According to John 8:44, all non-Christians have the Devil as their father:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
When well-meaning liberal Christians and other religious practitioners say that we all are the children of God, they are speaking from sentimentality and not the Bible.
Ephesians 2:2,3 states:
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Before becoming a follower of Jesus, the Christian was worldly, living a life of fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind. They were molded, manipulated, used, and controlled by their father the devil. Without Jesus, they would live out meaningless, hopeless lives and then die and go to hell. Their father and his world, this world, must be repudiated and overcome if the Christian is to have any of hope of entering heaven.
According to 1 Peter 5:8, the father of all non-Christians, the devil, walks on the face of the earth like a lion seeking to attack and destroy. The Christian, according to Ephesians 6:11-18, is to be like a well-armored soldier wielding a sword against the devil. The Christian is constantly reminded that they must be watchful against the schemes of the world. The devil delights in nothing more than ruining the life and testimony of a Christian.
The Christian is warned that they should not be “spoiled” (seduced, led away) through vain deceit and the philosophies and the traditions of the world. They are also warned that they should not be conformed to the world. Instead, they should make themselves a holy, acceptable living sacrifice to God. After all, since Jesus died for their sins and by his resurrection from the dead he secured eternal life for them, it is quite reasonable for God to expect the Christian to:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
The writer of 1 John reminds Christians that they are to:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15,16
So what do we know? Every non-Christian follows after their father the devil. The devil is the king and ruler of this world and the Christian must resist and fight against him. The devil will, along with those who are his children, do everything they can to destroy the Christian. The Christian must not let this happen. They must fight back, using not fleshly methods, but spiritual ones. When they do this, they will find favor with God because their resistance against the world is evidence that they are a true follower of Jesus. They should also understand that, just as the world hated Jesus, so will the world hate them. Until they die, they will be a participant in a cosmic battle against the world, sin, and all that opposes God and the Bible.
Yet, when we look at American Christianity what do we see? Do we see people who are battling against sin and the world? Do we see them denying self, taking up their cross, and following Jesus? Do we see them denying the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? When we look at their methodology, do we see them using spiritual weapons rather than fleshly weapons?
Generally, the answer to all of these questions is NO. 78% of Americans say they are a Christian. In other words, almost 8 out of 10 Americans believe the gospel narrative found in the Bible. If this is so, if 8 out of 10 Americans are Christian, why then is there so much sin and debauchery in the world? If almost 250 million Americans are Christian, why hasn’t America become the theocracy that many Christians clamor for? With such a large Christian majority, shouldn’t we be living in some sort of perfect, sin free millennial kingdom where God, Christianity, and the Bible rules and reigns?
Yet, according to some studies, 80% of Christians can’t even be bothered to show up at a local house of Christian worship. (an ABC poll reports that the percentage is 62%) And of the 20% that do show up, the majority of them attend one service a week and are not actively involved in the church. As any pastor can tell you, the vast majority of church work is done by a small percentage of people and the vast majority of the money contributed is by that same small percentage. The average Christian shows up to church irregularly, is non-involved, and gives a small percentage of their income to the church. No matter how often the pastor preaches about faithfulness, doing more for God, and tithing, most Christians aren’t listening.
Jesus said, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Evidently, for most Christians, their heart is somewhere besides the church and its mission. According to a 2011 Christianity Today article titled, Are American Evangelicals Stingy?, Evangelicals give about 4% of their income and Christians in general give about 2.4% to the church. It seems that the world is definitely winning when it comes to money.
Like their non-Christian hell bound siblings in the world, Christians love the world and the things that are in the world. Their lifestyles make a mockery of the moral and social high ground they profess to walk. Not long before Jesus ascended back to heaven, he said to his disciples:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:19, 20)
This is commonly called the Great Commission but what it really should be called is the Great Omission. Most Christians have little concern for the spiritual welfare of others. Most never share their faith, content to let the world know that they are a Christian by having a honk if you love Jesus bumper sticker on their car or their house/work space decorated with Jesus junk made by poverty-stricken people in a third world country. They get riled up over things like same-sex marriage, abortion, and teachers not being allowed to lead public school students in prayer or Bible reading, yet when it come to fulfilling the one, direct command that Jesus gave to every Christian, they say nothing.
