Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. – Romans 4:4-5
A self-proclaimed “atheist” truck driver stopped by the church office one day and our secretary spoke with him for a few minutes. He explained that most “Christians” treated him as if he were a murderer and that there was no way that he could ever believe in a God that would condemn “good” people to a sinners’ hell. From his comments I gathered that these were two of his reasons for denying the existence of God. Of course, he wasn’t really an “atheist” because he never denied God’s existence. On the contrary, he believed there was a God, but didn’t want anything to do with Him.
Two things struck me about this encounter. First, there will always be those who wish to present arguments against the believer’s faith in Christ. Yet, it is not our mission to debate an unbeliever into faith, but instead to love him there. Those without Christ speak from hearts and minds that lack spiritual intelligence. Yes, we must present God’s truth, but the Holy Spirit is the One who awakens.
Second, in a sense the truck driver was right about his sin. He is a murderer, but then again so am I. We are all guilty of that crime in that it is our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. We share in the guilt of Pilate, the Sanhedrin, and the crowd that cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion. We all deserve to spend eternity in a sinners’ hell. Yet, the wonderful, amazing, overwhelming, God-honoring good news is that Christ provided a way to escape that horrible reality.
Indeed, any sinner can be made a saint, but first the sinner must admit that he or she needs a Savior. Jesus justifies the ungodly. He does not reward the self-righteous.
We are justified, not by giving anything to God (what we do), but by receiving from God, what Christ has done for us. – William Gurnall