Fred E. Dennis
This would be a good question for all of us to ask all of our friends and loved ones. If you are not a Christian, it would be a good question to ask yourself. I heard of an old gospel preacher once who always asked those with whom he came in contact if they were Christians. If he learned they were not, he would then ask them why they were not.
Some are not Christians because they are afraid of ridicule. The church is unpopular, and real Christians will be ridiculed by some. Yes, even by some from whom we have a right to expect better things! But we must not be ashamed of ridicule and persecution. Listen to Jesus: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). It will be an awful thing for Jesus to be ashamed of us. It is an awful thing for us to be ashamed of him and his words. Do you refuse to be a Christian because you are ashamed of him?
Some are not Christians because, as they say, they are waiting for a “special call.” This comes from a misunderstanding of the Scriptures. God makes no “special calls” to men and women today. We are called by the gospel: “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). These brethren had been called by the gospel. God is still calling folks by the gospel. We must not wait for a further call. In one of the parables Jesus said: “And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). Jesus would have us to learn that all things are now ready. It is up to us to answer the call. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). This is the way God’s good Book ends. It is heaven’s invitation to all to come. The Holy Spirit invites. The church invites. Jesus gave the great invitation in these words: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Let us not sin by saying this is not enough, and that we are waiting for a “special call.” The Lord is not running any “specials.” It is “whosoever will,” not “whosoever will not.”
Some say they are not Christians because there are so many hypocrites in the church. Sometimes I am almost tempted to say there is always room for one more! This excuse is founded in hypocrisy. There are some hypocrites in the church, but there are more out of the church. The time is coming when the Lord will weed out all of the hypocrites. And where will they be put? They will be cast into hell with all those who will not obey the gospel of God. It is better to put up with a few hypocrites in the church for a little while than to be with all the hypocrites for eternity. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). You will not have to answer for the hypocrites, but you will have to answer for yourself. What will your answer be?
Others say they are not good enough to be a Christian. Becoming a Christian is what makes us “good.” The betrayers and murderers of Christ were not very “good,” but about fifty days after they had killed the Prince of Peace the gospel was preached to them. They learned from this preaching that they were lost and undone. They learned that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They believed the gospel. They asked what they must do (Acts 2:37), and they were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). If you are ever saved, this is what you will have to do. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
You may be a great sinner, but you are not such a great sinner that the blood of Christ cannot save you. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). And if you are a member of the church and have fallen, there is a way back. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10). Yes, God wants all men to be saved. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4)
Some hesitate to become Christians because they are fearful they cannot hold out faithful. You start out to drive your car on a dark night, but you cannot see all the way home. But you start. You do not expect to see every curve and dangerous place from the beginning, but you will pass over them as you come to them. Thus it is in living the Christian life. We are able to surmount the difficulties as we come to them. The Lord gives strength and help. “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). When we say that we cannot hold out faithful, and that the temptations that confront us are too heavy to bear, that is distrusting God, and dangerously near to calling him a liar. God says he will not allow the Christian to be tempted above that he is able to bear. Christians are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Pet. 1:5). “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isa. 41:13).
Some say they are not ready to be Christians. That may be true, but it would not take you long to get ready if you wanted to. If you are not ready, you had better get ready and stay ready. “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44). Christ is not coming in an hour when you think, but when “ye think not.” Do not let these date setters fool you.
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (Jas. 4:13-17).
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).