Hey Unbelievers, Stop Sinning! – That’s Not What Unbelievers Need To Hear – Online Bible Lessons
We Need Life, Not Rules and Behavior Improvement
“Hey Mr., adultery is a sin against God and punishable by death according to His perfect Standard”. “Sir, homosexuality is an abomination against God so you better stop it before it’s too late”. “Miss, abortion is murder in God’s eyes and God will get you for it on Judgment day”.
How often are these words uttered to non-believers in hopes that they just get scared and stop committing whatever sin it is that they are involved in. Think about where the focus is when we say this to people. Our focus is on human effort, when it needs to be on Jesus.
You see, there’s no amount of sinning less that will make us right with God or get us into heaven. The answer is not to yell at people to stop sinning, but rather it’s to point them to Jesus. It’s impossible to not be a slave to sin if we’re not saved. When we do this we are putting the cart before horse.
But what would happen if we spent less time pointing out how bad people were and more time talking about who Jesus is for us? Instead of trying to change someone before they receive Christ, we need to lead them to the Savior and let Him do the changing.
God said in Ezekiel 36:26 that he would give us a new heart and put His Spirit in us. It’s this new heart and Gods Spirit that will change the sinful desires that all men struggle with. Apart from Christ you can do nothing.
Philippians 2:13 gives us an idea what God placing His Spirit in us does when He says “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
So we need God, in us, to fulfill any type of good.
But when we run around pointing out the big sins of non-believers with no mention of Christ, then we too have missed the Gospel. Regardless of the size of your sins what we all need is life, not behavior improvement. God is not impressed with the person who barley sins, and He’s not going to dole out any lesser punishment either. No matter how big our sin is, or isn’t, scripture tells us our righteousness will only be found in Jesus.
So often we think we are doing God a favor by yelling and pointing out the sins of non-believers when what God really wants is for them to know His son. I don’t care what their sins are, they can be forgiven just as yours were. Improving their behavior will do nothing for them. They are dead in Adam and in need of new Life found in Christ, and the ONLY way they’ll get it is to believe in Jesus. Not that they could, but even if they totally avoided sin it wouldn’t make a difference. So I ask you, what’s your goal, to make them sin less, or save them from eternal punishment?
[John 1:12-13] But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
So you see, what we need is a new birth. We’re dead. And we can try all we want, but without Jesus we will never get it right. We’ll never have life.
Do you remember the story of Nicodemus? Jesus tells him how to enter the kingdom of God, and He doesn’t say a word about behavior. Yes, at times Jesus talked about behavior as part of entering Gods kingdom but this was always to Jewish people that were rejecting Him and clinging to the law for righteousness. Jesus would then raise the standard of the law telling them if they want to enter heaven then cut off your hand or gouge out their eyes. You’re better off cutting out your eye than looking with lust and being thrown into hell. What Jesus said was very true, but He also knew full well that no one, not even the super religious elite could be perfect. His teachings were meant to make them see how far they missed the mark which would make them desperate for another way to God. That way was through Him.
Let’s look at what Jesus said to Nicodemus.
[John 3:1-3] Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
So not a single mention of behavior improvement. A man MUST be born again. We’re born again when we place our faith in Jesus and God gives us His Spirit. Remember, Jesus came to give us life.
[John 3:4-5] 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Let’s pause. This verse is often cited as you have to be baptized in water to be saved. But that’s not what’s going on here. This is about being born in your mothers water. The flesh. And as we read on we get a clear picture that is about a human birth, and then a Spiritual birth, hence you are born AGAIN.
[John 3:6] 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do you see it? Flesh birth, which is water, and Spirit birth. This is not about baptism for salvation.
[John 3:7] Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
So while you were once DEAD in Adam, through faith you have been “born again” and are now alive in Christ. And as far as this idea of losing salvation, in the same way that you can’t be unborn in the flesh, you also can’t be unborn in the Spirit.
Again, our okayness with God is a BIRTH issue, not a need for behavior improvement issue.
John 1:12-13 says “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Let me be very clear, sin is awful. Sin causes all kinds of pain, loss, and suffering. But unbelievers do not need a message of “you stink and God hates and your sin” or “you’re going to hell”. What they need to hear is the message of Christ, they need to witness His love through us. They need to see His kindness, His grace, and His forgiveness. They need to believe so that they can be born again and receive a newness of life. It’s only through that rebirth that they will ever change in a way that pleases God.
I know we think it’s the fear of Hell that leads people to God, but the truth is it’s the love of God that leads us to Him.
I’ll will close with the Apostle Paul’s message from Romans 2
Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
In other words, we’re all sinners. Big or little, all sin is punishable by death. We have no business judging the unsaved. Instead we need to point them to the solution. Jesus.
Romans 2:2-3 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
In other words God’s their judge and He doesn’t need your help. You’re holding them to the standard of the law and not yourself. You, the believer have been saved from the judgment of all your sins through faith, not less sinning. But again, before you think that what draws them to God is a fear of Hell and not love, let’s see what verse 4 teaches us.
Romans 2:4 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
There you have it. It’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. There’s something amazing about the God of the universe saying “I’ll take you as you are. I love you. I crushed my Son on the cross to die for your sins. Do you believe me? Will you accept me? It’s grace, not of your works. It’s my gift to all who believe.”
How amazing is that kind of love!
God bless you.