Why Some People Refuse To Be Saved

One of the things that confuses many Christians, especially those who were raised as Christians and saved as children, is why someone would choose not to be saved.  We see variations on this ranging from atheists like Christopher Hitchens, who refuse to acknowledge God’s existence, to people who were raised in church, but refuse to submit their lives to Christ.

I think it’s instructive to read Moses’ interactions with Pharaoh to gain insight into what’s happening.  Throughout the series of plagues, I get the sense that Pharaoh isn’t concerned with Moses’ God, just with the state of his slaves.  Think about this: Pharaoh is being asked to give up a significant part of his personal wealth, or at least risk it.  If all those slaves wander off into the desert (all that was asked for), what’s to stop them from walking away completely?  Further, it’s important to understand that Pharaoh was revered as a God by the Egyptians.  So the Israelites had a “perfectly good god to worship” right there.

With that framework, watch what happens.  Moses asks to go worship in the desert, and Pharaoh says no.  Kinda makes sense, given that Pharaoh thought they should worship him.  For the first few plagues, all Moses did was prove himself to be a more talented “magician” than Pharaoh’s.  I suspect Moses made Pharaoh nervous, but once the crisis was past, Pharaoh always regained his composure.  Later, as Moses did what Pharaoh’s magicians couldn’t, Pharaoh began to negotiate the details of this worship.  Notice, it starts with “no”, then becomes “only your men”, then “not your animals”, then ends with “get out!”.  Pharaoh wants to maintain leverage over the Israelites so they will have to return.

So, what does that have to do with us?  Think about it.  We, especially in America, like to rule our own lives.  If some Christians only seek God in emergencies, should we surprised if non-Christians resist seeking God at all?  Further, when God starts to place pressure on a person to come to him, is it surprising that someone would say, in effect, “I don’t want you in charge of my life!  Go away and let me run things.  I’ll figure it out!”?

It’s only as things get worse that people, Christian and non-Christian, tend to start negotiating with God.  We try to get God to let us have the following areas of our lives as our own if we’ll surrender those areas of our lives to Him.  We try to get God to agree to leave our pet sins, foibles, etc off the table.  “I’ll come to you if I can still watch porn/play football/sleep around/keep all my money/be foosball champion/gossip/whatever.”

We all know, instinctively, that God wants us to risk everything.  Are you rich?  God might tell you to give it all away.  Are you successful?  God might tell you to quit and become a missionary.  Are you chatty?  God might tell you to talk less and listen more.  Like Pharaoh, we all secretly want to rule our own lives, or at least 5-10% of our lives.  God asks for 100%.  That’s why people don’t want to be saved.

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