“But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:40).
IN THE END, THOSE WHO WILL BE LOST WILL BE THOSE WHO HAVE INSISTED ON BEING LOST. God has gone to great lengths to provide for our redemption from sin, and He waits for a long time for us to turn around and come back to Him. He pleads with us, imploring us to accept the reconciliation that He has made possible (2 Corinthians 5:20). If we end up refusing to let Him save us, it will be despite everything He could do to win our hearts. The truth is, it takes a lot of persistence to keep saying no to God.
C. S. Lewis once observed that the unbeliever is always in danger of having his faith overthrown. As long as he lives in this world, the unbeliever is surrounded by tokens of God’s grace and many other powerful evidences of His reality. And so an atheistic parent who wanted his children to follow in his footsteps would always need to be worried about the “corrupting” influences they would be encountering every day. Given the many ways God tries to get our attention, it would take an extraordinarily determined child to resist all of that and stay an unbeliever.
But sometimes, determined is exactly what we are in the matter of disobedience. Isaiah spoke with more than a little irony when he condemned those who were “mighty” and “valiant” in the pursuit of dissipation: “Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink” (Isaiah 5:22).
In the Book of Proverbs, one of the leading characteristics of the fool is that he insists on doing evil, despite many opportunities to change his mind. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). Sadly, it’s the fool’s “steadfastness” that keeps him in trouble.
God’s plea is for us to turn around and come back in His direction. If we’ll do that, we’ll live, but if we won’t, then we’ll die (Ezekiel 18:27,28). So in a sense, there’s only one sin that will kill us, and that’s the sin we refuse to repent of and seek God’s forgiveness for. If we end up being lost eternally, it won’t be because we made mistakes — it’ll be because we persisted in our mistakes.
“No man is condemned for anything he has done: he is condemned for continuing to do wrong. He is condemned for not coming out of the darkness, for not coming to the light” (George MacDonald).