“Without excuse…”

There are several reasons why sinful man suggests that God is unfair to hold them to account for their rejection or total unbelief toward Him. For instance, some just flatly say that God cannot be real or true, for He cannot be seen (Atheists). Others suggest that they ‘believe’ there is a God, but that he cannot be known (Agnostic).  Still, others say that if God was real and loving, He would reveal himself in such a way that people could not help but believe.

The Bible says that man is without excuse for their unbelief. The reason given in Scripture is not because God hasn’t revealed himself, but that because of man’s wickedness they have chosen to reject God and as a result, God has allowed them to continue on in their rebellious behaviour, which only gets worse.

The question I often think about as a believer is how to make contact with these types of people? What should our starting point be if and when we have an opportunity to discuss ‘religious’ things with them? Some Christians suggest we should start to speak about their sin. But then again, sin doesn’t mean anything to someone who doesn’t believe in God or that he is accountable to God. Others suggest that we should speak about the love of God, but again with respect, those who do not believe in God have no understanding of a loving God. On the contrary, they would probably give you evidence of an unloving God, especially when one experiences the tragedies of life.

Well, I think we should start where Scripture starts, namely, creation. Not only does the Bible begin there, so does Paul in Romans 1:18-20; “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

When a student receives a bad mark for an exam, they may be inclined to blame the teacher or lecturer. However, Scripture will not allow unbelievers to blame their teacher for their rejection or unbelief, for the teacher is none other than God himself. In fact, Scripture tells us that it is man’s own wickedness that is the reason or their disbelief.

While in Sydney this week, we went to the Petbarn store at Penrith. It is quite a big store, and along part of one wall, they have all these fish tanks with little and not quite so little fish swimming in them, literally hundreds of them, all made according to their kind! While I was so taken by the vast variety of fish, my mind went to Romans 1:18-20 and I concluded again that Scripture was right when it says God has revealed himself plainly and that man is without excuse. How could you say there is no Creator God when standing in front of such a vast array of creation in one small fish tank? Really, there is only one real answer and that is what Scripture also says, “It’s your wickedness that has brought you to that point.”

Do you know there are estimated to be 9,956 different kinds of birds? 6,199 different kinds of amphibians; 30,000 different kinds of fish; 5,416 kinds of mammals, and last but not least, 950,000 different types of insects? Our God made them all, each with their own particular DNA. It’s mind boggling! And then to think some people never think about God, or reject him outright, or say he hasn’t revealed himself for us to be sure there is a God. How great is man’s wickedness to say there is no God or even to suggest it all started with some big-bang!

There are many ways to start a conversation with a non-believer, but perhaps to start where Scripture starts is worthwhile considering again. And if the Lord wills and blesses our approach, we could also remind them that God knew we needed help to believe in Him after the fall into sin, and hence sent His Son as payment for our unbelief and His Holy Spirit to quicken us to saving faith. As a result of that mercy and grace, we not only praise God for creation, but for our redemption and salvation! JZ