Why It's Unfair to Expect the Unredeemed to Understand Holiness

It's unfair to expect the unredeemed to understand holiness. (Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash)

If you follow my ministry, you'll know that I am an unapologetic preacher of holiness.

You'll also know that most of my messages are directed to the church. Preaching holiness to the lost doesn't work well unless it's coupled with a powerful invitation to surrender all.

Those who haven't had a life-rocking encounter with Jesus are at a disadvantage and it's unfair for those who have been transformed to expect them to see things the way we do. In fact, to attempt to coerce them to adhere to our set of standards—in violation of their own free will and their right to also have a say in morality—is ineffective, and in most situations, unfair (if not outright arrogant).

Who are we to say that pornography is wrong? What makes our version of truth regarding homosexuality more valid than theirs? To Christians, babies were created by God, given human spirits at the time of conception and they clearly, obviously deserve protection. Except, those who don't believe in God the way we do simply disagree that they are fully human at points of development prior to birth. They have a right to that belief, as horrifying as we think it is.

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The result is a holy war between a group of people who have one set of standards and a group that has an entirely different set. Coercion in the political realm, in the high courts and in the battleground of public opinion becomes the only tool left in our tool belt. We vote or legislate our way to victory, further enraging those who oppose our paradigms.

We Should Still Battle the Spirit of the Age

Now, please understand: With humble hearts, we—as people who are zealous about protecting the unborn and who have a responsibility to guard our children from being indoctrinated by the homosexual agenda—must use whatever tool we have in our tool belts. Yes, it's right to fight for laws that stand aggressively against human trafficking. We should work hard to overturn Roe v. Wade. Pornography, the legalization of narcotics and other destructive cultural vices that are being normalized in our society must be met with resistance.

However, it remains true that the unredeemed simply cannot understand things the way believers in Christ can. This isn't because we are better. It's because we have surrendered to Jesus and our entire way of thinking was renewed. We were once compromised and unable to discern right versus wrong. Then, God touched us as wicked, confused, arrogant and very lost people, and the light came on.

How are the Unredeemed at a Disadvantage?

I pray you begin to mourn and weep over the lost as you grow in understanding as to how terribly the enemy is assaulting them. Yes, every person who has ever lived and who ever will live will be without excuse on Judgment Day. Yes, everybody has a choice, and the lost have made their choice. We should be broken for them and our intercession should be taken to a much higher level.

Born This Way vs. Born Again

Those who argue that they were born gay, for example, may have something to their argument.

"I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me" (Ps. 51:5, ESV).

We were all born in sin, in iniquity. It shouldn't take much for us to understand this. Sin comes very naturally to all and it takes the momentous event of being born again by the Spirit of God for that to shift.

In fact, the Bible calls those who are not His own, children of wrath. Are you seeing the extreme disadvantage the lost have when attempting to discern good versus evil? All they know are the inner urges that, in their minds, make up the very core of their identity. If they have been attracted to the same sex for as long as they can remember, then it seems clear that they were born this way. That should validate their homosexuality, or so they would argue.

Without a dramatic encounter with Jesus, without being born again, we can't expect people to understand biblical freedom or morality.

No Relief From Anxiety, Fear and Depression

The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy, and based on the rampant addictions to opiates in our generation, it appears that he's winning.

Spirit-filled Christians can fill their days with praying in tongues, meditating on God's Word and singing songs of praise to break off the debilitating, suffocating assaults of depression, fear and anxiety. We have a very present friend in Jesus ministering to us, interceding for us, talking to us and walking with us.

The lost are limited to positive thoughts, drugs, counseling and, sadly and all too often, suicide. Truly, the only hope in the battle of emotional trauma is Jesus, and they haven't met Him yet.

Can Christians also be in need of counseling and medical care including the administration of appropriate medications to help deal with chemical imbalances and other physiological and emotional difficulties? Yes, absolutely. As long as it takes place on a foundation of faith, such care can be an important part of the healing process.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:10).

They Have No Peace

Those who don't know Jesus simply cannot know peace. For Christians, peace rests on us and it is not dependent on circumstances or in understanding our situation. God is with us and His supernatural peace displaces the darkness.

It's not hard to understand why so many politicians, protesters and others who are advancing their various ungodly causes become enraged when they experience pushback. They have no peace, and in their minds, the road to a life that is more centered and devoid of resistance is to hate, curse and attempt to slay anything and anyone that gets in their way.

"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

They Don't Experience the Presence of God

The thought of not having that constant burning of God's Holy Spirit within is enough to make me shudder. The glory of God and His anointing on our lives is irreplaceable and without it we would spiral out of control.

Our decisions, our mindsets, our emotional well-being, our belief systems, our desires and everything that make up who we are would radically shift. It would be a deeply disturbing way to live, yet the lost live in that reality every moment of every day of their lives.

"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11).

They Have No Reason Not to Sin

Above I revealed the mindset regarding drunkenness. In the minds of the lost there is absolutely no reason not to get drunk. This logic can be used in other scenarios too. Lust is pleasurable, as is pornography. Getting high on drugs feels good. Foul language and other behaviors are morally benign. If it's legal, it's OK.

In the world the line is drawn when one person's sin negatively impacts another. That's what defines morality in a culture that's not surrendered to Jesus. What the world defines as lawless and what God defines as legal are very different.

"Whoever practices sin breaks the law, for sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4).

Christians understand how destructive sin is and we embrace consecration and repentance eagerly. Sin kills even if we don't understand why. We don't define what is morally legal; God does.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

This was an excerpt of this article. For the rest, visit burton.tv.

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought-out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored 10 books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio, and has directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.

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