The High Cost of Rejecting God

Rejecting God’s Restraints

by John MacArthur Monday, January 11, 2021

We rightly shudder at the eternal consequences of sin, and the perpetual punishment that awaits unrepentant sinners. But we would do well to also consider the temporal cost of sin. We need to recognize how it pollutes, perverts, and corrupts—and particularly its destructive influence on the sinner.

Paul wrote about the consequences of rejecting God in his epistle to the Romans. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Romans 1:18–19). Planted in the heart of every human being is the knowledge of God. We don’t need to be told that God exists—our ability to reason, to understand the simplicity of cause and effect, is enough to point us to the existence of our Creator. In this case, the effect screams for the reality of the cause.

Paul makes that very point: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (v. 20). No one can claim ignorance of God’s existence—His creative work leaves them no excuse for rejecting Him.

The apostle continues, describing the extreme and irrational lengths men will go to in their attempts to deny God’s creative authority over this world:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:21–23)

When sinners reject God, they rebel against reason. Reason recognizes that the intricacies of creation testify to a Creator—that His creation speaks to His character and nature, and points to His full self-revelation in His Word. But rebellion actually extinguishes man’s capacity for reason altogether—Paul says they become fools with darkened hearts, as they run from reason into the illogic of false gods and idolatry just to escape the truth about God.

But the tragic consequences of rejecting God don’t end there. In one of the most profound passages in all of Scripture, Paul illustrates the devastating results that follow, as God unleashes the full corruption of their sinful rebellion.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:24–32)

That repeated phrase, “God gave them over,” is legal terminology—God is handing those who reject Him over for the execution of His sentence and punishment. He turns them over to the pursuit of their sinful desires, and the destruction that follows.

Space won’t allow for a thorough exposition of these verses, but we need to pause long enough to recognize our own society amidst the rubble. God’s judgment turns people over to a sexual revolution, until the whole culture is swimming in a septic tank of pornography. Consider the way our society aggressively sexualizes children, corrupting their view of God’s design before they can even fully comprehend it. And it doesn’t end there—the sexual revolution gives way to a homosexual revolution that ushers in transgenderism and other kinds of unspeakable deviance. Such perversion has so thoroughly permeated our culture that we’re now debating the question of how young is too young for children to begin mutilating their bodies in defiance of God’s creative design.

Paul says such corruption ultimately leads to a “depraved mind” (v.28)—that is, a mind that doesn’t function. It’s the inability to think straight or do right. It defaults to wickedness, selfishness, strife, and all the other sinful dispositions Paul describes. Moreover, the depraved mind applauds and promotes those who sin likewise. Today we have political parties that have constructed their platforms on killing babies in the womb, destroying the structure of the family, promoting sexual perversion, and many of the other sins Paul describes here in Romans 1. And with the hearty approval of other depraved minds, they are elected to office where they can institute and normalize their corruption.

What we see, then—both on the pages of Scripture and in the chaotic world around us—is the dreadful cost of rejecting God. On top of man’s natural sinfulness is the added reality of divine judgment unleashing the full consequences of man’s rebellion. Based on the biblical testimony, we see mankind’s sinful corruption is systemic—not socially, but personally—and no one escapes. It’s not related to a lack of opportunity, money, privilege, or education. Man is a naturally sinful beast who rejects God and His law. All of us are born with that internal wretchedness that corrupts and defiles. It scars beauty, darkens wisdom, defiles love, robs purity, and steals peace.

That brings us to a natural question: If man’s corruption truly runs that deep, is there any hope of restraining the sinful chaos it creates? Since humanity is so depraved, deceitful, degenerate, destructive, and deadly, how did God ever expect us to survive? How did He expect us to get through this life with any measure of meaning, fulfillment and joy—or even simply to civilize, socialize, and survive?

We’ll unpack the biblical answers to those questions next time.

