How do you view the unsaved?
If I am honest, I have a variety of responses to them and the response that I have very much depends upon the judgment that I make when I see them or as I get to know them. Sometimes I have to admit that my reaction is not the best or indeed the most ‘Christian’ response that it should be. You see to varying degrees we all make value judgements about others, and not only the unsaved, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am a long long way from having that attitude of Christ who accepts everyone even the unlovely and I can only pray that day by day I allow Him to give me the grace that I need to be more like Him.
Anyway, the reason why I am writing this is because at the men’s Bible study on Saturday morning (30th April 2016), we did a study based on the story in Mark’s gospel regarding Christ accepting the little children when the disciples was trying to ‘protect Him from them’. It was a good study, contrasting that story with the story of the rich young man that comes immediately After it. It is amazing how through studying in this manner you get really get into the meat of the word and feel really really fed. And it all just adds to the validity and continuity and deep understanding of the Bible and what an amazing book this varying collection of books, letters and oracles really is.
But back to my reason for this post, the un-saved.
As we were closing the study I had this image come to mind that I would like to share and hope that it helps you, if like me you sometimes judge the un-saved thinking them uninterested, un-saveable (how arrogant does that make me?) or simply un-worthy of attention.
The image was one of the un-saved as embryonic Christians. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a believer in the universal salvation of all of mankind, I believe that in order to be saved one has to have a personal living relationship with Christ, and that as a consequence there are those who will choose not to enter into that relationship with Christ and will choose by default the alternative which is an eternity without God.
But there is a sense where everyone born is an embryonic Christian, in that we all have the potential to become Christian’s because God has given us all the opportunity to respond to Him in faith. But as in the natural world of child birth, not all embryonic babies mange to come full term, sad as that is when it happens.
But what of this image? Well those of us who are parents will know and fully understand how protective you are of your un-born child, nestled in the safest place that they can be, it takes 9 months for the baby to grow and develop all of the organs necessary for life outside of the womb. So it is with un-saved people. Remember they are on a journey and we should not repent of any input into their embryonic development that we might have. When you come across a person who is unsaved and they scorn or reject the things you say, it could be that they are right at the beginning of that journey in finding Christ.
I look back on my journey and at the age of 15 my best friend with whom I had held many many discussions and debates with about his faith pretty much admitted that whilst he still prayed for me, he had given up. Not long after my 16th Birthday I came to know Christ myself understanding the input that my friend had given me was a key part of my rationalising and coming to the decision to become a Christian. There were of course other influences and inputs, but you see we can also carry out the smallest act of kindness towards an un-believer and that will stay with them and speak volumes over and above debates and ‘arguments’ about our faith.
So what do I think God was trying to teach me in this picture that was in my mind?
I think it was that my attitude ought to be that of a protective parent, seeking their re-birth, seeking their spiritual birth being nurturing and caring until that day that they are at their full term and are born into His kingdom. And even then it does not stop, because just as new born babies need careful attention, feeding and loving to develop into well balanced adults eventually, so our new-born brothers and sisters need that careful nurturing and loving so that they too can grow spiritually and become mature believers sharing their faith with other people who need to come into the faith.
So rather than looking at the varying mass of people that I come into contact with as un-lovely, un-saveable and even unsavoury, I think I need to adjust my mind-set and see them as vulnerable un-born Christians