Unbelievers Around Us
By Ronald and Nathele Graham
Christians often struggle to stay true to Christ. We are in a world filled with unbelievers who seem to take pleasure in pulling us away from Jesus. We make a choice every day to walk with our Lord or follow the way of the world. When our choice is based on Biblical principles we go against what is accepted by the world and then the jeering starts. Unbelievers don’t understand that God is more than a “category” in our life…He is our life. We believe His word and apply it to our everyday life because Christianity is a way of life, not a religion. Many who don’t believe try to make us feel silly for believing in the One True God, and sometimes they mock us. Just because the people around us don’t believe the truth that doesn’t mean that the Gospel isn’t true. “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” Romans 3:3. We can reflect on this question and apply it to today’s unbelieving world. What if some refuse to believe in God? Does their unbelief nullify God? Paul answers that question for us “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4. God is truth, men are liars. From Genesis through Revelation, God’s word is true whether some choose to believe it or not.
Christianity is a choice. The first choice comes when we understand that we are sinners and need to turn to Jesus. Sin separates us from God and unless we accept His death, burial, and resurrection we will be forever separated from Him. When we step out in faith and accept His sacrifice we have chosen to follow Him. We have moved from being an unbeliever bound to eternity in Hell to being a believer and our eternal life in Heaven with God is sealed. We still live in this fallen world filled with unbelievers. They can’t understand why we don’t follow the world and its ways and sometimes they are very verbal about their unbelief. Their mocking can cause us to question our own faith. Christian, you must remember that God’s word is true and we all need to defend our faith. No matter how many times we’re confronted with unbelief we have to defend our faith. We need to focus on God’s word and stand firm; doubters must not be allowed to undermine our faith. Our strength is in Jesus and we trust Him to sustain us even if those unbelievers are offensive and blasphemous. Stand firm, but speak in God’s love.
Unless you live alone on a remote island there will always be unbelievers around you. In fact Jesus promised that we would have people around us who would hate us for what we believe. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18-19. As Christians we need to make daily choices as to who we will follow. Satan is the god of this world and the unbelievers follow him. They probably don’t understand that by rejecting Christ they are choosing to follow Satan, but that’s just the way it is. They will mock us because we believe God’s word above Satan’s lies. For example, evolution is a ridiculous idea. The unbelieving world does not want to be accountable to God, so they mock Him by saying everything evolved by accident. In order for Satan to gain ground he had to convince unbelievers that nothing evolved into everything. God’s word tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that God created everything in six days. I believe Him rather than man. Christians are mocked but unbelievers embrace lies.
Unbelievers belittle and laugh at us because of our faith, but that shouldn’t surprise us. They mocked our Lord as He hung on the cross. Even though they had seen miraculous healings and heard His words the Jewish leaders were unmoved. When they finally had Jesus arrested and hung on that cross the Chief Priests just couldn’t help but mock Him more. “Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.” Mark 15:32. The Jews condemned and rejected Him, the Romans pounded the nails, but Jesus chose to enter His creation and sacrifice Himself so we can live eternally with Him. He could have given in to the mocking and descended from the cross, but His love for you and me kept Him there. Shouldn’t your love for Him cause you to live your life pleasing to Him in spite of the mocking of the unbelievers? Yes, it should.
Jesus tells us that many will reject Him and His message and take the broad way that leads to destruction. “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in.” Matthew 7:13. All those walking dead on that broad road are deceived individuals who are living life in unbelief. They may seem to be steadfast in their rebellion against God but they can have a change of heart. They are our mission field. Anyone can change but they need proper answers from us. That change of heart just might come from one word from someone like you or me. Christians cannot compromise their faith by living like the unbelievers around us. Even though we are laughed at we need to stand firm. Unbelievers watch us and listen to us. We need to meet their ridicule with love and have answers for their questions. We need to turn them from the broad road and help them find the narrow gate.
So how should believers react in the face of the unbelief around us? Certainly we always need to show God’s love in our words and actions. We need to be steadfast in our faith knowing our strength is through 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, nor is it even our idea. It’s always the Holy Spirit who prods us and helps us to confront unbelief. As believers, witnessing and evangelism are our responsibility and should be a joy. There should come a time that we are confident enough in God’s word that we look forward to sharing His love and witnessing to the lost with much anticipation.
Confronting doubt and unbelief can be a daunting task, especially if one is unprepared. When you least expect it an unbeliever may throw a question at you or make some unfounded statement about God based on Scripture taken out of context and twisted. More often than not, the one throwing out question isn’t even concerned with the answer; they just want mock our Lord and laugh at our faith. If the correct answer is given that person might just walk away with a different outlook about God. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15. If you can defend your faith by giving Biblical answers you just might win a soul to Christ. The mission field isn’t just in a far off country.
So how do we become prepared to give the correct answer? Study God’s word. A systematic study of the Bible will supply us with a plethora of knowledge above and beyond what any unsuspecting doubter will be able to contend with. If you study you just might learn something too! Remember to study the verses in context and with understanding of who is being addressed (i.e. a Pharisee or a forgiven sinner). Use a good concordance to see the meaning from the original languages. If you understand your reason for believing then you are better equipped to help a mocker to sit up and take notice.
Unbelief will increase substantially in these last days before Jesus calls us Home. It’s quite pervasive now but as time goes on it will get worse. Unbelievers and doubters will continually present us with questions. Some of these people are seriously searching for the truth but others just delight in confrontation. To the unprepared some of these questions will seem to be impossible to answer, but that’s only because of a lack of knowledge of God’s word. There are many wonderful truths in the Bible just waiting to be discovered. As we discover these truths and our knowledge increases we are better prepared to give answers that might change an unbeliever’s mind.
It is easy to get discouraged as we go about our daily living. We are confronted by unbelief on every front. Friends, family, and co-workers all can influence us. One day we will stand before the Bema seat and our precious Lord and Saviour will review what we have done for Him. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13. This review is not one of condemnation, but when we see our own failures in this life we will feel much regret. Did you stand for Jesus by not being influenced by the unbelievers all around you? Has Jesus been first in your way of living, or has serving Him been relegated to a place somewhere below worldly fun? Did you play golf last Sunday with your buddies instead of going to worship services with your family? Your unbelieving buddies might see your choice to worship Jesus and you just might help them to overcome their unbelief. Did you give up your Saturday afternoon to help a neighbor in need? That’s building on the foundation of gold, silver and precious stones. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. It’s a small sacrifice on your part and the sacrifice of giving up worldly pleasure will be insignificant when you face the One you say you serve…the One with the nail prints in His hands.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
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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