Question: I have been addicted to gross sinfulness for many years. I have read the Bible, prayed. gone to church, etc. etc. I am no better. Therefore, I have lost my faith. I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't care or just isn't there at all. I think religion is baloney. What is your comment?
Response: Thank you for your very straight-forward e-mail. Let me respond in what I hope and pray will be a helpful way. Every Christian I know would certainly care whether or not you are saved (and no doubt you have heard such statements with your own ears). If that is true of His imperfect human servants here on earth, how would it not be true of our perfect God and Father in heaven as well (and to an infinite degree)?
God cares. Believe me, He cares. If He didn't care, why would He have sacrificed His one and only Son? Why would He have given Him over to the most painful and humiliating death for my sins and yours, if He didn't care (Jn.3; Rom.8)?
I understand your essential complaint. It is a very common one. We human beings have problems, all of us do, and often they are serious. They may or may not be related to sin, but whatever they are, they often lead us to blame God for our situations. Tragedy strikes - why me, God? Don't your care?
Let me make this as clear as I can. The world is a rotten place, and that is not God's fault. The human situation is a rotten situation, and that is not God's fault. Could God make the world perfect? Could He eliminate all your problems and mine, all your heartaches and mine? Could He bring back all the loved departed and heal every wound and disease? Indeed He could, and in an instant without any effort. Why doesn't He do so? Because He cares about you. You see, God will do just about anything for you - He has proved that beyond all doubt by giving Jesus over to death for your sins and mine. But the one thing He won't do is take away your free will, your ability to choose for yourself whether or not you want to spend eternity with Him. You and I are here in this imperfect place precisely to find out where we really want to spend eternity, and to demonstrate the resiliency of that choice to ourselves and all others, God and angels included (whether for good or for bad).
This is exactly the crisis which you are going through now. You have a problem, a heavy heartache. Part of it is not your doing at all - we all have areas of weakness, sinful human beings that we are, and that is something about which we have no say. However, whether it is through weakness or not, whenever we succumb to sin, it is by our own choice. The fact that resistance would be so difficult in some cases that it seems to human eyes impossible does not change the fact that whatever we do we do because we choose to do it. Life is all about choice.
You say you have lost your faith. Faith is inextricably tied up with faithfulness. Those who truly do believe in Jesus Christ, who believe that He is God and Man and that He died for us and that He has been raised for us, do not only accept this intellectually. On the contrary, we have sworn allegiance, to put it in secular terms, to follow Him and His commands throughout this life. That doesn't mean that we are or ever will be perfect, but it does mean that we are and will continue to march forward in our Christian lives, following Him up the high road to Zion.
This is not religion. This is a very personal commitment to Jesus Christ. And I can tell you through experience and observation (and much more persuasively to my lights, through scripture), that if you commit yourself to Him, to following Him, He will help you. He will not take away your free will. He will not undo years of bad decisions. He will not in the blink of an eye solve all your problems or remove the consequences for the things you may have done. But He will help you, and do so in ways you could never imagine ahead of time.
Think of it this way. If you were in prison for life, what would you give to be able to get free? In a way, all who are trapped in sin and separated from the life of God which is in Jesus Christ are in prison (Jn.8:34:38). God is offering you a key, and He isn't even asking anything in return except to believe in His Son and to follow Him wherever He leads you.
Here's what I can promise you. Pain and difficulty - but with joy and eternal benefit. No quick fixes - but help and support in every positive move you make. No removal of the wreckage already produced - but the building of a new structure by the power and the Spirit of God.
I beg you in the Name of Jesus Christ to be reconciled to God (2Cor.5:20). Jesus told us the parable of the prodigal son for a reason. That young man thought that through his actions he had "blown it" irreversibly. He probably had much the same attitude as you for much of the time he spent estranged from his father, but under the most extreme pressure he realized that his only hope was to return to his father (and he was right). But rather than being upbraided by his father for his sins when he finally did make the journey back, he was received with the utmost joy. In this same way your heavenly Father waits for you to return to Him. It may not be an easy journey, but once you commit to it, rest assured that He will receive you with open arms.
Be reconciled to the God who loves you through the blood of His own Son with which He bought you. Turn away from all self-destructive ways and embrace the life of truth instead. There is power in the Spirit, in the Word, and in your prayers to Him the likes of which you have yet to experience. Only do it with a complete heart, throwing out all double-mindedness, and He will help win the victory over sin.
God is truly and completely ready to receive you, if you are ready to receive Him truly and completely in the Name of Jesus Christ. Like the loving Father He is, He does care about you and does want you back. The question is, do you really care about Him, do you really want Him?
You might also have a look at the following links:
Recovering from Sin.
Changing one's mind vs. Repentance (in CT 2A)
Can people who commit suicide be saved?
Have I committed the unforgivable sin?
What is the unpardonable sin?
The "Sin unto Death" in 1st John 5:16.
Does Hebrews 10:26-35 ("deliberate sinning" etc.) mean that a believer can lose his or her salvation?
Does Hebrews 10:26 teach loss of salvation?
*Bible Basics 3B: Hamartiology: The Biblical Study of Sin
Yours in Him who is the only way of salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.