Thursday, March 26, 2015

Speaking for God, Part 2

It is pointless, to be polite, to preface any statement with “I think” or “I feel” or “I believe” when it comes to pronouncements about God’s intentions toward man or how He created us to be. This is a subjective thought that has no moral authority to rest upon; it begins with the speaker and carries no further, denoting rather personal preference over what is truly good or evil, right or wrong. In fact such thinking nullifies the concepts of good and evil or right and wrong, since it permits every single individual to re-create them as they see fit to govern their own lives with. The outcome of this is the widespread pain and misery engulfing our planet, as the apostle warns: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures,” James 4:1-3.

Paul carries something of the same tone when he writes his famous passage in Romans chapter 1. The degeneration of our race began with our ancestors who knew God, Romans 1:21. They refused to give God His proper place in their lives and became ungrateful of all He did for them which corrupted their ability to reason; unguided human wisdom became incapable of genuinely perceiving God’s character, Romans 1:21-22. Rather than repent and admit wrongdoing at this point, our race chose instead to replace God with something more befitting our fallen estate and religion was born, Romans 1:23. A lesser view of God opened all manner of doors for what was permissible for man who focused his energies on the worship of created things rather than the one who created all, be it false gods, money, family, material goods, etc., Romans 1:24-25. Having adopted degraded gods whose moral standards were easier to bear for a fallen race mankind sank into sexual depravity of all kinds, Romans 1:26-28. Sex was created for the purpose of procreation, to raise up children to God by parents who were like-minded, Genesis 1:28; 2:18; 4:1; Malachi 2:14-15. This is why practices such as homosexuality are sinful in Scripture: they pervert God’s express intentions for sex.

What follows in what I refer to as “the downward spiral” in Romans 1 is a list of traits that mark those who have turned from God and easily explains why so many people are comfortable speaking on God’s behalf without any just or valid reason for doing so. God calls everything on this list “unrighteousness”: sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness (greed), maliciousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness, whisperers and backbiters (spreading rumors, gossip and slander, disloyal), haters of God (that is, the true God and what He has objectively spoken to us), violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things (going hand in hand with evil-mindedness), disobedient to parents, undiscerning (without understanding), untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful, Romans 1:29-31. We are not humble enough to confess that in our flawed wisdom we have erred and gone away from the Lord. Instead we laud those who champion change; that is, to change God’s immutable pronouncements with our own transient ones, and we join them in that endeavor, Romans 1:32.

Instead of speaking so swiftly to say “I think God…” or “I believe God would…” perhaps we should first pause and truly consider: I wonder what God WOULD say? Has He spoken about this? How can I find this out? God promised that “you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:13. This is the first act of abandoning our own wisdom and recognizing the folly of trying to speak on behalf of someone we do not know. Instead in faith we should search out the true God, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who coms to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6. It’s our choice at this point. We can go on in ignorance, or humbly admit how little we know about our Creator and allow Him to come into our lives and teach us what we so desperately need to know. Then we shall genuinely have a sound basis for a morally authoritative statement; for we did not reach any conclusions but rather trust in the one who knows all, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, John 14:6. Our God IS the truth so we know that when He speaks on some topic, all debate is ended. Time will surely reveal whose word will endure: man’s or God’s, Jeremiah 44:28. God bless.

2 comments:

  1. Amen, Ian.

    We are constantly confronted with people insisting that their idea is the measure of what is right rather than what God actually said. Sadly, I am afraid even most of these who claim to be Christians have no awareness of how much of what they believe is based on some person's ideas rather than what God said.

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  2. I've certainly been in this camp on more than one occasion. Sometimes it seems easier to listen to what someone else (a Christian writer, etc) says about a topic than what the Bible does. They do not always agree. Other times they seem to have such a knowledgable conviction that believing them on face value seems right. But the Bible is our final authority, and everything must be checked by Scripture as to its relevance and validity. I am glad that God taught me this lesson; a sometimes painful, embarrassing, and awkward one at that. No human writer (this one clearly included) will ever be right all the time; it's safer for Scripture to be our sieve, and we strain all that we receive through its cleansing and refining touch.

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