Julian recently preached a Christ exalting message on 1 Peter 2:1-12. In vv 4-8 we learned that everyone gets their identity in relation to Christ. If you believe, you are a living stone, rejected and vindicated (eventually), like Christ. If you do not believe, you reject the stone, or stumble by it. So, as Julian preached, “everyone gets their identity in relationship to him … even unbelievers are still defined in reference to Him.” Julian continued, “what are you going to do with Jesus?”
Talking with a Skeptic: what are you going to do with Jesus?
My brother Joel asked the young man if he was up for talking about the Gospel while waiting for the bus. He said, “no, I don’t think it’s a good idea” (but with a smirk on his face). I asked,”why do you say that with a smile on your face.” He replied, “Look, my parents forced Catholicism on me …” and this led to a lengthy dialogue about Christ, truth, religion, false Christianity and faith.
He had many objections and questions – he was quite skeptical of Christianity (and all religions), but he was willing to listen. One question struck me: What about you – why did you believe?” I thought hard and told him what happened: “I just found myself believing.” I went on to tell him not only that, but my faith is a reasonable trust. I talked about our need to deal with Jesus Christ. We talked about his resurrection; I argued that true Biblical Christianity best makes sense of the historical figure, Jesus Christ – he rose from the dead and we gotta deal with Him.
I said, “In church, on Sunday, my pastor said that everyone will be judged by what they make of Christ. Everyone relates to Jesus Christ in some way. Even you, if you say you don’t want to even think about it and look into this, you are making a decision to NOT follow Christ. (He nodded in agreement). What will you do with Jesus? You really need to read the Bible to look into these things. If I wanted to learn about you, I’d go to your friends and family, people who know you best, not someone who lives hundreds of years after you – go to the source. Matthew, who wrote one the Gospels, spent three years with Jesus and he wrote about him.” He agreed that this was the logical way to learn about Jesus, but sadly, when I offered him literature (a little booklet of the Gospel of Luke called The Essential Jesus), he would not take it.
May the Lord use the truth that was spoken to draw him to Christ, especially the word my brother spoke to him: “whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16b). The man had asked us, “What happens to those who believe?”
A Word for Christians
If your faith is in Jesus Christ, you find your identity is in Christ, not your performance, gifts and service. You are defined by Christ, who He is and in the great salvation he has worked for you (His efforts, His performance, His rejection, His vindication = Him) … not the effectiveness or quality of your evangelistic efforts! Praise God that Christ “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet 2:24), even our sin of not loving our neighbours by telling them the most important command/Goods News they need to hear. But let us remember: Jesus paid for these sins. There is no condemnation. None. Not even a hint! But oh that we would be holy as He is holy. Unlike OT Israel, may we obey our Saviour in our time of exile as we await the imperishable inheritance God is keeping for us (1 Pet 1:4)! And may we do the very thing He created us to do: “proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet 2:9). May the “God of all grace” (1 Pet 5:10) give us much of His supply.