“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything.”
– G.K. Chesterton
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
– Judges 21:25
Maybe the world is just slouching back to Sodom and Gomorrah – or worse yet to a cataclysm akin to the Flood. Or maybe Jesus will be returning imminently.
History shows us the practice of infanticide is not unusual. It was the rule, not the exception, in the empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. It was an abomination even found in ancient Israel, when people – including King Solomon himself – ritually sacrificed their children to the fiery furnace idols of Baal, Chemosh, Molech, Dagon and Ashtoreth.
In Jeremiah 32:35, God expresses a kind of divine exasperation over this monstrous betrayal of His holiness and His own imagination: “And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
Infanticide remained prevalent throughout the pagan world until the dawn of Christianity. But today we’re living amongst a generation that knows not Jesus – and things are getting worse.
The great British journalist-theologian G.K. Chesterton had it just about right when he explained what happens when people stop believing in God.
It’s true. They don’t just believe in nothing. They believe in anything and everything – every absurd notion, every myth and the perpetration of every unspeakable horror.
Chesterton was merely echoing biblical truths:
Genesis 6:5: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Jeremiah 7:24: “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”
Romans 1:21: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
Yet, I think I’ve discovered a corollary to what Chesterton eloquently put into such memorable words. It’s not just what man does when he stops believing in God. It’s also what he does when he stops believing in the antithesis of God – namely the behavior God calls sin, or the transgression of His law.
Likewise, it is true that when people stop believing in sin, there is no abomination they will not commit – even celebrate.
The prophet Jeremiah explains what it looks like when people turn away from God or from belief in what God defines as transgressions of His law. He wrote in Jeremiah 18:12: “And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.”
The Apostle Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:13 that we should expect things to get much worse in these latter days: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
Let’s face it, we live in an age of deception unparalleled since the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Google may indeed be worse. It’s not just fake news, it’s false prophets and phony gods. It’s idol worship and fake religions. It’s a return to Baal.
But here is scriptural truth as written in 1 John 1:5-10: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Do you believe in God?
Are you a child of light or a child of darkness?
Do you follow God and turn away from sin?
Or would you prefer to live in a godless world, a lawless world, a world in which man does what seems right in his own eyes?
Christians and non-Christians alike are today running from the law of God, from the commandments of Jesus.
The great evangelist and preacher Charles Spurgeon once said: “Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his guilt; this is a very serious loss to the sinner rather than a gain; for it lessens the likelihood of his conviction and conversion. I say you have deprived the gospel of its ablest auxiliary [its most powerful weapon] when you have set aside the Law. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster that is to bring men to Christ. … They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore, the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place.”
When we stop believing in God and sin, that’s what happens.
Man does not stop believing in anything. He starts believing in anything – and everything. They do what’s right in their own eyes.
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