(Adapted from Chaos, Corruption, and the Christian Response)

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B210111

Dancing with Devils

By Timothy Buchanan – May 31, 2019

Baseless criticisms foisted upon the Church are cyclic. They repeatedly appear, are confronted and debunked by one generation, only to reappear in a future generation. Some of these, like the wholesale condemnation of the Crusades, recur primarily as the result of historical ignorance by Christ-hating heretics and skeptics. Others, like the lie that “religion is responsible for more wars than any other cause,” are kept alive in part, by professors of the Christian faith who attempt to appease corrupt hearts and minds.

In our age of anti-truth, facts are ineffective in contending with the lies parroted by those whose view of reality is merely subjective. Nothing short of a personal encounter with the Divine will affect them. It’s a frightening situation that portends escalating violence and unfathomable wickedness for all involved.

Human history is replete with demonstrable proof that when man becomes the arbiter of morality, unspeakable carnage and suffering are the certain outcome. The hundreds of millions of murders and torturous deaths perpetrated by communist and socialist regimes in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America profoundly illustrate the consequence of human arrogance.

Statisticians can debate the body counts racked up by monstrous butchers: Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and American abortionists, but the numbers are so enormous that any comparison between them and the thousands of tragic deaths caused by the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Salem Witch trials, are silly and absurd. The God-rejecting man is supremely dangerous and miserable.

Now, the resurgent charge that “the Church is full of hypocrites” is being revived. Short-sighted pastors and teachers frequently attempt to befriend the lawless through self-flagellation. It always fails terribly. One of the best responses to the ludicrous accusation of hypocrisy in the Church, comes from Dr. Michael Youssef, who simply says, “Yes, and we have room for one more.”

The fact is that hypocrisy is most rampant—not in the Church but in our godless evil culture. After all, one who sets a high goal for himself or herself and occasionally fails to reach it, is no hypocrite. He is a hypocrite who claims to be sufficiently noble to judge the righteous, while rejecting defined moral principles. She is a hypocrite who aborts her child, and then screams about human rights. They are hypocrites who celebrate every form of sexual degradation while professing to care about children’s futures.

No righteous authority can exist apart from the absolute and unchanging standard of morality supplied by the Creator. As respect for the standard declines, the godless will always supplant timeless moral law with a personal subjective counterfeit that appeals to his or her capricious feelings.

The human eye cannot detect darkness unless there be a contrasting light. In like manner, people who keep large numbers of dogs are oblivious to barking noise and those who live with many cats disregard the odor of litter boxes. But their visitors are repulsed. Thus, worldlings cannot see their own hypocrisy because they have become accustomed to the moral sewer in which they dwell.

The truth is that the unbelieving secular culture is infinitely wicked and hypocritical. The Christian Church has civilized a barbaric world without resorting to the tyranny often employed in other cultures. Christian values provided the freedoms that Americans enjoy, abuse, and routinely take for granted.

Pastors and teachers who forfeit moral ground for the sake of a friendship, or, in a misguided effort to demonstrate love for the lost, are dancing with devils. And the dance always ends the same way, in stumbling confusion, loss, and a little bit of death.

Are sins, unfaithfulness, and heresies commonplace in churches today? Of course they are. But churches are purified by straining out the polluting influences of sin, by regular washing with truth, and by the disinfecting power of God’s Holy Spirit. These are tasks that many, it seems, would prefer to avoid.

It would be unthinkable to close a hospital simply because a few patients could not be saved. How much more absurd to condemn the Church—which holds the keys to eternal life—in order to garner the acclaim of the dead and dying? Perhaps it’s worth considering whether denying the Bride of Christ is not tantamount to denying Christ Himself.

 

Original here

VIDEO Do You Only Want To Change If It’s Easy? – The Spiritual Pulse of America

Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is openly “gay.” And he insists that God made him that way. He says that if someone has a problem with his homosexuality, they need to “take it up with my Creator.”

The “God made me this way” claim is a common excuse, and Buttigieg’s use of it is certainly not original. But Buttigieg has said something else that I find far more interesting.

