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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Keeps People from Believing in God?

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What Keeps People from Believing in God?

God and Us – Question 13

The God of the Bible has clearly revealed Himself to humanity. Yet there are still countless individuals who do not believe in Him. The Bible makes it plain that it is not lack of evidence that keeps them from believing in God.

The evidence is available for all to see but most people do not bother to investigate the evidence. Why then is this the case?

The reasons people do not believe in God are many, but they can be broken down into three basic categories. They are pride, ignorance, and some personal sin they do not want to give up.

We can make the following observations about these obstacles for belief.

1. Pride Keeps People from Believing in God

The sin of pride keeps people from believing in the God of Scripture. Humanity does not want to admit that there is something or someone greater than human beings in the universe. People want to be the master of their own fate, the captain of their own salvation.

This is something that is horrific in the sight of the Lord. The Bible speaks of the pride of human beings.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood... (Proverbs 6:16, 17 NIV)

“Haughty eyes” or pride is the first sin mentioned in a list of things that God hates. It was the sin of pride that caused the angel Lucifer to rebel against God and be cast out of heaven. He then became the devil or “the adversary.”This evil angelic creature is presently doing everything that he can to keep people from believing in God.

2. There Has Been Pride from the Beginning

From the beginning of time humanity has been on this planet, pride has kept people from coming to God. It is still true today.

In the New Testament, the writer James warned about the foolishness of pride. He wrote about the folly of assuming we would still be around tomorrow.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NRSV)

Though people may boast that they do not need God the fact is that they cannot exist without Him. People make plans as though they will live forever, but as James reminds us no one is guaranteed that he or she will be alive tomorrow.

Indeed, none of us are guaranteed anything with respect to the future. Nothing whatsoever.

3. Ignorance Keeps People from Believing in God

Another reason the Bible gives for lack of trust in God is ignorance. Jesus pointed out that “not knowing” is a source of error when it comes to believing in God. In a discussion with the religious leaders, we find Jesus stating their problem as follows.

Jesus replied, “Your problem is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29 NLT)

According to Jesus, the two things that characterize unbelief are ignorance of both the Scripture and the power of God. People do not know what the Bible says because they have not taken the time to carefully study it. Furthermore, they do not understand the nature and greatness of God’s power. They remain ignorant.

These two things stand in the way from people having a personal relationship with God. It was a problem in Jesus’ day and it remains a problem today.

There is something else. The Bible says that humanity is deliberately ignorant of God. Paul wrote to the Romans,

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. (Romans 1:18 NLT)

This verse provides us with an interesting insight into humanity. Unbelievers are not merely rejecting the truth of God, they are actively suppressing it. They do not want to know the truth and they are doing all they can to keep themselves from knowing. In other words, they are deliberately ignorant of God’s truth.

Again, Paul wrote to the Romans about humanity running away from the Lord.

...as Scripture says, “Not one person has God’s approval. No one understands. No one searches for God.” (Romans 3:10, 11 God’s Word)

These verses teach that people are not seeking after God but are actually running away from Him. Again, we find that these people are actively suppressing, or “holding down,” God’s truth in unrighteousness. They are running in the opposite direction of the Lord.

4. Personal Sin Keeps People from Believing in God

There is something else. At times, personal sin keeps people from reaching out in faith to Jesus Christ. Rather than believing in Jesus, they choose to live their own lives without any acknowledgement of Him or what He has done on their behalf. Instead, they are living their lives completely for “self.”

They may understand the truths about Jesus and many of them may intellectually acknowledge Him. However, they do not want to personally believe in Him because they realize their life would have to change. This is something which they are not willing to do this. They would rather enjoy their sin in this present life than believe God’s truth.

Conclusion: There Are Not Any Good Reasons for Rejecting God

While there are many reasons as to why people reject the good news of salvation found in Jesus Christ, none of these reasons are valid. Those who are turning their backs on the Lord are on their way to eternal damnation unless they repent. The good news for them is that there is still hope while they are still alive.

Summary – Question 13
What Keeps People from Believing in God?

Most human beings have rejected belief in the God of the Bible. There are many reasons people do not believe in the living God but it is certainly not because of lack of evidence.

Indeed, God has provided sufficient reasons for people to believe. For whatever reason, people choose not to believe. There are three main categories we find of unbelief.

As to the reasons why people reject the God of the Bible, some people do not believe because of pride. Indeed, they are too proud to admit they need God. They think they are self-sufficient. Consequently, they live their lives without God. The sin of pride is something which God specifically hates.

For one thing, none of us has any reason to be proud. Yet pride keeps so many people from believing in God.

Others are ignorant of God’s Word and His power. Many of those who are ignorant of God want to be ignorant. They do not really want to know Him. While they may say they cannot believe in Jesus the real true is that they will not believe.

In fact, they choose to be ignorant. In fact, the Bible says that they actively suppress the truth of God. They are running from God’s truth.

Finally, there are a number of people who let their own personal sin get in the way of knowing the Lord. They would much rather live in sin than bow down to the Creator God who made them. Personal sin keeps them from believing in the Lord.

Whatever the reason may be, there are not any good reasons for rejecting the God of Scripture.

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