How does your Christian neighbor live? Do they fundamentally live differently than you? I doubt it. They own houses, lands, and cars and spend most of their life enjoying the fruit of their labors. How they live their life betrays what they really think is important. If hell was a real place that every non-Christian will be tortured by God for all eternity, shouldn’t Christians spend every waking moment and every extra dollar trying to keep people from going to a Christless hell? Yet, even the most fundamentalist of Baptists spend little time trying to evangelize the world.
The small percentage of Christians who consider themselves sold out, on fire, committed, sanctified, hardcore Jesus loving, Jesus obeying followers of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will likely shout AMEN to everything I have written here. But, in doing so they will be missing my point.
Christians need to know that non-Christians, including atheists like me, see them for who and what they really are. We see the hypocrisy, the denial of the teachings that they say are the words of God. We measure our lives by theirs and we see little difference. Like us, they live in the world, want to enjoy the fruit of their labor, and desire to live as long as possible. Like us, they have good days, bad days, and a lot of in between days. They love, hate, and are kind, mean, nasty, arrogant, gracious, impatient, long-suffering, jealous, and envious just like their non-Christian neighbors.
If hell and heaven are real, dear Christian, why would you not work night and day evangelizing others, forsaking wealth and health, and burn yourself out for God. This way you will get to heaven much sooner. I doubt that many Christians will choose this path. Why? Despite their certainty and their talk of eternal bliss in the afterlife, they deep down doubt that there really is an afterlife. Like the atheist, they want to wring as much as they can out of life. For if there is no afterlife, what a waste it will have been to not live life to its fullest.
Even among Christians who consider themselves sold out, on fire, committed, sanctified, hardcore Jesus loving, Jesus obeying followers of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, they don’t seem to be in a hurry to get to heaven. It seems that for all their talk about being a temporary citizen of this world, they are really planning on applying for permanent residency.
I guess I have said all this to say, that what we have in America is cultural Christianity. It is a religion that people give lip service to, a religion good for weddings and funerals, but not overtly applicable in the day-to-day lives of those who profess that Jesus is the son of God. Not even the professional Christians, those who call themselves pastors, elders, bishops, and priests, seem to be immune from being very much a part of the world. Their cars, houses, suits,entertainments, expense accounts, retirement funds, and bank accounts, tell all who bother to listen that this world is really their home and that they are in no hurry to leave.
Take a look at the modern mega church movement. What do you see? Church leaders in love in with power and money. Even the most ardent of culture warriors live an opulent life funded by book royalties and exorbitant salaries and speaking fees. These churches build multimillion dollar buildings, places that house tens of thousands of passive sheep who come to listen to the superstar preacher tell them what they want to hear. Rarely, if ever, do they consider what could be done with all the money they spend on having the nicest sheep pen in town. They tell themselves that God deserves the very best, when in fact their lifestyle betrays the fact that THEY are the God that deserves the very best.
You see dear Christian, I don’t care about what you believe. Your beliefs mean little to me. Only in the insulated Christian ghetto do beliefs matter. Outside the pogrom, the only thing that really matters is how a person lives their life, and from my seat in the pew what I see is people who don’t live any different from me. In fact, I live better than many of them do. When Christians begin to really live out the teachings of Jesus, then maybe, just maybe, I might pause and consider the claims of Christianity. Until then, what’s on TV?
As long as Christians do as they did this week with World Vision when they decided to hire same-sex Christian married people, then Christians are just talking to the hand when they try to preach Christ to me. According to one report, the day after World Vision’s press release, 2,000 Christians called in to cancel their monthly financial support for hungry children. Rather than support fairness, justice, and equal rights for all, these offended Christians would rather withhold money that children need to feed themselves.
Let me be clear dear Christian. You may try to convince yourself that atheists like me hate God or have a secret desire to live an immoral life, and that is why reject the Christian God, but, the truth is, one the biggest reasons we reject your God is because of how you live your life. You preach one thing but live another. You demand of others what you do not demand for yourself. Your life betrays the fact that you are, in almost every way, an atheist too. You rail against the world and claim to be a pilgrim on your way to the celestial city, yet your lifestyle and behavior shouts from the rooftop that you are a well-heeled resident of the world that is in no hurry to leave.