Musings 61

Question: Why is it so hard for men to believe that God is really sovereign and that they (men) are really helpless?

The most basic reason is that because of the fall, where man believed the words of the evil one that man could be as God, sinful man wants to be sufficient in and of himself and to determine his own actions and eternal destiny for himself. Man does not want God to rule over him and does not want God to decide what is right or wrong for man. The heart of man has been given over to self and the love of self rather than to God and the love of God and so man is at enmity to God and will not have God to rule over him.

The Scriptures tell us that man does not want the knowledge of God and in the rejection of God man goes deeper and deeper into sin. As seen from the passage in Romans 1:18-31, man is constantly at war with God over who determines what is right and wrong and for who has the right to rule the human heart and behavior. Man does not just blindly enter into sin, but the God he knows is rejected and sin is willingly and lovingly pursued. It is hard for man to understand that he is not free to do good and to love God when he understands that he does what he wants to do and does not do what he does not want to do. What this blinded (to spiritual things) person does not understand is that his very loves and desires are in bondage and he is in bondage to his sinful nature. So a sovereign and holy God is hated by man because there is enmity in the heart of man against the God who will judge the sin that the man loves.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 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. 21 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. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 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. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 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. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 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. 28 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, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 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.

In the verses above we see this enmity against God and His reign and rule (sove-reign rule) over man. God is clearly seen in creation, but man does not honor God and so becomes futile in his speculations. While man does not think he will ever be in gross sin and that there are things he will not do, when man is in bondage to sin God will punish that man by hardening his heart and turning him over to greater and greater sin. God is the One who gives hearts over to impurity, because men exchange the truth of God for a lie. Men who are turned over to degrading passions do not acknowledge God any longer and so they are given over to a depraved mind. These people, though down deep they know that there is a true and living God, hate God and continue on in their practice of things that are worthy of death.

Men, who think that they are in control and can live as their wicked hearts desire, will love “God” as long as they think that God will not run contrary to their desires. But when the heart of man who is his own god runs counter to the living God, man hates the true God who is the sovereign God and wants another god to serve man and that can be controlled by man. Religious man will use religion to try to control God as well.

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