Rejecting the Lord vs. Departing the Faith
There’s no dichotomy between rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and dismissing the Word of God. But departing from the faith that’s in Jesus Christ is different.
It’s wonderful to see the happiness on the faces of those who hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept it; however, it grieves my soul to observe those renouncing the Lord Jesus Christ and don’t even realizing it.
As a minister of the Word of God, you will face rejection of God. Apostle Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey experienced rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a light thing. It has grave consequences and far-reaching effects.
Therefore, let’s examine what it means to refuse the Lord Jesus Christ, or reject the Gospel, or the Word of God. These are all synonyms for rejecting the Lord God. Then, let’s pursue a few of its consequences.
How to Reject the Lord
As Paul and Barnabas ministered to the people in “Antioch in Pisidia”, the Gentiles in the congregation were excited. Therefore, they requested that Paul preach the same sermon to them the next Sabbath Day.
“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next [S]abbath,” (Acts 13:42).
By their fruits, you shall know them. This act of the Gentiles is acceptance of the Words of Jesus Christ. Some of the Jews also accept this word from Paul.
“Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God,” (13:43).
If You Accept One You Consent to the Other
Whether you are accepting or rejecting the Lord you will demonstrate your preference. Observe how those who accepted the Word of God behaved.
“And the next [S]abbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God,” (Acts 13:44).
By accepting the Word of God you accept the Lord. There is no dichotomy between them.
Therefore, if you accept one you consent to the other. Conversely, if you reject the Word of the Lord that comes from the Holy Bible that His servants: Jesus Christ, the Church, the Apostles, or His prophets speak, you reject Him.
Is The Lord God a Person?
In the Old Testament (OT), rejecting the Lord God means to reject His prophet, the words of his prophet or to turn to another god.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Lord God is not a person, but a Spirit (John 4:24). However, for human beings to form and foster relationships with Him, we must conceive Him as another person.
We only have relationships with other humans. We don’t foster relationships with spirits. Nevertheless, to enable this the Bible assign human characteristics to God.
As a result, He has five senses. So, He sees, hears, feels, speaks, moves and touches and so on. He also has features like us for he has hands, feet, face, eyes, ears etc., but He is a Spirit.
Rejecting the Lord’s Representative
Because of the nature of God, when He sends someone to speak for Him and others reject His representative, such a one rejects God.
This was the case with Israel, Samuel, and God. The Latter had been leading the former through His prophet Samuel.
But when Samuel was old, Israel rejected him. They requested a king, similar to all the other nations around them. But the Lord was their king and fighter. He was their keeper.
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them,” (1 Samuel 8:7; 10:19).
Rejecting the Words of a Prophet
Again, Samuel instructed Saul, the Son of Kish, according to the Word of the Lord. He told him how to behave with King Agag and with the citizens of Amalek and with their possessions (1 Samuel 15:3).
But Saul disobeyed the words of the prophet. Therefore, his disobedience constitutes a rejection of God who sent the prophet.
Below, the Bible describes how the Lord view this!
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king,” (1 Samuel 15:23; 26).
Consequences of Rejecting the Lord
On the other hand, in the New Testament (NT), observe that the manner of rejecting Lord God has not changed.
It continues to mean that if you reject Him you refuse to hear, accept, believe and do the teachings of the Lord. But who is the Lord but Christ Jesus?
It also means that you reject the teachings of those that Jesus Christ sent to you.
Since God is a Spirit, and He became a man, even Jesus Christ, to be crucified for the sin of Adam and to redeem humanity to Himself.
Whenever, we reject the person of Jesus Christ, his teachings, or the doctrines of those he sent to us, we also reject God.
By Refusing Christ They are Consenting to This
The Bible says that God, the Spirit that was in Christ, sent Jesus to preach salvation to us.
He sent Jesus, the words that Jesus spoke are not his words but those of the one who sent him.
If you refuse Jesus Christ you consent to all the spirits of Satan.
In the Scripture below, we observe one of these spirits at work in some of the religious people of the day.
“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming,” (Acts 13:45).
The leaders in Antioch rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ because “they were filled with envy” (Acts 13:45).
Ways these People Rejected the Lord Jesus
Envy is a spirit of Satan. It directed their actions. They should have rejoiced and worshipped God; instead, they contradicted and blasphemed the teachings of Paul, (Acts 13:45).
And anyone who is anti-Christ also rejects God. Thus, such a one will speak against, contradicting and blaspheming sound, biblical doctrines of Jesus Christ.
