Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why Do Unbelievers Not Get It?

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. – John 6:47

It’s really pretty simple, don’t you think? Because of the fall of man, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We cannot be saved on our own, but require faith in Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, in order to be saved. By repenting of our sins, putting our faith in Jesus and trusting Him stand on our behalf before God’s judgment and declare we are justified in Him, we are saved from eternal death and damnation. Why would someone not grasp and hold onto that as though they were clinging to a life preserver out on the open ocean?

Why Didn’t Someone Explain to the Jews that Jesus Is the Messiah?

Didn’t anyone explain things to the Jews well enough? The Sadducees and Pharisees were experts in the law, they knew every word of the book. They’d studied it, they’d memorized it, they’d preached on it, they’d discussed it on Facebook and debated what it said many times. Surely, if anyone had the capacity to understand that Jesus was fulfilling the books of the Law and the Prophets, they would, right?

Jesus even tried to get through to them, “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” – John 5:38-40

The Jews Saw Jesus Doing Miracles and Still Didn’t Believe.

The above discussion took place right after Jesus had healed the man beside the pool of Bethesda. A man who was crippled since youth was walking down the street and carrying his bed, but he was doing it on the Sabbath, so the teachers of the law accosted him for breaking the law. When he told them what had happened and how he’d been healed, they started to investigate further and discovered that it was Jesus who had healed the man. Instead of rejoicing in a miracle, they remained focused on the fact that Jesus had broken the law.

Why Couldn’t the Sadducees and Pharisees Understand Jesus?

“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.” – John 8:43-45

This discussion took place after they had brought the woman caught in adultery before Him to be stoned and He had told them that He who was without sin should cast the first stone. There’s an enormous contrast here. An adulterous was given mercy while teachers of the law were told that they were of the devil. What is going on here? Aren’t those guys better than her?

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus repeated this phrase several times throughout the gospels. He spoke in parables much of the time and explains why in Matthew 13:13, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” Jesus then quoted a scripture from Isaiah:

“Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.”
– Isaiah 6:9 & 10

Wait, Why Didn’t Jesus Want Everyone to Believe?

This passage is extremely difficult for many Christians to get their heads around. It seems totally incongruent with what we’ve been taught. Jesus wants Everyone to believe in Him, right?

In John 17, Jesus prays for those who the Father has given to Him.
In Matthew 7, Jesus says that not all of those who call Him Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In John 10, Jesus talks about His sheep hearing His voice, that the Shepherd knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, and that those who enter into the fold in any other way than through the door (also Jesus) are wolves and thieves and neither sheep nor shepherd.
In Revelation 21, only those whose names are written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There’s a pattern here, which continues from the beginning of scripture to the end of it. Paul sums up this pattern very well in Romans 9:15-18:

For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

Our Salvation Is a Transformational Miracle of God

The whole of scripture teaches that our salvation is a transformational miracle of God rather than a mere human choice to believe. We come to Jesus because we hear His call to us. We hear His call to us because we have been given ears to hear His call and because we are His sheep and recognize His voice when He calls. We are given these ears to hear because our names are written in the Book of Life. Not everyone hears and understands because it is not given to them to hear and understand. This is what Jesus taught. It may not fit with what you’ve heard from others, but it is what is taught by Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Word, the Door, the Good Shepherd, the Redeemer, the Savior and the Son of God.

 God Wants All of the Glory for Your Salvation

When Jesus asked the disciples who they believed that He was, Peter answered saying that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew 16:13-17). How did Jesus respond? He said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” God has made it clear to some who He is and to others He has kept Himself hidden. Why? God back to Jesus’ quote from Isaiah:

"Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."

God doesn’t want men to save themselves. It’s as simple as that.

What About the Great Commission?

The great commission does not tell us to go into the world and save people. The great commission doesn’t tell us to make sure that everyone in the world prays “the Sinner’s Prayer.” The great commission tells us to go into all of the world and preach the gospel. We know how people are going to respond to it because Jesus told us how they would respond:

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

Why Do Unbelievers Not Get It?

Unbelievers don’t get it because the Holy Spirit has not opened their eyes to see it and their ears to hear it. Does that make faith less precious? Hardly! It makes faith even more precious! We who believe in Jesus were adopted into the Kingdom of God as sons and daughters. We who hear Jesus’ call, understand it and respond to it are His true sheep. He will keep us in Him for all eternity. Do not despise that miracle, but rejoice in it, give ALL glory to our Lord Jesus for His miracle of salvation and spread the good news of the gospel so that other sheep will hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and come to Him also.

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