A couple of verses which spoke most powerfully to the Gentiles of Paul's day. Remember that there were, from the Jewish point of view, the chosen people of God-themselves- and then the rest of the world, all of them outside God's Kingdom. Yes, as a non-Jew by birth you could become a proselyte and enjoy some of the benefits of Judaism, as the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 had done, but it was a lengthy and painful process. It was all a happy accident of birth for the Jew. However relevant you may find that as a Western European of the twenty first century, you will be challenged, I feel, by the last sentence: 'You lived in this world without God and without hope'. That is still what most people are doing in our country today. Some follow other faiths, but of those remaining-tens of millions of people-it is reckoned that only 25% have any interest in God at all. Surveys show that we cannot converse with most of the population of the UK: to them God is at best irrelevant if not downright dangerous. From time to time, I promote church events on Facebook and it allows you to set your parameters-for me, the notice is obviously to be promoted in the Bradford community. Once I mistakenly made it a much larger area and received some very negative comments! So my question to you and to myself, is how do this vast majority of UK residents live? I'm not sure that I've known a time in my life when I haven't believed in God, although there have been periods when I've rebelled against Him or been angry with Him. But, how does one live without any form of hope when tragedy strikes or when old age comes? I've taken funerals where there has been no sense of hope for the deceased's eternal future and there doesn't seem an alternative to having faith that God will grant them new life. I have no answer. I say the words of resurrection, where Jesus promises life after death; it appears to have no effect. I think, as a believer, you feel that once people have heard those potentially life-changing words that they would do all they could to get right with God, but as the Parable of the Sower makes clear, there are only a few who will properly listen and respond.
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