So, the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia rejected the word of everlasting life, but the Gentiles accepted Paul’s word and obtain salvation. This is the beginning of salvation for all non-Jewish people as a whole.
Because Cornelius seeks for God by prayers and by fasting with all his heart, the Lord made him an exception.
The Remainder of Gentiles Had to Wait Years Later to Enjoy Salvation
Additionally, he was very benevolent to the Jews. So the Lord gave him access to salvation before his time. He got it during the time of the Jews. It was not his time yet; however, he pleased the Lord and received His favor and grace.
According to biblical scholars, more than two years later before any other Gentile, apart from Cornelius, receive salvation.
How Long Was Paul’s First Missionary Journey?
According to them, Paul’s First Missionary Journey lasted from 44 to 46 AD. And it was during this expedition that the Gentiles received salvation as a people.
“Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles,” (Acts 13:46).
The Importance of Paul’s First Missionary Expedition
Looking at the bigger picture, Paul’s First Missionary Expedition was not about him, but it was about the salvation of the Gentile peoples of the world.
His encounter with these Jews at Antioch and their rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ marks the start of the Times of the Gentiles.
From this point onwards, salvation becomes available to all Gentiles and not just to Cornelius and his household.
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth,” (Acts 13:47).
The Gentiles, in Antioch, heard that Paul had decided to teach and preach salvation to them and they were elated. So much so that they “glorified the word of the Lord”.
If You Reject the Lord You Won’t do This
Do you recall what it means to glorify God?
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” (Acts 13:48).
So because the Jews rejected the Word of God, it opened new opportunities for Paul and Barnabas to preach to more Gentiles in “all the region”.
“And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region,” (Acts 13:49).
The following verse demonstrates how envious these religious Jewish men were of the power of Paul and Barnabas’ preaching.
They Persecute the Former Persecutor
“But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts,” (Acts 13:50).
“But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium,” (Acts 13:51).
“And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 13:52).
When you are filled with the Holy Ghost He always provides joy to your soul.
Who Rejected God in the Bible?
Generally, the consequences of rejecting the Lord God differ with the instruction(s) of God or the Word from God.
For example, Saul the Son of Kish, disobeyed the Word of God when he refused to comply with the instructions of Samuel.
What was his consequence for rejecting the Lord God? God rejected him as king over Israel.
David rejected the Word of God, when he committed adultery, killed Bathsha’s husband Uriah and produced an unacceptable child.
What was the consequence of this action? The child died. And the lineage of David would experience hardship of a specific nature for a specific duration.
The Jewish Leaders in Antioch rejected the Word of God, what was their consequence?
The Times of the Gentiles
The Lord turned from them for a set period of time, popularly called the Times of the Gentile, and He turned to the Gentiles.
By their rejection of the Lord, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
The Bible is replete with examples of rejection. Both the OT and the NT provide examples of them.
- The people rejected the counsel of Noah. Only his family believed his words.
- Cain rejected the Word of God. He rejected God.
Scriptures on Overcoming Rejection
More Examples of Rejection in the Bible
You may not be a king, physically, therefore the Lord will not reject you as a king. However, spiritually He sees us all as kings and priests, (Hosea 4:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10).
And if you reject His words by refusing to accept, believe, repent, and turn to Him whenever anyone He sends to speak to you comes, spiritually he rejects you as a king and priest.
And His rejection not only affects you but also your children. The same thing happened to David. Because of his sin with Bathsheba his children suffered.
Have you ever wondered why a pastor would have a son and he too becomes a pastor? Or a doctor has a son or daughter and she becomes a doctor?
The Spirit of the Father is on the Children
My father is a carpenter, and he has five sons. Three of them follow in his profession. The spirit of the father is on the children.
This is true even in a negative way. A man who has lived a violent and law-breaking life passes on the attitude of that life to his children.
Therefore, you see a man who has been arrested multiple times and has been to prison passing that spirit to his children. They too will endure similar experiences unless the cycle brakes.
Born Again According to the Incorruptible Word
What cut and stop such a cycle? Salvation! Obedience and acceptance to the Word of God.
When you hear, accept, repent, believe, and turn to God because you heard His word, you are born again. The Lord changes you into a new person. You will possess a new spirit, a new attitude, and new experiences. As a result, the experiences of your ancestors’ will not pass down to you.
In other words, you break generational curses when you believe in Jesus Christ. He’s the glory of God.
So, ultimately, salvation and eternal life come because we refuse to reject the Word of God.
Rejection of the Word of God will ensure that you spend eternity with the Lucifer who rejected the Word of God. If you reject God you will end up in the lake of fire.
