I often ponder why someone would reject Jesus. Because I grew up in a Christian home, there was never a time when I did not believe in God, or that the Bible was true. I’ve had lots of questions over the years, and there are still many things I don’t understand in scripture, but those questions have never made me doubt who God is; they simply remind me that I am not infinite or all-knowing and am a created being with limitations.
According to the Bible, there are two options. One is to believe what Jesus says, the other is to remain independent of Jesus, and by default, remain in the kingdom of His enemy, Satan (Colossians 1:13). Let’s consider the marketing plan of each option.
Jesus says, “Repent and believe in Me, and I will give you abundant life here on earth, take care of you, provide for you, and bring you to My home when you die, a place of beauty and joy and peace, unlike anything you can imagine, for eternity.” He tells us only the truth because He is truth (John 14:6). He set aside His glory in heaven and was made in the likeness of man so that He could die a physical death on the cross in our place, paying our sin debt (Philippians 2).
Satan, on the other hand, comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. He is, by nature a liar and a murderer, and cannot tell the truth. He is called the accuser, the destroyer. He hates God and delights in destroying our lives as a way to get revenge on God. He desires to take God’s place and exalt himself. He is destined for a place that was made expressly for him and his rebellious demons (fallen angels), and he will take all who believe in him and reject Jesus to hell with him.
We only have to look at God’s original law, the ten commandments, to see the difference between these two options. God tells us to worship Him alone and to reject all other gods and manmade idols, to honor His name, and to enjoy a Sabbath rest each week. He tells us to honor our parents, to not murder, commit adultery, steal, or lie, or to covet what other people have.
Satan tells us the exact opposite; he encourages us to do whatever our lust desires.
Think about it…
What did a dead statue ever do for anyone?
What does having a trashy mouth that takes God’s name in vain get you?
What does nonstop work (in a job you probably hate) to accrue possessions and financial security do for you?
When did disobedience and rebellion toward your parents ever help you?
What good comes from murder?
What satisfaction comes from betraying your spouse to sleep with someone else, or sleeping with multiple partners?
How has lying made your life easier and less complicated?
What joy comes from focusing on what other people have, and scheming to get it?
All of God’s commands lead to a life of peace, joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and rest. All of Satan’s temptations lead to hurt, betrayal, poor health, anxiety, fear, and failure.
Of course, we are all guilty of breaking the ten commandments, no matter how good we think we are. If you think you’re doing pretty well keeping God’s law, you’re missing the point. Jesus taught us that the issue is not the letter of the law, but the spiritual condition behind it. Anger is the same as murder. Lust is the same as adultery. Because we are born with a fallen nature, God knew we would never be able to keep His law; He sent Jesus in our place, to GIFT us with His righteousness. His plan is the only, ultimately fair, and just plan. All are guilty, yet all are welcome in Christ. No other gods offer grace and redemption. All other religions (including “no” religion) is based on your ability to measure up to your god’s demands.
Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5)
Why would I want what is “owed” to me for my sin? Why would I want to be called to account for my sinful deeds, when Jesus offers to “take what’s coming” in my place? Why would I not choose a life of peace and joy, allowing God to make something beautiful of my life and have heaven in the end?
Believing in Jesus is not a religion. It is not changing the way you dress and talk to measure up to some man’s idea of good. Believing in Jesus is recognizing that we are lost and separated from God by our sin, and unable to change the outcome, because we are already spiritually dead. Jesus came to give us spiritual life, and abundant life here on earth.
Do you want what’s owed to you, what you have worked for? Or do you want what Jesus desires to give you?