Do People Seek God?
It is not uncommon to hear people say, “I am searching for God.” Some churches even have so-called “seeker sensitive” worship services. But do unbelievers really seek God?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). Rather, before God changes our hearts we instinctively hide from God (Genesis 3:8-11) and “suppress the truth” about God, though “what can be known about God is plain” from looking at his creation (Romans 3:18-20). We may seek the benefits that only God can provide -- things like happiness, inner peace, and relief from guilt –but we do not, apart from an inner work of God, seek after Him.
How, then, does a person become a Christian? Theologian R.C. Sproul explains, “we do not ‘find’ God as a result of our search for him. We are found by him. The search for God does not end at conversion; it begins at conversion. It is the converted person who genuinely and sincerely seeks after God.”
Conversion rarely happens in an instant. It typically takes place over time. During this season a person becomes troubled about his condition and begins searching for answers. There are people who attended our church for five or ten years before they turned to Christ for salvation. They sat under the teaching of God’s Word. They read the Bible on their own. They asked questions. It seems that God was working in their hearts for years, drawing them to himself. Then the day finally came when they believed.
Perhaps you view Christianity as a myth and have no interest in seeking God. Before you dismiss Christianity, I encourage you to read the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Start with the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Visit a church that clearly explains the Bible in its original context and helps you understand how it applies to your life.
Though we, apart from God changing our hearts, do not seek God, I am not suggesting that if you are an unbeliever, that you resign yourself to your unbelief. Rather, as the eighteenth-century Scottish pastor Ebenezer Erskine recommended, “attempt the impossible.” Erskine said that just as Jesus commanded the lame man to stretch out his hand and in commanding this, gave him the ability to do it, so sinners must seek to believe in Jesus, trusting that God will grant them the saving faith that is natively impossible.
Peter Kemeny, Pastor
Good News Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 1051, Frederick, MD 21702