The Pilgrim Path (5-2-2020)
The Pilgrim Path---Psalm 14:1--3 (5--2--20)
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down form heaven on the children of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
ATHEISM---The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." This is never really a matter of mere facts. The Holy Spirit indicates that it is a moral matter: "they are corrupt." There are moral concerns of life they will hold on to---and will not let go of. No one will tell them otherwise (deeds that no God--- will dictate to them about). Actually, Christians struggle with this from time to time don't they? Practical Atheism? "Sure, I'm a Christian---but not so much in my marriage right now / or the way we're running the business / or the way we're handling the in-laws / or the way we're dealing with our taxes / church--yeah---we don't go any more? / we're just living together for a little while"...You get the picture---just "keeping" God out of segments of life...LORD help me...help us...
Wilhelmus a Brakel, the Dutch called him, Father Brakel, gave the world, The Christian's Reasonable Service (1700). A treatise on systematic theology, with application! He reminds us that the just shall live by faith---but sometimes---we really fight with unbelief (atheism). He points out various causes for our "atheism":
---the LORD will "try" us for a time...leave us to ourselves...show us we are not strong in "ourselves"
---sometimes caused by hasty devotions---failure to be acquainted with God...
---infrequent reading of God's Holy Word & meditation
---sometimes it is caused by yielding to sin---sin expressly against conscience
---prayers are not answered & a sense of despondency develops / fretfulness---"God would not help me."
---we try to go too deeply into a matter of God's "essence"---past what Scripture reveals---with our "puny" intellect---nurturing atheistic thoughts...
---sometimes we have a desire for "extraordinary" revelations of God----greater impressions of His perfections---not satisfied with the normal means of grace...
---the devil may instigate this by way of sudden interjections, subtle delusions, external circumstances...
---we may come into contact with atheistic books, lectures---listening to the complaints of those in such a condition...
Remember: The Just Shall live By Faith...
ALMIGHTY GOD is looking down---no one understands---no one seeks after God...The Apostle Paul quotes this text in Romans 3:11. The older I get---the more humbling this becomes. IF God did not "present" the gift of salvation to me---and--- "enable" me to believe---I would never come to Christ. No wonder John Newton wrote, "Amazing Grace---How Sweet the Sound---that Saved A Wretch Like Me!"
ALL TURN ASIDE---Romans 3:12---Men may perform some moral good, some social good, some economic benefit for the sake of their fellow man---but they can never reconcile themselves with the Holy God of Heaven..."together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." From Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Holy Spirit is not content with saying all and together, but adds the crushing threefold negative, "None, no, not one." What say the opponents to the doctrine of natural depravity to this? Rather what do we feel concerning it? Do we not confess that we by nature are corrupt, and do we not bless the sovereign grace which has renewed us in the spirit of our minds, that sin may no more have dominion over us, but that grace may rule and reign?
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you speak to people in love. It is a challenge at times. God has written His law upon the human heart (Romans 2:15-16). They may suppress it for a time---not forever. We count upon the Spirit---to work upon them (John 15: 26-27). As John Blanchard says, "God believes in atheists"---he can change them too! The LORD specializes in seemingly "hard" cases. As the Puritans used to say, "The fact you are not in hell now---is proof that God is yet gracious toward you! Do not spurn the Gospel of grace in God's Son."
Why was I made to hear your voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?
Isaac Watts (1707)
Grace & Peace in Jesus Our LORD, Pastor Jason