Why do people choose to reject Jesus as their Savior?
Each person is presented with the choice to believe the truth about Jesus as God's Son and our Savior, or reject Him. Romans 1 tells us that everyone has a chance to recognize God's glory and react rightly to it (Romans 1:18–23). Many billions have an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel—to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that His death on the cross was for our sins, and that He resurrected to defeat death.
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There are many good reasons to accept Jesus, namely eternal life with Him and His goodness guiding our life on earth. There are many reasons people reject Jesus. Most boil down to this: Who is on the throne of your life? Is it yourself, your friends, some wise man, or the true Son of God—Jesus Christ?
The four reasons below are perhaps the most prominent of reasons why people fail to begin a relationship with Jesus.
1. People fail to understand that their good works or kind personality will not get them to heaven. The truth is that any sin separates us from a holy God and we have all sinned (Romans 3:23; 6:23). No one can connect with the Father except through His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). No amount of good works can overcome the separation even the littlest sin causes.
2. Many are afraid of rejection by their family and friends if they accept Jesus as their Savior and begin living as He wishes. In many cultures, this is a social rejection. In some, choosing to follow Jesus means jeopardizing a person's ability to make a living, or worse. In John 12:42–43, a group of people chose not to confess Christ because they were more interested in their peers' view of them rather than God's.
3. Some people are so enamored with the temporary pleasures of this life and material "stuff" that they don't want to risk losing a lifestyle to follow Jesus. There was a man Jesus met once who knew the religious law and asked Jesus what more he must do to attain salvation. Jesus told this man to sell his possessions and follow Him. The man was unable to part with his worldly goods and went away sad (Matthew 19:16–23). See also 2 Corinthians 4:16–18.
4. Sometimes people are just scared and they resist the Holy Spirit's leading to Jesus because they don't trust Him yet. Following Jesus does take faith. The Bible tells us the story of a man named Stephen who was persecuted to death by people who simply refused to believe the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). Paul also encountered some people who just would not believe: "When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: 'The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: "Go to this people, and say, 'You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive'"'" (Acts 28:23–26).
Every person has the opportunity to understand God. Many are presented with the truth about His Son, Jesus Christ. When a person rejects Him, the consequences are eternal. Those who reject Jesus, for any reason, will suffer eternity in "outer darkness" of hell where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:30).
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