Do you believe that salvation is dependent on faith in Jesus?
Up until a couple of months ago, had I been asked that question, I would have quickly responded with a resounding "Yes!" Then I was confronted with my reality: I was claiming a truth I did not profess with my life. If asked, I would have been quick to tell you that Jesus is the only way to God. But I wasn't living like I believed that. I was living out the "all faiths are created equal" mentality that has infected our society.
Are you living like a universalist?Here's the reality: If we truly believed that salvation was dependent upon Jesus, that thousands of people will die today and go to an eternal hell because they did not give Jesus lordship over their lives, then our outlook on life would change. There are really only 2 options when you truly believe something like that. Either you keep living like you always have because you sincerely WANT those people to go to hell, or you shift the focus of your life intentions toward doing what it takes to reach those people with the love of Jesus.
I have to be honest. I have been living like a universalist. I have been living in intentional ignorance to the eternal condition of those around me. Recently, God has been breaking my heart and opening my eyes to this reality in my life.
Several years ago I heard a message that I will not soon forget. The speaker recalled the sinking of the Titanic, a tragedy marring history. Yet, he reminded us, the greatest tragedy that day was in the half-empty lifeboats floating away from the wreckage. Friend, you and I each have "lifeboats" in salvation through faith in Jesus. Are you choosing to ignore the screams of those dying in the wreckage of sin, or are you seeking to fill the empty seats in your lifeboat? If you or I had the cure for cancer, would we not be quick to reveal it? If we chose to keep it as a secret, would we not be selfishly choosing to allow thousands upon thousands of people to die from the disease each year? Yet this is exactly what we are doing, on a much larger scale and in a far more serious matter. Shouldn't we be screaming from mountaintops and emptying savings accounts for the purpose of buying plane tickets to the most remote corners of the earth? Shouldn't we be professing God's love to our neighbors, our coworkers, the homeless man on the street corner, our children's friends?
"Some wonder if it is unfair for God to allow so many to have no knowledge of the gospel. But there is no injustice in God. The injustice lies in Christians who possess the gospel and refuse to give their lives to making it known among those who haven't heard. That's unfair" (Platt).
As we spend the next month examining our attitude toward those outside of faith in Jesus, I want us to be intentional about seeking out the heart of God toward the lost.
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: 'In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me I will see that she gets justice so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'
And the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?'" (Luke 18: 1-8)
We need to start crying out for justice. We need to start praying for the unreached around the world. As I was researching for FAITHdare this month, I was completely overwhelmed. I found an organization that offers prayer cards focusing on each of the unreached people groups around the world. I downloaded it. You know how many cards there are? Over 6500. More than 6500 prayer cards. These cards represent billions of people who are living outside of faith in Jesus, many who have never even heard His name! BILLIONS! And here I am, comfortable in my life of self-indulgence and ignorance, reflected in my prayer life. How about you? Are you persistent in praying for the lost? Are you praying for opportunities to share God's love with the lost? Are you praying desperately for the lost to meet Jesus?
Make a daily habit of praying for the lost.
There are many ways you can do this. You can choose to pray for specific people in your life who are without Jesus. You can download those 6500 prayer cards (HERE) and pray for the unreached around the world. You can use a world map and choose a specific area each week to focus on in your prayers. However you do it, ask God to give you His heart for the lost.
Maybe you already pray for the lost. Would you be willing to share with the rest of us how you do that?
Only when we have been given God's vision for reaching the lost can we truly start to live to reach the dying.
Take a minute to look at this video devotional:
"Let's show them the love that we've received!"