If a billionaire benefactor began offering people a 2-week vacation in Hawaii at no cost, you would have people scrambling to find out how to receive such a generous gift. Yet, when our Lord Jesus Christ offers an everlasting paradise as a free gift of His grace, most people reject the gift. His offer should be even more desirable because He promises there will be no more death or sorrow, or pain, or sin (Rev. 21:3-4). What causes people to reject the eternal glory of an inheritance with Christ where righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13)? Why would anyone refuse the incomparable gift of eternal life with Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23)? From a human perspective this makes absolutely no sense, but from a spiritual perspective, the answers are found in God's Word.
The apostle Paul wrote: "the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor. 4:4). Unbelievers are spiritually blind with a veil covering their heart. The only way the veil can be removed is by turning to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16). Until then, they are excluded from the life of God and remain darkened in their understanding because of the hardening of their heart and the ignorance that is in them (Eph. 4:18).
The devil, who is the god of this world, uses the influences of his world system to keep men in darkness and occupied with idols. As the master deceiver, he has created many counterfeit gods and religions which all embrace the same grace-nullifying message: "You must do good works to gain favor and acceptance from god." There are many strategies the master deceiver employs to blind people from God's truth, but none may be more effective than pride. It is no wonder God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6). Some of the most powerful tools Satan uses to blind people from the light of the Gospel are given below.
Satan does a masterful job of using man's religions to conceal God's glorious Gospel of grace. He uses religious pride to blind them from the only cure for sin. Religious pride produces a fierce, unbending loyalty to an apostate church or a false religion. We have found that many Catholics refuse to engage in conversations about the Bible because of religious pride. They end the conversation by boasting, "I was born a Catholic, and I will die a Catholic." The truth is they were born a sinner and will die a sinner and be eternally separated from God, unless they repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15).
Never underestimate the captivating power of religious indoctrination. Most religions work on the principle of teaching children from the time they can think, to embrace a single worldview, to the exclusion of all others. They become indoctrinated into believing they belong to the "one true church or religion." Those who are deceived about their relationship with God live with a dangerous and perilous delusion. If they die in such a state, they have no recourse and no second chance.
The prideful arrogance of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency is a great hindrance to recognizing the need for a Savior. Personal pride blinds men from the seriousness of their sin. Such was the case of the self-righteous Pharisee who boasted in his good works before God (Luke 18:11). People who rely on their good works do not pursue the perfect righteousness of Christ by faith (Rom. 9:32).
Deceitfulness of Sin
Some people choose to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin rather than the eternal joy of being redeemed from the captivating power of sin (Heb. 3:13; 11:24-26). They reject the light of the Gospel because they love the darkness that hides their sin (John 3:19-21). Some will also reject the Gospel because of the deceitfulness of wealth (Mat. 13:22). Their love for money is greater than their love for eternal life.
The greatest obstacle to people learning the truth is the stubborn-hearted belief that they already know it. Some religious people have a dogged determination to never change their position on doctrinal issues. Even when opposing views are presented from God's authoritative Word, they refuse to consider the possibility that they could be wrong.
Some reject the Gospel and choose to remain in a false religion because of an unwavering loyalty to their family. They do not want to offend their parents who might disinherit or shun them if they left their religion. It is for this reason Jesus said that a man's enemies will be members of his own household, as He divides believers from unbelievers (Mat. 10:34-36).
Unbelievers are spiritually dead in their sins and held captive by the devil to do his will (Eph. 2:1; 2 Tim. 2:26). The "natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Cor. 2:14). Only God can bring them to life through His mercy and grace (Eph. 2:4-6). Only the truth of God's Word can set them free from the snare of the devil (John 8:31-32).
With all of these reasons why people reject the gift of eternal life, we can understand why the disciples were astonished and asked our Lord, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Mat. 19:25-26). This is why we must pray to our Sovereign Lord for those who are perishing. He is the only one who can open stubborn hearts to receive the Gospel with joy (Acts 16:14). If any unbeliever has rejected the gift of eternal life for any of these reasons, we pray they will repent and trust Christ alone for salvation. Life is short, eternity is forever! Therefor the most important issue to consider in this life is Where Will You Spend Eternity?
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