Ever since I read the Word as quoted in this blog post a few days ago I have had so many of my thoughts become clear.
Let me explain…
Since speaking with a non-Christian several weeks ago who had accepted the fact that he was going to hell when he died because God wouldn’t accept him as he was, I have had him so much on my heart! It is hard to get someone who doesn’t know Christ to understand. I can remember those days, when I was determined I was the way I was and wasn’t going to change. I didn’t accept that I was in sin, and that I needed to change. No, not needed to change…needed to BE CHANGED. I did not know, on that night that I finally opened my heart to Jesus, how things would change, or even THAT they would. It was something I never could have anticipated or expected, what happened in me…
Paul, a leader in the early church, told the Christians in Ephesus, “…you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
My sins were terrible. His sins are terrible. Everyone’s sins are terrible. I wish I could tell him that first of all, he is no worse than any other sinner – and we are ALL sinners. I wish I could tell him that our sinfulness is what sends us to hell. Choosing sin over Christ – OUR choice, not his – is what determines our eternity. His certainty of hell is not of God’s choice, and God doesn’t want any of us to go there. I wish I could tell him that the idea that we have to make changes for God to accept us is so far from the truth! I want to share that when Jesus took hold of me and cleaned me up, it was literally effortless on my part! That very night the filth was gone, instantly, and I was changed in a heartbeat. Friend, turning to Jesus isn’t about struggling to be someone you’re not – it is about becoming who He made you to be! You don’t realize that you aren’t the person you think you are until your eyes are opened and your heart and life are changed in the blink of an eye! It’s something I want to tell this man that I may not explain it well because it is a miracle that has to be experienced to be believed – and rejoiced over!
But first – there’s always a “butfirst” – we need to realize who we are, sinners in need of a savior. “Following the course of this world” what the world offered we partook. We had passions of the fleshly kind, serving ourselves and our desires and wants, thinking it would lead to happiness. We didn’t know how hollow and dead we were, we had nothing with which to compare our existence. We confused happiness with joy, not realizing that there is no way to know joy without God.
So I pray. I can’t make this man understand. I can’t SHOW him how it feels, or the difference in life when Christ is in it. I know how he feels – but he can’t know how I feel. I know the hopelessness but he can’t know the joy. That leap of faith into the arms of Jesus changes everything. But first he’ll have to see the need for the change. The need for Jesus. The hopelessness of living for the world – and the hope of living for Jesus.
“…we all once lived in the passions of our flesh…”