Probably the most famous verse from Scripture is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
This verse has been exhibited by fans at major sporting events, proclaimed on live television, and advertised on billboards throughout major cities. It is a great summary of God’s love and promise to rescue the world from sin.
However, just a couple verses later, there is a condemning verse that no one likes to talk about—how the world loves darkness more than light because their deeds are evil. It’s a convicting verse that warns the world that unbelief is a sin that leads to condemnation. Let’s read this verse now and discuss it’s implications.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil (John 3:18-19).”
God clearly states that whoever does not believe in the Son of Man is—at this moment, condemned due to their unbelief. Interestingly, unbelief is not associated with an intellectual issue like many skeptics might argue. Rather, unbelief is connected with the desire to practice evil and hide from the light of Christ to be saved.
Throughout the book of Romans, the apostle Paul also argues that unbelief is due to a willful rejection of truth. In other words, people suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. Romans 1:20 states that since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen throughout nature so that people are without excuse.
Essentially, the Bible teaches there is a common sense realism concerning the knowledge of God. His attributes are clearly seen in nature. As humans created in the image of God, there is an intuitive knowledge of our Creator. When we fall prey to unbelief, it’s because we choose to harden our hearts.
In my life, I have interacted with several atheists. Most of them are cordial and respect me as a person. However, they wouldn’t be convinced that their unbelief is a result of suppressing the truth of God or because of disobedience. In fact, they usually tell me how they once desired to believe in a god, but logic and reasoning persuaded them to reject supernaturalism.
Personally, I think these atheists are genuine. Many of them can quote more Bible verses than believers who attend church. There is a true zeal they have that motivates them to try and answer the fundamental questions of existence, such as: “What is the purpose of life?” “Why do we exist?” “What does the future have in store for me?” Nevertheless, they still need the gospel of grace.
As Christians, I believe it is our responsibility to continually pray that God would open unbelievers eyes to the truth of the gospel. This existential reality of knowing God and possessing a peace that surpasses all understanding is like a treasure hidden in a field. Since we know where this treasure is, it’s our duty to share this with others, whether they accept or reject it. Be encouraged and confident that God will equip you to share this good news to the world. Blessings!
Post Written by Chad A. Damitz
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