The Apostle Paul, speaking to new Gentile believers in the city of Ephesus, called them to “remember” something:
“11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God n the world.” (Eph 2:11-12, ESV) (Emphasis mine)
Likewise, we who today profess the Name of Christ would also do well to remember from whence we came, “having no hope and without God in the world”, which is the state of anyone who lives without Christ. To be without Christ is to be without God because the only path to God is through Christ (John 14:6).
Additionally, as we go through life sharing the precious gospel with friends, relatives, associates and neighbors (sometimes called FRANgelism), we must keep in our hearts and minds the true state of those to whom we give witness to the saving grace of Christ. I fear that at times we can lose sight of the terrible reality of the natural state of the unbeliever, whether it was once us, or the current state of that one we would lead to Jesus. – the ‘dire straights’, if you will.
So what does the Bible have to tells us about each and every unbeliever, past, present, or future? I’ll let Scripture speak for itself:
1. They are dead in trespasses and sins and children if wrath.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins . . . and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
2. They are living under the dark shadow of God’s just condemnation for their unbelief.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18)
3. Their unbelieving, natural minds are blinded by Satan.
“In their case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”(2 Cor. 4:4)
4. They are hostile to God (God’s enemies) and they can do nothing to please Him.
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom 8:7-8)
5. They are lost, destined for total destruction at the final judgment.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
6. They slaves are of sin.
“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)
7. In all this, they KNOW God exists, and have no excuse for denying Him.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom 1:18-20)
8. Although the unbeliever knows God exists, he still doesn’t seek Him:
“ as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 1no one understands; no one seeks for God.”” (Rom 3:10-11)
9. Contrary to a popular belief, they are not God’s children.
Joh 1:12 But to all who did receive him (Jesus Christ), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
The passages of Scripture quoted above are not intended to criticize, demean, or otherwise disparage those who deny God or do not believe in Christ. They are just clear descriptions of the dire straits of all unbelievers that are sometimes pushed to back burners of our minds, even as we share Jesus with our unsaved loved ones.
Given the really dire state of the unbeliever, what are we to do? For starters, we don’t need to blurt out any of the accusations that could be levied against a prospective convert. On the other hand, we need to remember a couple of things about how God saves sinners:
We need to remember that it is God who saves and who has given us the great privilege of sharing Christ with those who, by nature, hate Him and don’t want him.
We should remember Lydia in the book of Acts, Chapter 16. She was with a gathering of women near a river one day when the Apostle Paul showed up. We are told that God opened Lydia’s heart to pay attention to what Paul had to say (Acts 16:11-15) and that she was saved that day. You could say that God has a part in we have a part in the salvation of sinners. Simply stated, we share the message of the gospel (Christ died for our sins), and God saves.
That sounds rather simple, does it not? God opens a heart to hear, we present the gospel message, and God saves!
Lest I forget, remember something a famous evangelist had to say: