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Don Stewart :: Is It Necessary for Unbelievers to Know God?

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Is It Necessary for Unbelievers to Know God?

God and Us – Question 8

If we grant that knowledge about God is possible, and that believers in Jesus Christ do have personal knowledge of God, then the natural question that arises concerns unbelievers. Is it possible for them to know God? A number of points need to be made.

1. Unbelievers Need To Know God

Scripture is clear on this matter. It is not only possible for unbelievers to know the God of the Bible it is an absolutely essential. Having God in one’s life is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It is crucial for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ to come to an understanding and trust in the God of Scripture.

We know that humanity certainly has the desire to know the true and living God. This was expressed long ago in the Book of Job.

“If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!” (Job 23:3 NIV)

This is the heart cry of so many people. If I only knew where to find him, where can I discover God? The good news is that a personal knowledge of the living God is something which is possible. We can know God!

2. It Is Our Choice to Obey or Disobey God

While knowledge of God is truly possible, the Bible says that we humans do have a choice in the matter. We can choose to serve God or choose to disobey Him. It is our choice. Joshua told the children of Israel of the choices they had. He said,

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

The people were told to make their own choice. They were to either follow the Lord or reject Him. Ultimately, it was up to them.

3. God Offers Unbelievers an Identity, a Purpose and a Destiny

Whether an individual ultimately chooses to trust the God of the Bible, or to reject Him, it is clear that we all need God. He provides for us an identity, a purpose, and a destiny. The evidence is as follows.

Unbelievers Are Lost in Sin: They Need to Be Saved

To begin with, unbelievers are in a state of sin. Each of us has been born separated from the living God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians believers about their former state of unbelief. He spoke of them being doomed because of their sins.

Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. (Ephesians 2:1-2 NLT)

All of us are born spiritually dead. Indeed, Scripture says that there is a spiritual blindfold which is around the eyes of all lost sinners. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this spiritual blindfold which keeps them from understanding the message of Christ.

So if the Good News that we tell others is covered with a veil, it is hidden from those who are dying. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. As a result, they don’t see the light of the Good News about Christ’s glory. It is Christ who is God’s image. (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4 God’s Word)

This spiritual blindfold needs to be removed for unbelievers to see spiritually. It is only the gospel of Christ which can do this.

Once We Believe in Jesus We Understand Who We Are: Our Identity

Because we are born spiritually dead, and blinded by sin, we need the Lord to tell us who we are. God does indeed tell us who we are, our genuine identity. We human beings are here by design, not by chance. We have been made in the image of the God of the Bible. We read the following in the Book of Genesis.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 NRSV)

The Message translates this verse as follows.

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” (Genesis 1:26 MsgB)

Humanity was created in God’s image. This means we have the ability tolove, communicate, and think. We also have the chance to know God on apersonal level. This fact separates us from the animal kingdom. In fact,the Bible puts humanity on an entirely different level than the animals.Human beings are not animals. For one thing, animals do not have theability to know and worship God.

Indeed, God gave humanity the assignment to have charge over the animal kingdom. Animals were created for humankind. It is only human beings that God provides with a genuine identity; weare the crown of His creation. This is our true identity.

Believers Have a Purpose in This Life

The Bible not only gives us this identity, as a unique creation of God, it also gives us a purpose for living. We are here to glorify God with our lives. Within the pages of the Bible we have a guidebook on how we can relate to God and how we are to conduct ourselves with one another.

God has promised to guide us. The Bible says,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV)

We do not need to grope in the dark. God’s Word is our guide that tells us His plan as well as how we should live. When we have a relationship with the living God our lives take on a real purpose. Thus, we not only know who we are we also know why we are here.

Believers Know Their Destiny

The God of the Bible also provides for us a destiny. We know that this life is not all that there is. Scripture promises a conscious existence beyond the grave. God provides for us the assurance that we will spend eternity in His presence. John wrote to believers emphasizing that they can know that they have eternal life.

I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NLT)

By believing in Christ we can know that we have eternal life. This salvation is not something which we merely hope for.

Believers Are Joint Heirs with Jesus: We Share His Treasures

God has made those who trust in Jesus Christ joint heirs to all that is His. Paul said the following to the Romans.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:16, 17 NLT)

Since we belong to His family we are heirs to all that is His. Indeed, we share His treasures. This is what is promised to all believers.

Those Reject Him Have No Real Identity or Purpose

Those who reject the God of Scripture not only lose the present benefits in this life of having a God-given identity and a real purpose, they also will lose the eternal benefits by being separated from God. The Bible speaks of a coming judgment for those who do not believe.

Paul wrote of this in his letter to the Thessalonians.

And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 NLT)

Jesus said that He would tell many on Judgment Day that He never knew them. These people were not true believers. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 NRSV)

Therefore, not everyone who calls themselves a believer truly is a believer. Judgment day will separate the believers from the unbelievers.

Conclusion: It Is Essential for Unbelievers to Trust Christ as Savior

Because of these truths, it is necessary to non-believers to enter into a personal relationship with God though Jesus Christ. Indeed, this is their only hope. Apart from Christ there is no hope for them whatsoever.

Summary – Question 8
Is It Necessary for Unbelievers to Know God?

Human beings have a genuine choice as to whether or not to have God in their life. Having God, through Jesus Christ, in one’s life is a necessity for living both now and for eternity. A person can only find true fulfillment in God through Jesus Christ.

For one thing, God gives us an identity. We know who we are because the Bible tells us so. We are not here by blind chance. Indeed, humans are a result of God’s creative design. We have been created, we did not evolve.

We also find that we have been created for a purpose. Human beings are placed here upon the earth to know God and to glorify Him. Instead of life being something meaningless, there is a genuine purpose for our existence.

Finally, there is a destiny which awaits each of us. This life is not the end. Indeed, beyond this life eternity awaits for all of us. The eternity for the unbeliever is horrible beyond description.

The good news is that they do not have to experience this fate. Once they turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior they have passed from death to life. There is no condemnation awaiting them.

Thus, God gives people an identity, purpose and destiny. Those who reject Christ have none of these. Consequently, the importance of this issue cannot be overestimated. Unbelievers need to know God.

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