Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We Are No Better.

Just a little while ago I started my personal study on the book of Romans, but while in the middle of chapter one, I had to stop. I was overwhelmed and filled with emotion because of my encounter with God. I was reading through Romans 1:18-32 when this emotion rose up within me, which some may deem as strange given that this passage just talks about God's wrath against the ungodliness of men. But before you continue reading on, read that passage, and maybe you'll see what I'm talking about.

Yes, God gives ungodly men up to their sinful desires and lusts if they decide to reject Him. I know someone who believes that God cannot feel hurt or pain, but that He simply does what He needs to do so that He can get the glory. I REFUSE to believe that. I refuse to believe that God is cold and unfeeling. While He knows that not all men will be saved, 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." God WANTS the people of this world to come to Himself. He does NOT want people to suffer eternal punishment, but He knows that it is necessary in order for Him to be God. Not only is He a loving God, but He is a just God. There comes a point where God has to allow people to reject Him.

But I cannot imagine that this is easy for Him. At all. Think about it: God is the Father over all creation, and He loves the entire world. While we don't deserve His love, He loves us. He loves even those that choose to reject Him. So just as a Father feels pain over a child that has chosen to stray from the family and live a life of debauchery, so God feels pain over a person who sees God, spits in His face, and decides that they will live life on their own terms. What astounds me is that God KNOWS that this will happen. He KNOWS that people will reject Him. Yet He still feels pain over it, because He is an absolutely loving God.

This passage is so convicting in so many ways. God feels pain over those who reject Him, so why is it so often that I just blow people off? I hear about people getting so drunk that they can't remember what they did and end up sick the next day and just scoff at them and believe that they get what they deserve. I see girls being incredibly promiscuous and call them sluts. Oh, what a shameful Christian I am. I should not think of myself as better than them, but I should be hurting that they would choose a life like that over a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Never have I felt so convicted than in this moment that I should be praying for those who have turned away from God and have chosen to live a life of sin. One of the people I care about most lives so far away from God that few would think that he has any hope of being in a right relationship with God. I again refuse to believe that. While God does give people up to live their lives of sin, it is our job to intercede on their behalf and to ask God not to pour out His wrath on them, but to save them. I think our willingness to pray for those who are lost shows how much we really care about these people and their eternal destination. Am I too focused on myself and my "spiritual superiority" (ha.) to see that these people are no worse than I am, and that I need a Savior JUST as much as they do? I am no better, yet God chose to save me. Therefore I must pray that God will choose to save others.

If anyone is confused about whether or not those who continually choose to live against God's plan for them are worse than us "holy Christians," then let verses 29-32 be evidence that we are all on the same level.

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

There is not one person that can honestly say that they have never done any of the things on this list. We all have done at least one thing, but most often it's that we've done several of these. We as Christians are no better than anyone else, so there is no reason why we should not pray for those in our lives that we know are lost.

Rise up, fellow believers, and see what God sees in humankind. Do not allow Satan to have any victories over anyone, but take hold of the victory that we have already claimed in Christ Jesus, and show Satan that he has NO power in this world. In the end, it is God, and God alone, who will overcome.


Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

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