Friday, December 4, 2009

unconditional love for sinners

One of my best friends is a self-proclaimed non-believer. She doesn't know if she buys into the whole idea of Heaven and Hell, and she can't come to grips with the fact that faith, not works, establishes a relationship with God. She believes there is a Creator, but she struggles with the concept of eternal life and justification. How is it fair that "good" people would ever have to endure Hell? We've talked for hours and hours about all of these things, but in the end she just isn't sure if she can ever "believe" that.

We've remained best friends despite our differences, and I've told her multiple times that I will love her and do my best not to judge her whether she ever becomes a Christian or not. That is true, but then yesterday this thought ran through my mind: "Nate, you're being so patient and gentle with her, you're doing your best to explain Scripture to her, you're remaining her friend even though she disagrees with you... It's about time she became a Christian! You've done everything right, and God needs to reward you for your faithfulness to this girl."

After having that thought, I became extremely convicted. Was I only being her friend and loving her because I thought it was the best strategy for her to become a Christian? Was my love based on an expectation that because of my hard work she would naturally accept Christ?

Jesus loved sinners expecting nothing in return. God remains faithful to us even after we turn the bride of Christ into a whore. Who are we to base our love for nonbelievers on the condition that they become Christians as a result of our love? We should love sinners because Jesus loved us... not as a strategy for them all to become Christians.

As you attempt to love people, remember that the reason you love them is because of your uncontainable gratefulness for what Jesus did for humanity on the cross; not because you think it's the best strategy for evangelism.

I'm going to love this girl whether she ever believes in Jesus or not, because Jesus is never going to stop loving her... in fact, He is jealous for her love!

9 comments:

  1. Wow! Will you be my son? Awesome post

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  2. Your father mentioned this post on Twitter. Great perspective. Thanks for writing it.

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  3. I have often had similar thoughts about "strategies" and the like. Excellent post and great way to put it. Thanks, Nate.

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  4. Nicely stated, Nate! It's a relief to know that the Holy Spirit is the One that does the hard work for us! Loving her and being her friend are all you have to do! WOW!

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  5. really great, dude. as i was reading this, i came to the "god needs to reward you for your faithfulness to this girl" part and thought, how is it that faith brought nate to christ but nate's works are supposed to bring his friends to christ?

    and it's true, from a theological perspective, faith is what establishes a connection between sinner and savior, (it's actually a few things in soteriology all working together simultaneously)

    but in the secular world, it's not faith that establishes anything. you are punished for the crimes you commit, you are trusted because of the trustworthy things you do, you are loved because of what the other person sees in you.

    and all of this clashes with the entire secular world's understanding of how everything operates. the gospel means nothing on the cover of a book. people respond so negatively to the gospel today because of how it is presented.....

    if you you want people to establish a connection with god, you have to establish a connection with people.

    and you cant expect the things in the bible to make sense when the whole world operates in staunch contrast with it...

    once her mind makes a connection between the things you're telling her and something in her life the wall will start coming down.

    but she has to genuinely see a connection between what the bible says and reality, otherwise it wont be reality, your gospel wont be her gospel.

    --jonchisholm

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  6. Sometimes it seems Christians feel as if we are doing non-Christians a favor by associating with them. I have many non-Christian friends who bless my life, and hopefully I bless theirs'. God has bound us together to enrich one another. I can't help but wish that all my loved ones find Christ because I want them to feel the joy I feel. But for so many the fear of the judgement they think Christians will strike them with is too much of a risk. I wish the prospect of our love out weighed that fear.

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  7. I wish more ministries thought like you do.

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