As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Church at Rome, the gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation. The members of the Church are to live by that power in greater knowledge and faith. The “just” are to live by that faith. It is an empowered and strong relationship with God.
Those who are not of faith have a very different outlook. Paul describes this in clear terms as though he could see down to our time today. We observe around us the attitude of disparaging God and not recognizing Him as our Creator. Paul said they would not glorify God, they would be unthankful, and they would portray God in base human terms. Importantly, these people in their disrespect of God would change the truth of God into a lie.
This week a national newspaper published an article written by a retired American Baptist minister. The thrust of the article is that reason and experience are to be held above scripture. Essentially this “religious” person is saying that reason and experience produce greater understanding than God reveals through scripture. Scripture must be subject to the reasoning of the human mind. “We got it wrong on gays and lesbians. This should not alarm or surprise us. We have learned some things the ancients – including Moses and Paul – simply did not know. Not even Jesus, who was fully human and therefore limited to what first-century humans knew, could know about cancer, schizophrenia, atomic energy and a million other things the centuries have taught us.” (USA Today 4/29/19). The author arrogantly dismisses the fact that Jesus Christ was God as well as human.
The exchange of God’s truth for a lie is taking place before our eyes. But of course, this has been Satan’s ploy for all of man’s existence. We are simply seeing the modern version being played out.
God told ancient Israel, before they entered the land of promise, that some men would raise themselves up as false prophets and dreamers of dreams and would test the people. “… you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4).
The days in which we live are testing us. Many false prophets are hard at work trying to dismantle any reverence and respect for God. It is not easy for those who choose to love God with all their heart. As the world reduces God into an image made by human reason, we are to grow in our love and respect for Him. “… You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We will lose respect for God in this environment if we are not close to Him.
Are you listening to the prophet or dreamer of dreams who is saying, “… Let us go after other gods – which you have not known – and let us serve them” (Deuteronomy 13:2)? Or are we listening to the Word of God? “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not … man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).