"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Monday, January 12, 2015
The Self-Deception of Unbelief
Many excuses are used to explain why some people refuse to submit to the Lordship of Christ. Some claim evolution, for example. Some don't like the concept of Hell .
The Scriptures address these excuses in several places.
For example, in Isaiah 28:14-22, the nation of Judah thinks itself immune to God's chastisement for their apostasy because "we have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol [the grave] we have an agreement." That isn't meant to be literal, of course, since death and the grave aren't sentient persons. Rather, it is as if they said, "We can't be judged for our sins because we refuse to believe in sin or judgment." It is like the child who sticks his fingers in his ears, and sing-songs, "La-la-la I can't hear you," in the belief that he will will thereby not be accountable for violating his parents' rules.
How does God respond to Judah's claimed immunity? Verse 17, "I will make justice the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies..." He is no more impressed with Judah's pretenses than are the parents of that bratty child. In both cases, punishment is assured.
The Apostle Paul addresses the same deception in Romans 1:18-22: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them, for His invisible attributes, namely His power and divine nature, have been perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made, so that they are without excuse. For, although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools."
These remarks are primarily addressed to the professed atheist. God congratulates you on the cleverness for which you congratulate yourself, and which so impresses your friends. However, He is not impressed. Just as a responsible parent would never allow his children to pretend ignorance as an excuse for misbehavior, neither does God allow you to escape the consequences for your rebellion, just because you can come up with clever excuses.
For you, as it was once for me, the only answer is also given by Paul in Romans 10:9-10: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved."
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43