Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The One Who Refuses

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race” (Psalm 14:2). The conclusion: “All have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” (Psalm 14:3).

That’s emphatically inclusive language! “Not a single one” includes you and me!

“Everyone has sinned,” Paul asserts. “We all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, there’s more. “Yet ...
...God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous,” Paul adds. “He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins” (v.24).
We have no right to despise those who choose not to believe in God. Rather, in love, we can thank God, who “chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes” (Ephesians 1:4).

~ Tim Gustafson

How do you respond to the scoffer?
How do you treat those who refuse to believe?

I read this devotional this morning and immediately my mind went to those in Scripture who refused to believe in the presence of Christ and how He responded to their unbelief, even those who scoffed...

The first that came to mind was the rich young ruler: 

As He was setting out on a journey,
a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him,
and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good?
No one is good except God alone. 
You know the commandments,
And he said to Him,
“Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 
Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him
and said to him, “One thing you lack:
go and sell all you possess and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven;
and come, follow Me.” 
But at these words  he was saddened,
and he went away grieving,
for he was one who owned much property.
Mark 10:17-22

In this passage we see that Jesus still felt a love for him. Jesus knew he would turn away. He knows our hearts better than we do... yet still He felt a love for this one who He knew would walk away from Him...  
Then my mind went to Jesus as He looked down upon Jerusalem:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets
and stones those who are sent to her!
How often I wanted to gather your children together,
the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were unwilling.
Matthew 23:37   

As Jesus looked down from His glory in heaven before He came in the flesh and as He looked out upon Jerusalem as the Word made flesh, as He watched the scoffers, the haters, the unbelievers, those who so held to the lie and their own ways that they stoned and killed those sent to them by God...

Jesus still wanted to gather them under His wing...

He still loved them as a mother loves her children even though they be absolutely wretched in their behavior and actions... the mother who sits in the courtroom who watches her child being rightfully convicted of a murderous crime loves them no less than the mother who sits in the crowd to watch her child being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize... they love regardless... they just can't help it. 

Jesus loves us regardless of our wretchedness or our righteousness...
He just can't help it. 

So we who have believed.
We who have heard and have come to drink of the living water without cost
How are we to treat those who refuse to believe?
Those who refuse to come?
Those who scoff at the cross?

If we are His, then we are being conformed into His image, we are being led by His Spirit, so we should respond as He responds...

Feel a love for them
Long to gather them

For what have I to do with judging outsiders?
1 Corinthians 5:12

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,
making the most of the opportunity.
Colossians 4:5

so that you will behave properly toward outsiders...
1 Thessalonians 4:12 

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