The Atheist In Us

Atheist say, if there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world? Their real question is, why doesn’t God do something to stop bad things from happening? The answer is, he has. However, it’s MAN who refuses to believe in what God has done to stop them, or more accurately, to remedy the problem. What is the problem? It’s the real issue atheists don’t want to believe in. In one word, SIN…and the consequences that go with it.

Now the remedy to sin has been the same since the beginning. Obedience to what God says. It works 100% of the time. Man does not want believe in God because he does not want to obey God, so the things that are seen as bad (killing, hatred, destroying, stealing, etc., etc.), continue. So “atheists” really blame him by saying he cannot “believe” in a God who lets bad things happen. And by the way, the other things that are “bad” like disease, accidents and other disasters, are an indirect result of sin which resulted in a fallen world.

Now don’t be shocked, but this attitude of disbelief is also the same for all believers! Our “belief” falls way short of what God desires. Because deep within our hearts we really don’t want to HAVE to obey 100% of the time, nor can we. Which is why, along with the atheists, WE absolutely NEED a Savior every day, all the time! Even Paul understood that. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). We all have a serious sin problem. It’s that deep, or should I say hidden, thinking, that God wants to transform (Romans 12:2). Jesus said we are to be “perfect” (Matt. 5:48). No one would disagree that’s a pretty tall order. But would Jesus say something that wasn’t possible and drive us crazy trying to figure out how that can actually happen? What does 2 Peter 1:1-11 say?

“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Peter didn’t think it was impossible. And Paul adds to that: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and PERFECT will” (Romans 12:1-2).

This, simply put, is a HEART issue, for the atheist AND for us as believers. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

We as Christians have received the gift of salvation through faith BECAUSE of the “righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” That salvation IS the life of God IN US! And it’s the life that WE “may participate in”, which comes from his Holy Spirit. “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of (his) righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:9-11).

And it is also by the same faith he has given us to believe in him, that he wants us to let HIM live that life in us the way HE wants, NOT the way we think. “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

But we all fall miserably short, don’t we? I know I do. And God knows that. But he doesn’t want us to be discouraged in our failures, or to continue in them. That’s why John writes, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Like any caring father, he loves us enough to pick us up when we fall, put us back on the bike and helps us continue down his road. We CAN get better at this. Anyone want to join me?