Published October 10, 2017

Paul's Epistle

Often I hear from readers of this newsletter, including several pastors, who say that one of the things they like about these columns is that we stick to the fundamental truths of Scripture. That, of course, is music to my ears – because that's certainly what we intend to do.

So it came as a bit of a surprise – and, in fact, a puzzlement – when after last week's newsletter I received this note from a subscriber:

"Your newsletter has made me realize that I am an atheist and I no longer require being brainwashed with your words. I would like to be removed from your mailing list at once, please, as I am unsubscribing."


I wrote back to this young lady – who is apparently a college junior – and asked her what exactly I had written that made her "realize" that she is an atheist. To date, I have received no response. (Was it because this particular column was about our precious new granddaughter, and this student might be vehemently pro-abortion? Was it because I mentioned Noah's flood, which is something this atheist history major would consider merely a fable?*)

Actually, although I'm sad for this person's lack of faith (and I have prayed for her), I take some comfort in the fact that our words in these columns apparently have been used by the Holy Spirit to convict her of sin – a conviction that she has, apparently, for now, rejected.

I wrote some years ago about the reason so many people were protesting the posting of the Ten Commandments in public spaces across the country. The bottom line is simply that the Ten Commandments remind us of what constitutes sin, and in our anything-goes, truth-is-relative society, people just don't want to be reminded of what constitutes sin. They figure, "out of sight, out of mind." They simply don't want to have anything to do with God. They don't want their actions judged, and God, of course, is the ultimate Judge.

Apparently this young student – and anyone else who doesn't want to hear the truth – is like those people God told Isaiah about – people who would "shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return and be healed" (Isaiah 6:10, also quoted in John 12:40).

Why do people want to avoid the Gospel? Why can't they see its truth? Paul writes, "...even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them..." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4.) Such a person "does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (1 John 2:11).

Do you know someone who has rejected God? Unfortunately, most Christians do know such a person. Often it's someone close, perhaps a family member, neighbor or co-worker. Pray for them. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the truth (see Psalm 119:18). Soon.

To use a term the young lady used, not only should we be "brainwashed," we should have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), who "loved us and washed us from our sins..." (Rev. 1:5). Our "brain" – our mind – should be cleansed "from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). That is, indeed, a very desirable kind of "brainwashing."

I say all this to encourage you. If you know someone who has rejected God, please don't give up on them. They initially might not want to hear what you have to say, but you're planting a seed that the Lord could use when the time is right to draw them to Himself. And that's a pretty big – and certainly important – part of our role in this life as Christians.

- Paul

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