Have you ever stopped to consider why millions of Christ followers find the message of the Gospel to be so believable? Scripture informs us that 3,000 unbelievers were converted on the Day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:37-41) and a eunuch became a believer after “Philip ... told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35).
“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). And yet there remain multitudes of people today who have yet to trust Christ as their Savior. Sadly, many have never heard the good news of the Gospel, while others who have heard it resist the message.
Man is prone to doubt God and distrust his promises. We are all susceptible to misguided thinking. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:10). “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11).
C.S. Lewis said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Unbelievers are blind to the absolute truth and infinite importance of Christianity. When the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel in Rome, “some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe” (Acts 28:24).
The refusal to believe the Gospel does not mean that the good news is unbelievable. It simply means that God allows people to reject the Gospel if they so choose. The problem is not with the Savior or his message. The problem lies in the heart of man.
King David understood firsthand what happens when you allow your heart to stray from God’s commands and promises. David told his son Solomon to "acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
C.S. Lewis got it right: “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
Do you want God’s will to be done in your life, or do you want your will to take precedence? If you choose to be your own little god, you will miss out on the eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:4) given to those who by faith receive Jesus as Savior (John 1:12).
When was the last time some bad news had a terrible impact on your life? In those situations, we tend to become desperate for some good news. We long to see the problem addressed in a meaningful way. Likewise, unless you realize that you will be separated from God forever apart from faith in Christ, you are inclined to just blow off the Gospel and move on to the next topic. That is if you fail to grasp the extremely serious nature of the bad news.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). The bad news about your sin and your unbelief gets far worse after you die. “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Those who go to their grave in unbelief suddenly see things much differently. I cannot stress enough how critical it is that you turn to the Lord in repentance and accept the payment which Christ made on the cross for your sins.
Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).
God will not force you to believe the good news. You were not created as a puppet or a robot. If you choose to ignore the Lord’s plan of salvation, you will do so to your own peril. This is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. “God wants everyone to be saved,” (1 Timothy 4:2) but there is something God wants even more than you going to Heaven when you die. The Lord wants you to take Him at his Word.
The good news is believable, and therefore millions of people receive it and believe it. You would be wise to spend an hour today contemplating what Scripture teaches regarding the bad news about your separation from God and the good news about Jesus. Have you seriously considered your sin and the Savior, Heaven and Hell, belief and unbelief? Or are your current interests and your retirement plans more important to you than where you will spend eternity?
I suspect you agree with C.S. Lewis that if Christianity is true, it is of infinite importance. After all, how could anyone logically disagree with that statement? The stakes are sky-high. The bad news is that your sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2). The good news is that Christ died for your sins to rescue you from sin, death, and eternal punishment in Hell.
Jesus said, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). “Everyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11). Jesus’ first sermon was simply, “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.