This post is inspired by a comment made at the end of a television show called “Les francs-tireurs” that I had the opportunity to interview with a couple of weeks ago. If you speak French, then you can go to the following link and see the show.
Here is the question I want to address in this post. Are the views and values of the average person who does not profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior too far away from being open to the message of the gospel?
Let me begin with a translated quote from Blaise Pascal, a brilliant French man who lived from 1623-1662. (la version en francais est en bas)
That man without faith cannot know the true good, nor justice.
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
And yet after such a great number of years, no one without faith has reached the point to which all continually look. All complain, princes and subjects, noblemen and commoners, old and young, strong and weak, learned and ignorant, healthy and sick, of all countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions.
A trial so long, so continuous, and so uniform, should certainly convince us of our inability to reach the good by our own efforts. But example teaches us little. No resemblance is ever so perfect that there is not some slight difference; and hence we expect that our hope will not be deceived on this occasion as before. And thus, while the present never satisfies us, experience dupes us, and from misfortune to misfortune leads us to death, their eternal crown.
What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.
I would agree with Mr. Pascal. So, the answer to my question above is: YES! We, humans, are too far. So, my interviewer was right. The Quebecois moral values are too far different than that of the righteousness of God to be willing to turn away from their personal desires and to embrace the Living God.
What is so neat about this, is that the Bible actually agrees with this (Ecclesiastes 9:3, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 1:22-24, 3:10-18). In our quest to be “happy” mankind has tried to fill their lives with anything and everything in order to find fulfillment. The only problem is that the void we are trying to fill can only be filled permanently and eternally by God Himself. Bravo Mr. Pascal, you got it right. We all acknowledge that we want happiness, but no one wants God. So, what must happen? The same thing that has happened since the fall of man. We need God to open our eyes, minds, and hearts to see our foolishness of running after vain things. We need Him to show us our sinful condition. We need Him to convict us of our lostness. Why? Because we have proven for thousands of years that the answer for our lives is not within our grasp. We need help. The problem is, is that we either will not admit it, or we refuse to go to God for it.
Unless the Spirit of God changes our heart, we will continue to live our life in vain. Now, do not get me wrong. There are millions of people who live good (as most would define it) lives. They are generous. Happily married. Live long and healthy. And retire with enough to live on. But, is that it? Is that all? What happens to all we work for after we die? Does it just simply get passed on to someone else? Is that not all just meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2).
So, I would argue along with Blaise Pascal that the God-shaped hole (infinite abyss) in every person can only be filled by God Himself (see last sentence in quote above). So while the interviewer from Les francs-tireurs was right about the impossibility of the Quebecois from embracing the gospel of Jesus, he was wrong about one very important thing: God is at work and is changing lives every single day, including my wonderful neighbors, the Quebecois. Our job as evangelical Christians is not to change hearts. Our job is to share the good news of Jesus Christ. God is the one who changes hearts, and for centuries He has been doing just that, even to the most stubborn, rebellious, and secular person. God’s word says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, esv) So, I agree with John Piper, who said in a recent sermon (this is a paraphrase), “every believer is either a goer, a sender, or disobedient.”
Therefore, back to my original question, “Are the views and values of the average person who does not profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior too far away from being open to the message of the gospel?” Yes. But, we share in faith. God saves by grace. And He will get ALL the glory…forever!
Que l’homme sans la foi ne peut connaître le vrai bien, ni la justice.
Tous les hommes recherchent d’être heureux. Cela est sans exception, quelques différents moyens qu’ils y
emploient. Ils tendent tous à ce but. Ce qui fait que les uns vont à la guerre et que les autres n’y vont pas est ce
même désir qui est dans tous les deux accompagné de différentes vues. La volonté fait jamais la moindre
démarche que vers cet objet. C’est le motif de toutes les actions de tous les hommes, jusqu’à ceux qui vont se
Et cependant depuis un si grand nombre d’années jamais personne, sans la foi, n’est arrivé à ce point où tous
visent continuellement. Tous se plaignent, princes, sujets, nobles, roturiers, vieux, jeunes, forts, faibles, savants,
ignorants, sains, malades, de tous pays, de tous les temps, de tous âges, et de toutes conditions.
Une épreuve si longue, si continuelle et si uniforme devrait bien nous convaincre de notre impuissance d’arriver
au bien par nos efforts. Mais l’exemple nous instruit peu. Il n’est jamais si parfaitement semblable qu’il n’y ait
quelque délicate différence et c’est de là que nous attendons que notre attente ne sera pas déçue en cette
occasion comme en l’autre, et ainsi le présent ne nous satisfaisant jamais, l’expérience nous pipe, et de malheur
en malheur nous mène jusqu’à la mort qui en est un comble éternel.
Qu’est-ce donc que nous crie cette avidité et cette impuissance sinon qu’il y a eu autrefois dans l’homme un
véritable bonheur, dont il ne lui reste maintenant que la marque et la trace toute vide et qu’il essaye inutilement
de remplir de tout ce qui l’environne, recherchant des choses absentes le secours qu’il n’obtient pas des
présentes, mais qui en sont toutes incapables parce que ce gouffre infini ne peut être rempli que par un objet
infini et immuable, c’est-à-dire que par Dieu même.