Will you pay it forward?

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. 1:19-20).   Before warning his readers of the dangers of approving the many sins listed at the end of the chapter, Paul begins by assuring them of God’s presence in everything around them. Many preachers and congregants alike have used those words to prove that no one in the world has an excuse for not believing in God, but that is not entirely accurate.

Now, before you persecute me for misinterpreting the scriptures, allow me to explain. To Christians reading those words, it is as plain as daylight that God is the supreme, omnipotent creator of all things in the universe – no argument there. However, if these two scriptures are lifted out of the Bible and thrown at an unbeliever, they may not know whom you are speaking about. Let’s assume for a minute that a person is sitting in a jungle or a field somewhere in the world and begins to ponder creation.  It is absolutely true that they will clearly see the work of a divine power, but they would not necessarily attribute that to the one true God.

Throughout the ages, man has sought to answer the perplexing questions of “the beginning of the world” and “the meaning of life.” Aside from a relatively small number of people, they did not ascribe all the glory around them to God but rather to false ones or even thousands of them. You see, the Almighty does not autograph His creations. You will not find His name stamped on the skin of an animal like the branding of a cow by a rancher. Humans do not have any “Made by God” sticker on our skin, heart, liver, or kidney, and neither do the stars, planets, sun, moon, and earth. So, as man marveled at the glory of the earth and stars, he did what could be expected – he created gods.

In order to satisfy his desire to know a higher power, man created that power and bowed down to it.  Without the texts of the scriptures, who could blame him?  There is an innate desire in us to know God, but if we do not have the correct information, we will just make up one ourselves.  It is sad, but it is true.  There are literally thousands of false gods that have been created through the ages by those who have never been exposed to the scriptures. Unfortunately, none of them will do their creator any good.  None of them can offer salvation.  None of them have any power whatsoever. Now, let me ask you how you found out about God.  Not by looking at the magnificence of creation only, but by hearing of Him.  Someone may have told you, or you may have picked up the Bible and read it for yourself, but it was the Word of God that brought you into the knowledge of your Creator.

I say all that because we have a responsibility to make sure that those who have not had the opportunity yet, will hear the words of God and have the chance to turn from their wicked ways to the salvation He offers.  Salvation is not yours or mine exclusively.  Salvation is not for a select number of people as if they are VIPs in a secret club. No, it was given freely to us, and we should give it freely to others.  We all have probably heard of “Pay it forward.”  In case you haven’t, it is when you decide to pay for someone behind you in the line.  That act of kindness is always met with gratitude and a smile. Your hope is that they will do the same and spread goodwill that way, and more often than not, that is precisely what is achieved.  So, let me ask you, “How much more reward is there for the person who has the Word of God paid forward for them.  How much reward do they receive when you pass on what had been passed on to you?”

Like your life, theirs will be changed for the better, and they will be recipients of a promise made by God to all those who believe in Him in Acts 16:31, “…Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  But, they will only have that opportunity when they hear the words of the Bible speak to their heart, and that will only come to them by way of another human being.  We will either talk to them personally, give them the Bible, or support missionaries who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Gospel to areas in desperate spiritual need.   Do you want to save a life, or do you want to stand by and watch them die a spiritual death?

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