Within and Without
February 21, 2022 • By Ed Wrather
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside (them that are without – old KJV), redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. – Colossians 4:5 NKJV.
It is clear that the apostle Paul is speaking in these verses about those who are outside or without a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Why are there those who do not know Jesus as their Savior? Some have still not heard the truth about eternal life that Jesus is, as Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That is at least one reason for us to be sure that anything that we say in the presence of unbelievers should be of a nature that is beneficial to their turning to Christ. That is why Paul adds, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt….” As Ephesians 4:29 says, and I like the way the NIV puts this, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Another reason that there are still those who are outside or without a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ is they do not find what Jesus has to offer attractive. To them the offerings of the world are far more attractive and is what they desire to seek.
Once after sharing my testimony with a young couple, they rejected Christ. The reason they gave was that they would have to give up dancing because the church they would attend did not believe you should dance. (Although, I don’t remember “Thou shalt not dance” as being one of the Ten Commandments, but of course, dancing with someone other than your husband or your wife in an immoral way would be sinful.) Dancing was far more important to them than what Jesus was offering. I pray that at some point in time in the 30 something years since, that they have come to know Jesus as their Savior.
Some people reject Jesus because they find alcohol or drugs or sex outside of marriage more attractive than Jesus. Some people are too busy making money to be bothered with the distraction of putting their faith in Jesus. The world has a whole arsenal of attractions that many consider to be better options than living a life for Jesus.
Another reason that I have encountered for rejection of Jesus is that they could never be good enough to be saved. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that this is not true, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Yes, as Romans 3:23 tells us “we all have sinned” and fall short of the perfection of God.
The truth is that if we had to be sinless in order to be saved, none would be saved. Only Jesus has lived a sinless life as Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” No, we just have to come as we are, sinful creatures, and fall upon the mercy of Jesus to forgive us of our sins. Jesus takes us just as we are and then begins to change and transform us to look more and more like Him (Romans 8:29).
If you are outside of faith in Jesus, meaning you have never prayed for Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be your Lord and Savior. God is calling you! As Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Open up the door of your heart, pray and ask Jesus to come in; ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and be your Savior and Lord. I did exactly that nearly 52 years ago and I have never regretted the best decision I have ever made in my life! And you won’t either!