by Mike Ratliff
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self- control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. (2 Timothy 3:1-8 NASB)
Genuine or authentic Christianity is not a world religion. Instead, it is a fellowship of believers who have been justified by Faith. There are many professing Christians who would not fit that definition. They may be religious. They may have made a “profession of faith,” but they are not regenerate nor do they have The Holy Spirit. Why? They have not repented and submitted to the Lordship of Christ. They are not New Creations through the washing of Regeneration, which quickens believers from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13)
Saving faith is not the result of human reason. It is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8,9) Knowing God and obeying God requires an active faith that is outside of human reason. Over last several days I have been in several discussions with some folks that were obviously very bright, but their arguments were based entirely within intellect and totally outside of faith. After a few rounds of back and forth responses it becomes very obvious that unless God opens their hearts to the truth they simply will not believe it. They will even say things like I and those who fight the fight along side me have no regard for the truth or that we present truth outside of the love of God. How do we answer a charge like that when all we do is present the truth as commanded in sacred scripture? They have their own understanding of the truth that they have formulated via human reason, which looks at Biblical Truth as relative because it makes demands that are outside of what they can understand or see as fair or right.
Those mired in this religion of human reason are hypocrites who are always learning, but never able to arrive at knowledge of the truth. They accuse those who teach Biblical Truth of not teaching what the original languages say because they rely on “tainted” translations. That is a bogus accusation. Or they claim that no one can God’s truth so we cannot claim one doctrine is right while others are wrong. This type of reasoning gives me a headache.
I study the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek with excellent language tools and I have become much more proficient in Greek translation than just few years ago. Many of my like-minded brethren are fluent in those languages as well. The Protestant Reformation was lead by the Holy Spirit who drew men such as William Tyndale, Martin Luther, and John Calvin along with multitudes of others to translate the Bible from the original languages into the common tongues of their people. William Tyndale was a formidable scholar who knew seven languages including Hebrew and Greek. His translation of the Bible was the basis for both the Geneva Bible and the 1611 King James Bible. However, those of the human reason religion consider themselves better scholars than Tyndale, Calvin, Luther, Beza, Knox, Henry, Bunyan, Owen, Edwards, Gill, Spurgeon, Broadus, et cetera. Why? These I listed and untold numbers of others of like faith wrote about, taught, and preached (the later ones still do) a Gospel of Faith that God used to regenerate, justify, sanctify, adopt and glorify His people. It is outside of human reason.
Those of the religion of human reason debate deceitfully. They focus on words and logic, but since faith is outside of human reason and totally not understandable by an unregenerate mind, they cannot see it nor grasp it. When we reason with them using words of faith, they hear an unintelligible language and reject it as nonsense. What we see as our Spirit-filled walk unto personal holiness, they see as hypocrisy and us being judgmental because we point out that they are mired in their flesh instead of being led by the Spirit. We become frustrated because it appears they are just being hard headed. However, they really cannot grasp the truth because their hearts are hard and God has not given them the ability to understand it by His grace. Tragically, their religion of human reason also gives them false assurance they are right and we are wrong because, after all, to them we are speaking nonsense. They have a religion, but it is one of their own making and it is not genuine Christianity. Because of that, they also use the tactics of the world. That should be no surprise to us since they are conformed to the world, they will be like it.
Martin Luther wrote the following about John 6:42 which says, “They were saying, “ Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘ I have come down out of heaven’”
“This passage shows how the Israelites complained about what Jesus taught. They thought it was ridiculous, foolish, and offensive for him to claim that he came down from heaven and could give eternal life. After all, they knew his father, Joseph, and his mother, Mary. They complained because they thought either he was telling an outrageous lie or he was a complete fool. Why would he try to convince them that he had come down from heaven when his parents lived near Capernaum?”
“John writes this as a warning to everyone. When it comes to God’s Word and how God deals with us, we shouldn’t worry whether or not it makes sense. If you want to be a Christian and understand the teachings of the Christian faith, you shouldn’t judge the Christian doctrines with your mind to find out whether or not they sound correct. Instead, you should immediately say, “I’m not asking how it all makes sense. All I need to know is whether it is God’s Word or not. If God said it, then that decides it.” Often I have warned you not to argue about lofty, spiritual matters or try to figure them out. For as soon as you try to make sense of them and put them in terms you can understand, you slip and fall.”
“Origen and other church fathers had that experience. They made the mistake of reaching too high. They tried to combine reason and wordly righteousness with the doctrine of the Christian faith. These teachings transcend our reason.” – Martin Luther
What must we do? We must never stop praying for these people and we should always be ready to give an account of what God has done in our own hearts. We must tell them the truth and pray that God will take it and shatter their pride as He effectually calls them into the light.
Soli Deo Gloria