John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
I deal with some people who are not Christians out of simple ignorance or because, hearing the Gospel, it simply seems too good to be true and they dismiss it. However, there are others, far more than it might seem on the surface, who indeed grasp the general framework of the Gospel but decline to receive it, precisely as Jesus says here. Repentance is a huge wall for those who haven’t done it, but once done, in retrospect it looks almost insignificant compared to the magnificence of God’s grace and love. There are two factors blocking repentance. One is a love of evil deeds, and the other is pride. We hate to admit we were wrong, and that is the very foundation of repentance. Men in particular tend to be this way, as in the classical example of a man driving around for hours rather than admitting he’s lost, but women can be this way too. The problem is, unless we’re lined up with God, we’re wrong by definition. When Jesus began His ministry He started by echoing John the Baptist: “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15) The commitment to believe involves repenting of unbelief, because as Jesus said in the verse before this one, unbelief brings condemnation.
This is intensely personal for me, because there are so many whom I want to see saved, who seem so stubborn in their unbelief. It breaks my heart. I need to remember that it breaks God’s heart far more, because He literally loves each of them enough to send His Son to die for them. There is even one who comes to church regularly, but loves his pet sin too much to be willing to let go of it to receive life. I have no wisdom or strength to get through to these people, so I need to keep praying for them and allowing God’s love to flow through me to them. The man I will see tonight is a particular case in point. Pride is his prison, and he doesn’t even see that the door is already open. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment, (John 16:8-11) so I need to be fully available for however He wants to use me in bringing this man to repentance and faith. That actually is true of everyone to whom I minister, so humble, trusting obedience must be my constant attitude.
Father, I do pray for those to whom You allow me to minister. I cannot save them, as much as I would like to, but You have already done the hard part, providing salvation through Your Son. I ask You to pour Your grace out on me and those whom You have given me to love, that they may be brought out of their various prisons and into Your light and life, in the liberty of the Spirit, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!