Not So Random Thoughts 14

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB ‘? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

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. 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. 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.

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. (Augustine)

Part of the problem in our nation regarding the professing Church and the absence of the true Gospel of free-grace is that people feel free to pick and choose what they believe. They will believe what they want and reject what they don’t want. As Augustine pointed out, that is to simply believe in self. It is a belief in self and it is a trust in self. It is the soul trusting itself rather than Scripture to determine what is true and then trusting in self to commit to that. It is to be self-absorbed as the center of the universe and an ignoring of the truth of God.

In one sense Romans 1:18-32 is a passage of Scripture describing people who trust in self. The people in that passage do not like God or something about Him and so they deny it. In doing that they are suppressing the truth of God and they are exalting themselves in His place. They are doing what Adam and Eve did in choosing what is good and evil for themselves rather than bowing to the truths of Scripture. They are doing a great evil in that they are determining what is true and right for themselves, which is to say that they are playing God to self. But again, playing God is to self is to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness.

Jesus said that He came to save sinners and not those who are healthy. Well, we will admit that we are not perfect, but we don’t want to admit the depths of our depravity and enmity to God. The dark curtain that is the background of the Gospel is the sinfulness and inability of human beings, but when people change that they will change the Gospel into another gospel as well. If men are really not that bad, then Christ did not do all that much in life and on the cross either. If men are not really all that bad, then Christ came to save those who are a little sick but not dead. In other words, they need a little help but they are still mostly healthy. This is an instance of what Augustine said. Men don’t like this and so they reject it and find something else they like better. It is faith in self.

One reason that men hate the Gospel is that they don’t want to be helpless and in the hands of God to do with as He pleases. What they seem to be blind to is that they cannot change the reality of this situation. They are dead in sins and trespasses and they have no ability in the spiritual realm. They are utterly dependent upon God and can do nothing spiritual in their spiritual death. If God does not raise them from the spiritual dead by His grace alone, they cannot be raised. Self cannot raise self from the dead (clearly), but man will change this thought to where he can control it and do something to get God to raise him.

All of this is simply man trying to be sovereign over himself rather than bow to the living God. This is man suppressing the truth of God as sovereign and trying to take that place himself. This is man trying to yank grace from the hand of God in order that man may show grace to himself as he pleases rather than be utterly dependent upon God to show grace as He pleases. This is man ascending to the throne of God (in his own mind) and yanking God down in order that man may take the throne. This is man refusing to bow to the true God and yet bowing to the desires of self. The true Gospel of free-grace is the Gospel of God. Man hates that God and that Gospel and as such suppresses the truth of it and exalts self. This is nothing less than a refusal to worship the Creator as one bows in worship of self.

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