(all references are from the N.K.J.V.)
Authentic Christians often get perplexed as to how lost people can hold to certain opinions, believe certain things, promote certain lifestyles, live out certain standards, etc., etc., etc. They ask, “How can they do that?” In truth, the answer is actually quite simple: Christians and lost people are two completely different breeds.
First, the Christian and the lost person have different fathers. Passages such as John 1:12 and Galatians 3:26 say that Christians have been given the right (the authority) to become the children of God. This explains why Jesus taught His followers to address God as “our Father” when we pray (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). Conversely, He flatly stated that lost people are the children of the devil (Matthew 13:38, John 8:44).
Second, the Christian and the lost person have different families. Ephesians 2:19 says that Christians are members of the household of God, and Galatians 6:10 calls us the household of faith. Lost people, on the other hand, all being children of the devil, are members of what might be called the household of Satan. Another way of describing the two families is to use Christ and Adam as the two representative heads of the families. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 and Romans 5:12-21 play off this idea by explaining that everyone is either “in Christ” or “in Adam.”
Third, the Christian and the lost person are members of different churches. Passages such as Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 5:23, and 1 Timothy 3:15 teach that Christians are all part of Christ’s true church — i.e., the singular body that theologians refer to as “the universal church.” By way of contrast, Jesus used the term “the synagogue of Satan” in reference to the “church” (for lack of a better word) of which each lost person is a member (Revelation 2:9, 3:9).
Fourth, the Christian and the lost person have different desires. In Philippians 2:13, the Bible says that God works inside the Christian to give that Christian desires that are for God’s good pleasure. Similarly, Hebrews 13:21 teaches that God works inside the Christian in accordance with those things that are well pleasing in God’s sight. All of this working within the Christian is done by God the Holy Spirit, who literally indwells each Christian and in so doing creates the “born again” experience that is salvation (John 3:1-8, Romans 8:9-11). The problem with the lost person is that he/she simply does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jude v.19). Consequently, without the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit, he/she can only operate from what Galatians 5:16 describes as the desires (the lusts) of the flesh.
Fifth, the Christian and the lost person have different natures. In 2 Peter 1:1-4, we’re told that God’s divine power has given to Christians all things that pertain to life and godliness. As part of those “all things,” Christians have been made to be partakers of what Peter calls “the divine nature.” This divine nature operates in direct conflict with the Christian’s inborn (Adamic) sinful nature to create a veritable civil war inside each Christian. The apostle Paul described this war in graphic detail in Romans 7:13-25 when he talked about two “laws” that were in operation inside him. One law he called “the law of God” and the other law he called “the law of sin.” While this inner civil war is something each Christian must struggle with as long as he/she is in this earthly body, lost people don’t have any civil war raging inside them. That’s because they can only operate from their inborn, sinful, Adamic nature due to the fact that they have not been made to be partakers of the divine nature.
Sixth, the Christian and the lost person bear different fruit. Galatians 5:16-26 contrasts these two types of fruit. It says that Christians who are walking in the Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. That fruit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And what fruit do lost people bear? Those fruits are labeled as “the works of the flesh,” and they are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. The point of those words “and the like” is that even that sizable list should not be considered anywhere near exhaustive.
Seventh, the Christian and the lost person have different minds. The Bible doesn’t use the term “the mind” to mean “the brain” but uses it instead in reference to the thoughts of the individual. According to 1 Corinthians 2:16, Christians have been given, by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ. This is exceedingly helpful to us because God’s thoughts are infinitely higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9) and we need the mind of Christ to help bridge the gap between our thoughts and God’s thoughts. Unfortunately for lost people, they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit and therefore do not have the mind of Christ. To the contrary, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Satan has blinded their minds.
Eighth, the Christian and the lost person have different perspectives. Colossians 3:2 says to the Christian, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Likewise, 1 John 2:15 tells the Christian, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” Having this heavenly perspective makes perfect sense in light of the fact that 2 Peter 3:10-13 prophesies that this world is destined to pass away in the midst of a fiery judgment sent straight from the hand of God. Lost people, of course, have no reason to exhibit a heavenly perspective because the God of heaven is not their father. Being the children of the devil, they are left to try to make this world as pleasurable as they can. 1 John 2:16 describes this as living in line with “the lust of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes,” and “the pride of life.”
Ninth, the Christian and the lost person have different agendas. The Christian’s agenda can be summed up with Christ’s words, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (what you will eat, what you will drink, what you will wear, all of life’s basic needs) shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). You see, when your priority is the kingdom of God, your agenda — what you are after in life, what you are trying to get accomplished — will match that priority. As for the lost person, he/she has an agenda (sometimes knowingly but for the most part unknowingly) that is built upon Satan’s desires. As Jesus said to a certain group of lost religious leaders in His day, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” By comparing both agendas, we can see that the Christian conducts God’s business in this world while the lost person (again, usually unknowingly) conducts Satan’s business in it.
Tenth, the Christian and the lost person have different futures. In regards to eternity, the Christian has an inheritance reserved in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4) and will get to spend eternity in perfect bliss in that magnificent city that Revelation chapters 21 and 22 call The New Jerusalem. The lost person, however, will be sentenced to spend eternity in torment in that place Revelation 20:11-15, Matthew 25:31-46, and Mark 9:42-48 describe as being an eternal lake of fire.
In closing, Christian, the next time you catch yourself asking of a lost person, “Can’t he/she see what’s wrong with that?” just know that they can’t. They really can’t. And nothing you say or do will convince them to see the situation correctly. Only God Himself can open eyes and change hearts, and He will only do that if the person voluntarily choses to place saving belief in Jesus. Placing that belief in Jesus will cause God the Holy Spirit to come into that person’s body and take up residence inside that body, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit will in turn begin to change the person from the inside out. The Bible’s word for this is “regeneration” (Titus 2:5) and it is far better than mere “reformation.” But without the indwelling Holy Spirit, there is no regeneration, and without a saving belief in Christ, there is no indwelling Holy Spirit.