Who is a Backslider?
Rejecting God After Being Saved
Today, we describe the Believer who rejects God after being saved as a “Backslider” (Proverbs 14:14).
Originally, the term “backsliding” describes Israel’s rejection of the Word and of the way of the Lord God.
This describes a turning of God’s people from His statutes and law to accepting another god and believing and doing something else. This is a repudiation of God.
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts,” (Jeremiah 2:19).
Similarly, today after that you have believed that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, if you turn from this belief and embrace another doctrine, you are a backslider and you have rejected God.
What Happens When You Reject God?
When we reject God, He’s not satisfied with our actions.
When a person rejects the Lord Jesus Christ, he or she repudiates God. Such a one wants nothing to do with Him.
He or she doesn’t desire to hear the Word of God. The same deny the Lord God even exists and disclaims all association with His name: Christ Jesus our Lord.
Saul rejected the counsel of God and He rejected him as king over Israel.
What Happens When a Christian Departs From the Faith?
Could such a one repent again and return to God? The short answer is yes!
Leaving your faith in God is not the same as rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ. If such a person has only left his or her faith and has not turned to another god, such a one could still repent and return to his or her faith. He or she could repent and return to God. This too is “backsliding”.
An example of this is Peter’s denial that he knew or had any associations with Jesus Christ.
He Crosses The Line
However, for the Christian who rejects his or her faith in God through Jesus Christ and has turned to another god, repentance is impossible. Such a person cannot return to God.
An example of this is Judas’ betrayal of Jesus Christ. Repentance was not possible for him because he crossed the line.
He crossed the line of no return because he satisfied the five qualities Apostle Paul spoke about.
Consequently, Jesus says, it would have been better if he had never been born, (Mark 14:21). Repentance was not possible for him. He had rejected God and Christ!
Below, Apostle Paul explains this.
Five Features of Backsliders Who Rejected God
Apostle Paul explains five features of a “Backslider” who rejected God. In order to qualify, all five qualities must be present.
The “fall away” that Paul speaks about is the falling away from the doctrine of Jesus Christ and the belief that he is the only begotten Son of God.
Therefore, this doesn’t apply to an unsaved person, only to a Believer. And not just any or all Believers.
To qualify for this repudiation of God one must satisfy all the following:
- A Believer who was once enlightened.
- One who has tasted of the heavenly gift.
- A Christian who received the Holy Ghost.
- One who has tasted the good Word of God.
- A Christian who has tasted of the good powers of the world to come.
They have turned their backs on God and Christ
And the falling away, that Paul speaks of is not just repudiation of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, but an acceptance of another.
Therefore, this applies to Christians who have left Christianity and turned to other beliefs. They have turned their backs on God and Christ.
For example, Christians who have experienced those five things above and later become Satanists or Buddhists or Hindus, thus they have accepted other deity as their god. The above speaks of them.
However, it’s perfectly OK for them, first to leave other religions and come to Christ, because they could find repentance. But the reverse is not possible.
Repentance is Impossible for Them
Repentance is impossible for them for the reasons Apostle laid out in Hebrews 6:4-6.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, (Hebrews 6:4).
“And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” (Hebrews 6:5).
“If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).
People Who Abandoned their Faith in Jesus Christ
Apostle Peter departed from his faith temporarily when he denied Jesus Christ. But he repented and became a pillar in the First Century Church.
Conversely, Saul of Tarsus was an over-zealous, religious, Jewish, fanatic of the Pharisees. He left Judaism and came to Christianity and found repentance and Christ.
As a young adult and even as an adult Christian, I placed my beliefs in Jesus Christ on-pause and explored the world. I wanted to be like my peers. During that time, I didn’t accept another belief. I didn’t embrace another god.
But I was doing what I wanted to do and not what God wants me to do. Then, I didn’t even attend church. I was scared that if I should go to one of the services the Lord would strike me dead. Even then, I still feared God.
Never Give up on Jesus Christ
However, we cannot explore and enjoy worldly pleasures and live for Christ concurrently. These are mutually exclusive events. We cannot serve God and Mammon. We serve one or the other, but not both together.
As Peter and as Paul, I found repentance and re-embraced by beliefs in the awesome saving name of Jesus Christ. And He accepted me. And he will accept you too.
Finally, don’t refuse this Word of God. The consequence, if you do, is eternal, for it extends from this life into the next one.
Never give up on Jesus Christ. If you fall get up, brush yourself off and seek repentance. Jesus will strengthen you and keep you. Trust in him, (Proverbs 24:16).
Solomon writes, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).