Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Burdens Carried for Those Unsaved

“How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in?”
— Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)
Allow me to contend with myself. In writing the article, What God Has Prepared for Those Who Love Him, I was left with a strange sense that it was incomplete; even somewhat selfish. You see, whilst it is an incredibly beautiful reality to consider—venturing through Heaven’s gaze—it celebrates an imminent fact (our entering Heaven) that also causes us pain: for those we must leave behind and for those who won’t make it there to be with God in the next life.
It should cut us to the heart that anyone we would know might enter a godless eternity. And still, we limit ‘eternity’ too much if we consider it an end-of-life reality, alone. Eternal life is an eternal prospect—just as available here, in this life, as in eternity.
But there is something stopping the unregenerate person from receiving Christ.
Beyond broken hearts are broken hearts wedded to grief in its purest form: coming face-to-face with the knowledge of our sin, and our need—never more certainly—of God. Unless we would come face-to-face with the reality of such truth we are forever apart from God. We cannot know the abundant life unless we first know our possession of the poverty-of-a-life without God. Blessed are the poor of spirit—knowing their utter lack without God—for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
Those of us with relatives who don’t know Christ—who don’t believe, who haven’t reconciled themselves to the fact of their sin, who have no Lord true to the believer’s sense of ‘Lord’—are caught between a rock and a hard place. We pray for our opportunities speak for the Lord into their lives, but alas all too many of us never get through.
Truly, salvation is the greatest of gifts, but, in these circumstances we discuss, it is a reminder of a grief within us that, in this life, cannot ever be tamed.
Praying for Peace and Acceptance
What are we to do regarding the stiff-necked within our families and our friendship groups, notwithstanding those within our reach otherwise?
Those who will not hear of Christ may not be able to be helped, but we have to find a balance between never giving up on being used by God and accepting that our best will mostly not be good enough.
Then there are those trying to water down the message of the gospel. In a Love Wins universalistic world we ought to be here to say that God’s Word and eternal will, alone, wins. Not everyone knows or receives Heaven. And we are to hold two ravenous tensions together: the knowledge and power of our salvation together with an acceptance of the incapacity we have in convincing others that that salvation could be theirs, also.
We have to live with both truths—accepting same. We have no choice.
As Christians we ought to carry a burden for the unsaved, particularly our loved ones. But we must then also accept that convincing them is well beyond us. We can pray for them and we can accept our limitations. Like with so many things, we must trust God.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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