Non-Christians may feel that it is difficult to understand where Christians are coming from or relate to them, especially those who have no Christian background at all. They cannot understand our reasoning, why we do things or why it is that we believe in Christ. They cannot understand it. We clash with them when Christian morality comes in contact with secular morality, and so people gain a perspective of Christians based on that. But I think there are a few challenges for non-Christians which can help them relate to us better and understand where we are coming from.
1 – Read the gospel of John.If you speak with an evangelical, and they share the gospel with you, the first book that they will tell you to read is the gospel of John. This is because, within, the character of Jesus of Nazareth, that is, his deity, authority, love for sinners, are fully illustrated. My challenge to the non-believer, then is to read the gospel of John. Perhaps you have already read it. However I am challenging you to read it with a different perspective.
Rather than reading it to look for errors or to refute Christian theology, or reading it with a closed mind and a hard heart, read it as Christians read it. When I say this, I mean, read the gospel of John with these questions in mind: who is Jesus of Nazareth? Can I really trust this man? Could this really be the truth? That is my challenge to you.
2 – Pray to God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are a few ways to think of this. For the non-believer, this should be a pointless exercise. This conception of God is probably not real, to you. But this leads me to say, if he is not real, then it should not hurt you at all. This is my challenge to you: pray to God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps tell him that if he really is there, then you need to know it. After all, the Bible says that if you draw near to God, then he will draw near to you (James 4:8). The Spirit may testify to you of this truth (Romans 8:16). This is how Christians come to know God, not by analyzing data (even though that sometimes plays a role), but because they have a personal relationship with God, as though he were another person in their lives. If people do know God in this way, then what should stop you from seeing if there is anything to it?
3 – Question all of your moral decisions throughout a day. Whether you help somebody who fell off of a bike, hold the door for somebody, are patient with a pregnant and overworked cashier when you are in a hurry, whatever you do, question your moral decisions – all of them – in a single day. Ask yourself why you are doing these things, why you are striving to do the right thing for other people.
Is it because man is just another animal? Why are you willing to be kind to man, but at the same time, are willing to eat animals? What is really the difference between man and animals, that you are willing to treat them so differently? When you are kind to somebody, is that because these things really are right, or because it is just your opinion? I submit that when you put your moral decisions through rigorous scrutiny, you will realize that you cannot explain why you behave in some ways, why you think some times really are right or wrong. You will realize that men are made in the image of God, endowed with intrinsic moral value, and that there is a standard of morality that is beyond yourself.
4 – Make an honest effort to understand Christian apologetics. Christian apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith. The arguments and evidence in favor of Jesus’ resurrection, and the arguments in favor of natural theology. Many non-believers are not really interested in them, and just sort of brush them off with the wave of a hand without bothering to look deeply. Either that, or they will only research the arguments insofar as they can refute them.
So my challenge is to make a real effort to understand what the Christian philosophers and scientists are saying. Your initial responses and understanding of it may not be as thorough as you think. Your understanding of the Bible may not be as acute as you think. Perhaps watch this John Lennox lecture with an open heart and mind.
5 – Ask yourself what the danger is. Jesus Christ claimed that in himself, the kingdom of God had come. He claimed the be the absolute revelation of God, and the only way to the Father (John 14:6). He did not claim to be a mere human teacher, but to be God in human flesh. He was the human version of the invisible God, who came into the word to provide salvation for everyone who calls upon him. That is why the Bible says, (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that those who believe in him may never perish, but have everlasting life.”
If God has revealed himself in the world, has a plan and intention for your life, and you miss that truth, there could be no greater conceivable tragedy. The Bible says that “God is not willing that any should perish.” 2 Peter 3:9. So just ask yourself what you will miss if this really is the truth. Ask yourself what is keeping yourself from it. Could it be your emotions? Could it be some obstacle that needs to be overcome?
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