- Love and Liberty
Believers, Unbelievers, & Make-Believers
Atheists and agnostics are not nearly as frustrating to deal with as make-believers. I have worked with a man for some time now who claims to be an atheist, and I have prayed for him and I want him to know the Lord. I find him much easier to talk to than I do many professing Christians. Why is that? It is not that we have a lot in common, it is because he has a likable personality, and because he does not do near as much harm to the cause of Christ as make-believers do. In fact, listening to him, I think his hang-up is the make-believers he has encountered in the past. I have talked to him about my faith in the Lord and tried to answer some of his objections. He is not interested in hearing. I will continue to pray that God will influence his heart. I know God loves him and wants him to trust him.
So, what is it about make-believers that is frustrating? It is interesting how they will accuse you of being “self-righteous” and “unloving” because you try to tell them that “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.” I have interacted with people who claim they know God, but serve sin, and they adopt the common “gospel” that “because God is love”, he will overlook their sin. God is love, but his love is not the permissive love that many make it out to be. Here are a few Bible verses to remember:
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16)
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4)
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only LORD God, and our LORD Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)
The Bible tells us that there are false Christians who try to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. They say that because God is “loving” and “gracious”, obedience to him does not matter. When preachers of righteousness share the Lord’s Word and call people to turn from sin to follow the Lord Jesus, make-believers will say something akin to: “Well, I believe in a God of love”, implying that the person who speaks about repentance and holiness lacks God’s love. When people equate God’s love with permissiveness, they are rejecting God’s revelation for their own ungodly opinion. Yes, the God of the Bible is a God of love, but his is a holy love, through which he seeks our highest well-being. How does he seek our highest well-being? Christ, in love, came to bless us. “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." (Acts 3:26) John wrote: “he that abideth in him sinneth not.” This does not mean that Christians are incapable of sinning, but it does mean that sin is the exception in the life of the Christian, not something he constantly commits. God is merciful, but his mercy is not cheap. It is costly. It required the death of Christ, and it requires the death of the would-be Christian - death to self. If you want God’s mercy it will cost you your life – “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
God’s love is not the cheap, permissive “love” that many in our sin- excusing culture imagine it to be. Nothing has done more damage to modern “Christianity” than the ill-conceived notion that God’s love is permissive. God will forgive us, one and all, for he is not willing that any should perish. But not everyone that saith Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus will tell many who think they are “God’s children” – depart from me, ye that worked iniquity. So, forsake your selfishness and sinfulness and love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Be merciful, as God is merciful, and warn others that the children of disobedience will experience eternal death, but followers of Christ will experience eternal life.