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Fools who think they are Wise

Romans 1:21-23
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. (NIVUK)

These verses start with a remarkable statement – that everybody knows enough about God to be in awe of Him.  As our Creator, God has set eternity into our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  He has given us a deep inner consciousness that we are here for a reason and accountable to the One who made us.  That awareness finds expression in the many religions, each seeking to make sense of our smallness and yet our significance in the cosmos (Acts 17:22-27).  But it only finds its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the One who was Chief Executive of Creation and who sacrificed His own life to rescue all who put their trust in Him (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Only God knows everything and is therefore the source of all wisdom.  Rejecting Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the ultimate foolishness.  We can reject Him passively as well as by outwardly hostile aggression.  Failing to thank Him for His wonderful creation, is to reject Him.  Believing we know better and that our wisdom is wiser than God’s, also rejects Him.  And so is creating objects to worship, however beautifully they may be crafted; they have no power (Psalm 115:4-8).

As pride moves our focus away from the one true eternal God, we let less light (the Bible’s metaphor for truth) into our souls, not more.  Then, the myth of greater human wisdom is matched by the reality of increasing spiritual darkness (Matthew 6:23).  What is missing is a humble and thankful heart, giving glory to God for all He has done.  Without giving God the highest place, we cannot stop being proud fools who stumble their way into ever increasing darkness (Proverbs 4:19).

These verses vividly describe the world today.  The vast majority believe that there is a God, but they do not know Him.  Some do construct idolatrous images to worship, but the majority just ignore Him and act as though they are masters of their bit of the world.  They use what God has made and presume upon His common grace; but because they are not thankful they cannot stop themselves becoming fools as they applaud their own achievements.  The sad illusion is that they think they are wise and can manage without God.  But they are just the people for whom the gospel message is intended.  It will challenge their pride, but it is the only way for them to find the light of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6).  So, expect that when you tell the gospel message to others; it will produce a reaction - it is intended to!

Almighty God. Thank You for being the only source of all truth and wisdom. I am sorry for the many times when I have taken Your gifts and not been thankful; and for the false belief that I do not need You in some parts of my life. Please forgive my foolishness. I pray for my friends and colleagues who are shut off from You: help me to explain to them how the Lord Jesus Christ wants to be their Saviour too. May I show how much I believe in You by a lifestyle which is committed to obeying You, and a heart that dares to communicate Your gospel. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams