Going from Bad to Worse :: by Gene Lawley

The mindset of those outspoken critics of Christians, as well as those who think their plans for mankind have no equal nor any overpowering contradiction by any God who might show up are well on their way of “going from bad to worse.”

In a previous article a thought came to mind that needs to be expanded upon. The thought was this: Some people do not know what they don’t know. The expanded thought would fall into line like this: Many people do not realize they don’t know what they don’t know; others think there is nothing they don’t know; still others do not care that they don’t know what they don’t know; and others do not want to know what they don’t know.
An ancient philosopher has surmised that “wisdom is knowing how little we know.” (It keeps you humble and willing to learn.) And I may as well add that someone else has observed that about 2 per cent of people really think, about 3 per cent think they are thinkers, and the other 95 per cent likely would die if they had to think!  In other words, people are like lemmings—they just follow the crowd, right off the cliff!

So, where is this thought process heading?

There are two driving forces in this universe—good and evil. God and His adversary, Satan, then, head up the two forces, and of course, God, the Sovereign of the Universe, only allows Lucifer—Satan—to do his thing as it fits in with what is God’s ultimate purpose, His own glory in the universe. The prophet Isaiah, among others, writes repeatedly of this purpose.

Thinking God’s thoughts after Him actually is the process of meditation on the Word of God. He is the one who has the true and final universal plan, so knowing His thoughts should be our goal.

One of the illustrations that came out of campus evangelism a few years ago was used to put one who said he did not believe in God in a defenseless position. A “pie graph” circle would be drawn out and was made to represent, in its enclosure, all the knowledge in the universe.

The self-identified atheist was asked what per cent of that total knowledge he thought he knew, and a “pie-piece” portion was marked off. Then, he was asked that of all the remaining knowledge in the universe, could there be the possibility that the knowledge of God existed, apart from his own knowledge?

That brings us back to the point of this article—many do not know what they don’t know, or perhaps there is a better way of saying it: People are not aware of what they don’t know.

Solomon’s wisdom comes to front and center, here. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

One of the indictments leveled upon mankind in Paul’s letter to the Roman believers was, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). It seems that “the fear of God” is of prime importance if one wants to walk in wisdom in his life, but what does that mean? Overshadowed by fear that if you make a wrong move, God will immediately punish you with vengeance? No, I am sure it means putting God first in your life is the first step of wisdom. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it plainly:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

The result of wisdom that does not begin with the fear of God is revealed in Romans 1:18-23:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

This is called “going from bad to worse,” and it keeps on going as man turns his back on God and God gives him up to gorge himself in the lusts of his flesh, not knowing what he does not know, that his destiny is being weighed in the balance and is found wanting. Truth has a narrow, sharp edge, comparable to a razor blade that cuts painfully at times. Though intensely graphic in its revelation, there comes a time for it to be said:

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting…” (Romans 1:24-28).

The doctrines of men have dulled the sensitive consciences of mankind, and a casual attitude about the issue of eternal life—having it or not having it—shows up in today’s culture of nonbelievers as well as believers. Foolish predictions without scriptural foundation have notably turned many believers off in regard to any expectancy of the coming of the Lord.

“Where is the promise of His coming” seems to be the unspoken turning point in many minds. At least one seems to sense that by the lack of interest in searching out the “signs of the times” and learning the truth of Bible prophecy and end-time secular events.

Satan has done substantial groundwork to dull the senses of believers to want to know the plans of God to bring this age to a close. Christians have been told for centuries that “no man can know the day or the hour of His coming,” so, that being the case, why bother with looking into it? (Even though Jesus said to watch.)

One such doctrine of man’s invention is that Satan was bound and cast into the bottomless pit when Christ was crucified. If there is laughter in the darkness of evil’s habitat, it is with an uproar at the foolishness of such a belief, for then he cannot be blamed for anything he does anywhere on earth! Some thirty years or so after Jesus was crucified, Peter wrote this, in 1 Peter 5:8:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Promoters of that belief have made Peter out to be a liar, and if Peter lied, then so did the Holy Spirit, and so did God! No, God does not lie. The Apostle Paul also recognized the continuing activity of the devil when he wrote in Ephesians 6 that believers should “put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” and he wrote that also about thirty or so years after the crucifixion.

That same body of doctrine maintains that all of the future prophecies of the Bible were fulfilled in the first century, at the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. It appears that those who think there is nothing that they do not know have come to think that what they believe establishes the truth, but it does not work that way.

A truth is true whether or not I believe it. Paul wrote, in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abides faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” Like it or not, truth reigns supreme, and mortal men are its subjects, willingly or unwillingly.  A prior report expands on this issue, titled, “My Believing Doesn’t Make It So.” [1]

So, let’s not assume what we don’t know is not important enough to give attention to, for John 16:13 does tell us that “when the Spirit of truth has come [and He has come], He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

It is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:4, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”  Jesus is the truth; He said so, and He cannot lie. Purposefully turning away to follow the doctrines created by men rather than the Word of God, rightly divided, is “going from bad to worse!”
End Note:

[1] (On believing)  https://www.raptureready.com/featured/lawley/lawley107.html

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