Musings 107

If a partial and inaccurate view of the divine character is before the mind, it is impossible there should be a clear and vigorous exercise of love to God. If an entirely false character is before the mind, it is plain that the approbation of that would not be love to God, but love to some other being. Now, in some instances, I think the character exhibited for the character of God is so entirely erroneous, that true love to God cannot be exercised towards it. In many of the discourses I have heard among new-measure men, such a representation has been given of the divine character as is entirely agreeable to the natural heart. In this case you have only need to do something to excite feeling enough to gain the sinner’s attention, and make him wish to secure his salvation. Then present such a view of the divine character as the natural heart already loves, and ask if he loves it; and your work is done. He thinks he is a convert, while he has not even been the subject of conviction. To produce a true conversion, you must proceed in a different way. The mind of the natural man is enmity against God. The sinner needs to see this. He needs also to be convinced that he is without excuse in this enmity. The true character of God needs to be exhibited, and held before the mind till it is clearly seen. (Pilgrims Progress through the Wastelands, Weeks)

It is so clear that men are so ignorant of themselves and their sin because they are proud and selfish, but also because of their ignorance of God. Men are ignorant of God because of terrible teaching, unconverted preachers, and because of their own sinful hearts. While we may lament the ignorance men have of God in their hearts and the ignorance of God that men in the pulpits have, this is not just because men are lazy. It should not surprise us that the reasons that men are so ignorant of God are given to us in the Bible. We are told that the natural man is at enmity with God and hates God. We are also told that God blinds men and turns them over to sin, which is easy to see that when God blinds men to the truth, He is blinding them to Himself.

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.

Jesus teaches in John 17:3 that eternal life is to know the Father and His Son (Jesus). Ignorance of God, on the other hand, is said to by why people are excluded from the life of God. “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Ephesians 4). When men give themselves over to doing evil, they become more and more blinded to their own hearts and to the life of God. When men are in darkness and without life, they are hardened of heart by God and are in a terrible condition.

We live in a time when the knowledge of God is no longer thought to be important, but instead knowing about church growth techniques and various psychological theories along with a good band is what church appears to be about in our day. This should not surprise us, however. When a man who hates God is in the pulpit, it is no wonder that he will not have a great knowledge of God and will want to speak of his false god and of himself. He will want people to like him and he will try to get them to feel good about themselves and about the sermon. That is precisely what we don’t need, but that is precisely what we are getting as we slip deeper and deeper into judgment. The greatest good is when God gives us Himself, but the greatest punishment is for Him to draw back from people and give them over to blindness and darkness. How glorious free-grace is to those who love God, but those who are blind see no beauty or glory of it.

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