By Ronald Graham
We see them everywhere. They are people we work with, doctors, teachers, bus drivers, our own family members, the list goes on. If they have not accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation, they are the walking dead. These people have rejected Christ and His free gift of salvation and they don’t want their sin exposed. In fact, these people don’t even see their sin as sin. It may seem as if they have it all, they laugh and seem to enjoy life to the fullest, but if they do not know Jesus Christ then they are dead in their sins. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. This Scripture is often quoted because it holds a deep truth. Sin gets paid, but those wages are not worth earning. The death talked about in this verse isn’t the death of the body. It is the eternal death and separation from God that those who choose to reject Christ’s free gift of salvation will face. It is the state of eternal existence of the wicked dead in the lake of fire. There are many people who are steeped in unbelief and as such they have buried themselves in sin but believe they are living life to the fullest. They see no need to accept Christ as Saviour. These are the walking dead.
We can look at these people and marvel at their blindness, but there was a time when we, who are born again Christians, were just like them. Everyone is dead in sin prior to accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” Colossians 2:13. Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin. He has forgiven the sin that separates us from God and has made available to us the free gift of eternal life with Him. Jesus paid the price, now you must accept the gift. It is an individual choice, but it is the most important choice of your life. It determines your eternal life.
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Gospel with non-believers. “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” Romans 3:3. This was a rhetorical question by Paul but we need to reflect on this question and apply it to today’s unbelieving world. What if some refuse to believe in God? Does their unbelief nullify the believer’s faith in God? “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightiest be justified in thy sayings, and mightiest overcome when thou are judged.” Romans 3:4. In God we find truth. People may mock and ridicule you for your faith, but that does not make their words true. Hold your ground, stand firm on God’s truth, and speak boldly of His love.
Those people who are caught up in the deception of unbelief, the walking dead, in all actuality are our mission field. The thief on the cross hanging next to Jesus first ridiculed Him as did many others who were present at the crucifixion. Yes, this thief was dying in his sins, as were all those present and watching the crucifixion. Something changed in this thief though, and eventually he had a change of heart. He came to know that Jesus could save him from eternal damnation. “And he said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Luke 23:42. These were very simple words but he meant them. Jesus recognized that change of heart and as soon as the man asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus forgave his sins. “And Jesus said unto him, “Verily, I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. That one time mocker of our Lord is now in Heaven serving God. The unbelievers around us need to recognize who Jesus is before it is too late. The thief was facing death and knew it. He made the right decision. Most of us have no idea when death will come. A car accident or a sudden heart attack can send us to our eternal destination no matter how old we are. The decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour is a decision that needs to be made today. Tomorrow may be too late. Jesus encountered much unbelief during His years on earth. Still today many people also have their eyes closed and their hearts cold as ice. We are given a great example of Christ’s love and forgiveness as we read of the thief on the cross. He was a man who moments earlier was destined for hell, but he called out to Jesus and is now eternally with Him. Those people today who reject Christ may be moments away from death. Christian, you need to share the Gospel with them before it is too late.
Those who are the walking dead may, in our eyes, seem to be steadfast in their rebellion against God. Just like the thief on the cross they can have a change of heart, though. Yes, anyone can change. Only God knows who will accept the prodding of the Holy Spirit. That change of heart might even come from one word spoken from someone like you or me. It is certain, though, that if nobody dares to speak to those who are lost in sin, salvation will not come to them. They will never know who Jesus is and that they need His free gift of salvation. It may not even take a spoken word. The way we represent Jesus with our way of life and our actions will speak volumes. Do you pray before a meal at a restaurant? Do you let anger rule your life, or does Christ’s love reach out through you to other people? How about your words? Cussing and yelling do not represent Christ in a good way. Our actions are noticed and if we look and act different than the lost we may cause the walking dead to ask us some questions about Jesus. Then we need to have answers.
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the non-belief of those we tell about Jesus. We can easily get discouraged, yet we are in good company. Matthew recorded a time when Jesus went into His own country and was confronted with much unbelief. “And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” Matthew 13:57. Jesus’ very own countrymen were “offended in Him”. Because of their unbelief His countrymen lost out on much. “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matthew 13:58. Unbelief hinders and even impedes God’s wonderful blessings. It is sad but there will come a time when we will need to shake the dust off our shoes, so to speak, and move on. We should never get discouraged with spreading the Gospel, because as we move on. The Holy Spirit will stay behind to work on that individual. Our words watered by the Holy Spirit will work a work that we can’t see. We may never witness the fruit of our labors as we endeavor to confront unbelief but that doesn’t mean fruit doesn’t appear.
So how should believers continue in the face of such unbelief? With steadfastness in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13. It’s never our strength that leads us to witness. It’s always the Holy Spirit’s prodding that moves us to action. As believers, it is our responsibility to listen to His prodding and take action. You may be the only one who has taken the time to witness to Aunt Martha or that boss or co-worker who seems so mean. Christ has called all of us to share the Gospel and we may never know the result of our witness. If our motivation for sharing God’s word is seeing the results of our efforts then we are doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m sure that Peter, John, Paul, and all the rest had no idea how many people would be touched by their faithful witness, but we certainly would be in a sad state of affairs if they had stopped evangelizing after their first beating or stint in jail. Because of their love for Christ, today we know who Christ is and why we need Him as our Saviour.
Just what is the Gospel? Adam chose to disobey God. He ate the forbidden fruit even though God had specifically told him “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17. Adam sinned. When he ate the fruit death became a reality. All of the pain, suffering, and trials of this life began at that moment in time. There was nothing Adam or any other human could do to take that sin away. No animal sacrifice could take sin away. No amount of “good works” can restore fellowship with God or earn us a place in Heaven. It took God Himself to step into His creation and become one of us. His blood alone takes our sin away. It is our choice to believe Him or not, but we must be willing to spend eternity in the lake of fire if we reject Him. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24. This statement by Jesus confirms that He is God. In this verse “he” is not in the original text. Jesus said “I am”, meaning that He was the one who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. He is God. The Pharisees understood what Jesus meant because the conversation ended with them taking up stones to stone Him for blaspheme. On the other hand, Jesus told Nicodemus “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. That’s the Gospel. That’s what we need to tell the walking dead. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only way to have everlasting life.
Unbelief is sin, there’s no question about that, and it’s an inexcusable and unpardonable sin if a person dies in that state of rebellion. Rebellion is spreading like wildfire. The lost world is trying to silence Christians so that sin can be glorified and they won’t feel guilty. In these last days before Jesus’ return, unbelief will increase substantially, but that should challenge every Christian to be more diligent in sharing the Gospel. Jesus said “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b. Yes, the walking dead are all around us but they still have a chance at eternal life while they are still among the living. We have to tell them the Good News before it is too late.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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