CP Opinion

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

The Impossibility of Remaining Neutral Toward Jesus

  • (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
    Dan Delzell is an exclusive CP columnist.
March 4, 2014|8:31 am

What would you say about people who don't seem to be for Christ nor against Him? They attempt to stake out ground somewhere in the middle and remain "neutral" toward Jesus. But is that even doable? Actually no. It is impossible.

"But I don't dislike Jesus. I just don't happen to believe in Him as my Savior." OK. That is certainly a principled position. And many people honestly subscribe to it. But in holding a perceived "neutral" position concerning Jesus, an individual is actually choosing to remain apart from Christ. By not saying "yes" to the Lord, a person ends up saying "no" simply by ignoring Him altogether.

"But isn't it that way then with every other religious prophet as well?" Not necessarily. Jesus is unique. He claimed to be God. And He claimed to be the only way to the Father. (see John 14:6) Once a prophet makes that exclusive claim, it is not possible to remain neutral concerning his declaration. You either believe that particular prophet and begin to follow his path, or you allow his message to go in one ear and out the other without yielding your soul and your life to that spiritual path.

It is easy to illustrate the point I am making. Take yourself for example. In the New Testament, Jesus called people to repent of their sins and believe in Him. If Jesus were walking on earth today, He would say the same thing to you. Instead, He has instructed His followers to share that message with everyone. So right now at this moment, you are being presented with the truth about Jesus Christ. As a sinner, you are commanded by God to repent (see Acts 17:30) and invited to believe the good news.

It is impossible for you to remain neutral over this call on your life. Five minutes from now you will either be starting to rely upon Christ's cross for salvation, or moving on to other thoughts, projects and passions. By "not choosing" Christ, you are making it clear to Him that you are not yet willing to repent and believe.

The Lord at various times explained how "neutral" is not an option available to anyone. Jesus said, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:17,18) Two possibilities:  Believe in Christ or stand condemned. There is no third path.

"Are you trying to make me feel guilty Dan?" Not in the way you might think. Guilt trips are usually misguided and ill-conceived. The only godly guilt is guilt which God produces in a person's soul when he recognizes his sinfulness before His Creator. And that guilt is a good thing because the Holy Spirit works to produce repentance as well as faith in a person's heart.

Guilt trips from other people are a dead-end street. What we all need instead is godly guilt and godly grace. This involves an awareness of my sin and a correct understanding of my Savior. Without it, man wants nothing to do with the Jesus of the New Testament. By the way, the Jesus of the New Testament is the same God who created every single Jew and every single Gentile. He is the Lord of the universe, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus talked about all three Persons of the Trinity when he said, "The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:34-36)

Notice how once again Jesus presented only two possibilities. Believing in the Son, or rejecting the Son. You are either for Him or against Him. "But I don't want to be against Him. I just don't believe in Him." OK. But according to Jesus, that means you are choosing to reject Him. And it also means that God's wrath remains on you because of your sin.

"But I don't feel like I am under God's wrath. In fact, I don't feel like a bigger sinner than others." No one said you are a "bigger sinner." But God's Word definitely describes how you have sinned against the Lord. You have broken God's holy commands. And while that may not seem like a big problem to you, I assure you that it is your biggest problem by far. Your sin has separated you from God. And the only One who can bridge that separation for you is the Lord Jesus Christ.

"But I haven't done anything too bad in my life." Oh really. Well, you will get your day in court to present the case for your innocence. "For we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10)

"But what if I don't believe any of this stuff? Are you saying that even people like myself will be forced to appear in that courtroom?" That is exactly what I am saying because that is exactly what God's Word says. And God loves you enough to give you this extra time right now to repent.

"But I am not ready Dan." OK. But just be prepared then to enter Judgment Day as a "criminal" in God's courtroom. That is what sin does to your soul. And whether you feel it is true or not is beside the point. The sun is going to come up tomorrow whether you feel like it will happen or not. Likewise, the Son of God is going to judge the world whether you feel like it or not.

How many men and women sitting in a county jail today "feel like" being there, or feel like being forced to go before the judge? They were brought there because of the charges against them, and the same is true in the spiritual realm. No one will be neutral toward Jesus in His courtroom, and He certainly won't be neutral toward anyone there. He will either be for you on that day, or against you. "What's that you say Dan?" "Jesus will be against some people on that day?" Yes. Those who are sentenced to hell will not receive His favor or blessing on Judgment Day.

But there is still time to "get in with Jesus" while "the getting is good." Today is a day of grace. Judgment Day will be a day of wrath for those who are not "justified" before God. And the only way to be justified is to trust Jesus to forgive you here and now. (see Romans 3:21-26) No forgiveness will be offered for unbelievers on Judgment Day. Not an ounce. If you are an unbeliever and that fact doesn't alarm you, it should. Far better to be alarmed and awakened now than to be sentenced then.

How many months do you think you have left on earth? How many hours? By this time tomorrow, will you be any closer to trusting Christ for salvation? Or will you tearfully look back on these words one day and wish you had taken the message of Christ seriously? I hope that doesn't happen to you, especially after all Jesus went through to pay for your sins on the cross.

If you find yourself at a spiritual fork in the road, it is because there are only two paths. There is the one you have been on as an unbeliever, and the one you can get on by placing your faith in Jesus Christ. So choose wisely. Much is at stake, whether you realize it right now or not.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.
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