that you don’t believe?
Romans 1:18 The anger of God is being revealed from heaven against all the impiety and 19 depravity of men who keep truth imprisoned in their wickedness. ·For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them since God himself has made it 20 plain. ·Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity however invisible-have been there for the mind to see in the things he has 21 made. That is why such people are without excuse: ·they knew God and yet refused to honor him as God or to thank him; instead, they made nonsense 22 out of logic and their empty minds were darkened. ·The more they called 23 themselves philosophers, the more stupid they grew, ·until they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation, for the image of mortal man, 24 of birds, of quadrupeds and reptiles.
Reads pretty cut and dried to me. God has given us every opportunity to see Him all around us, in every day of our lives. But ultimately it’s a choice. And when we choose to disregard Him, we are without excuse.
We can cite things like we don’t believe what we can’t see, touch, or feel. We can cite things like we don’t believe the Bible is true or accurate. We can cite things like it’s illogical to believe in the supernatural.
But to God, Those are Just Excuses.
The truth of the matter is that no one can say with absolute knowledge that God does not exist. We don’t hold enough knowledge to make that assumption. At best we can claim we don’t know if He exists.
Yet God has given us everything we need to find Him, to know Him, and to share a relationship with Him. He will not force us into that relationship though.
We have to choose it, and we have to choose to believe in Him, even if we don’t feel we have all the evidence. Truth is, we will never have all the evidence. It’s very likely God didn’t intend for us to.
Over to You
Are you a believer? Was there something pivotal that made you one? Are you a non-believer? If you’re being honest, is it really because you don’t believe, or is there a deeper reason willfully holding you back from faith? I’d love to hear your point of view in the comments. Respectful please.