He has said that, when he was young:

“if you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would have swallowed it before I could get a sip of water.”

That’s a far more revealing statement than Buttigieg – or most other people, for that matter – would realize.

For one thing, it raises this question: If Buttigieg is so sure that his “gayness” is perfectly OK, and it’s just “the way God made him,” then why would he have been so eager in the past to find an easy way out of it?

Maybe he was mainly concerned about disapproval from his family. Or maybe he was afraid of societal disapproval (assuming that might still have been an issue at the time). But, contrary to what he might claim now, it’s a good bet that he truly knew, instinctively, that homosexuality was wrong. Eventually, though, knowing that there was no magic pill to make him “straight,” he did what he felt he had to do – and what current society leads people like him to believe is their only option: to try to be as much at peace with his abnormal sexuality as he could be, and to treat it as being “normal.”

But there’s an even more significant point to Buttigieg’s statement. He’s basically saying that, because he couldn’t change easily, he concluded that he couldn’t change at all.

In this age where so many things come easily, even instantly, it can be very hard for people to grasp that some things will only come with time, patience, discipline and assistance. And in a world where many people treat God as some vague concept with no real substance or power, too many don’t know how to deal with things that can only be handled with divine help – things like life-dominating sin issues, especially sexual ones.

Even many people who truly acknowledge their Creator nonetheless find themselves stuck in deeply-rooted, life-dominating sexual sin. I have been such a person myself. And every such person, at some point, prays something like this: “God, please change me.”

The problem is that, when someone prays such a prayer, they often really mean this (without necessarily realizing it):

“God, change my desires quickly. Make it easy for me to stop doing this.”

But God isn’t particularly concerned with what’s easy, comfortable or convenient for us. He’s concerned about the strength of our character. And he’s concerned with how serious we are about doing what’s right, against any and all opposition – even (or especially) when that opposition comes from within ourselves.

When a person faces such a formidable issue as an unhealthy attraction or an addiction, he is not meant to make peace with it. Rather, he is meant to engage in battle against it, never giving up, faithfully doing his own part and letting his Creator do the rest. And he is meant to experience ultimate victory over it.

Contrary to what many seem to expect, real change generally does not happen quickly. Temptations and tendencies don’t go away overnight, but approach the vanishing point over time. Both outward behavior and inward character are modified incrementally. And often, the more hard-won the victory is over a life-dominating issue, the more solid and sound it is.

Countless people, including myself, have lived out what I’m describing. Destructive issues of all kinds have been overcome for good that had controlled the lives of individuals for decades.

But for every person who has experienced this, there are more who have given up and given in – sometimes after seemingly long and hard battles. They have surrendered to the very things that they were meant to conquer with God’s help. They have even let these things become the very basis of their identities.

Many people state that they “tried to change” but couldn’t, as if their personal surrender somehow proves that victory is impossible for anyone. But all it proves is that they let something stand in the way of their own potential victory. They may not have expected there to be some kind of “magic pill” that would change them; but, in some way, they were ultimately unwilling to persist in battling the opposition that came from within themselves. And, in the end, their attraction or addiction ended up being more important to them than God was – if they had ever considered him to be important to begin with.

If someone had told the young Pete Buttigieg that he could be “straight,” but that it would take time, patience, diligence and total submission to his Creator, would he have been so eager to pursue that “straightness”? Or would he have still only wanted to change if it was as easy as taking a pill?

Sorry, Pete, but nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished by someone who expected it to become easy. If you have a problem with that, take it up with your Creator.

 

Original here


Kennedy Classics: The Spiritual Pulse of America – Dr. D. James Kennedy

 Feb 20, 2014
 Dr. D. James Kennedy exposes the factors leading to America’s decline-and also shares some good news. America is becoming more secular, and the results have been staggering. At the same time, with God, we are never without hope. It’s vital, however, that we understand what’s happening around us from a biblical perspective.