Volume 17 Issue 10
Man wants to be great, and he finds himself small; he wants to be happy and finds himself miserable; he wants to be perfect and finds himself full of imperfection; he wants to be the object of love and esteem among men and he finds that his faults merit only their aversion and scorn. This situation wherein he finds himself produces the most unjust and most criminal passion which can be imagined; for he conceives a mortal hatred against this truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults. (Blaise Pascal)
Pascals description of the mortal hatred against the truth is quite revealing. It offers an explanation why so many despise the truth – or any absolutes for that matter. It is because truth interferes with mens own egos and agendas, with their perceptions of their own grandeur.
Over the years my experience as pastor has revealed that many people reject the Christian faith because they despise the reality concerning their condition as sinners that is revealed when the true message of Jesus is preached. They despise the Bible because it shines light upon their faults. They hold a grudge against all reality, especially the reality of their own condition. Ultimately they seek out more self-accommodating philosophies. They favor lies rather than be forced to deal with any blame or responsibility for grief or trouble.
This is one of the factors that cause men to reject the Bibles doctrines of holiness, sanctification, and salvation in order that they may feel free to do their own thing. They seek an alternative to truth because truth demands an acknowledgement of need. The apostles doctrine represents authority, a faith once delivered, a finished product not available for modern editing. Jesus calls men to repent. And disappointingly, mens talents do not score points toward salvation. Human righteousness is as filthy rags. Money cannot buy Gods favor. And men can never be God, which is an unpleasant reality for many. Gods ministers are required to point men to Jesus and not to themselves. Furthermore, the best human wisdom is belittled by the simplicity which is in Christ.
God, even the idea of God, brings down the strongholds on this earth. Therefore, men develop a mortal hatred against the truth. Truth hinders their own greatness. It gets in the way of their celebrity status. They need praise, and Jesus is their competition. So they do what they must to mortally wound the realities presented by the truth. They substitute their own brand of faith that is filled with self-validating lies.
In one of our leadership classes at IBC, we viewed a documentary on the infamous Rev. Jim Jones, who led his congregation in the greatest mass suicide in history. In one shocking scene he rants against the Bible, describing it in Marxist terms as the opiate of the people. He throws it on the floor, tramples it underfoot and calls it an idol. Then he boldly states, If you see me as God then I am God. Here is Pascals mortal hatred in full view. The Bible was in the way of Jones own lust for self-glory. So he tried to kill it.
Thomas, upon touching Jesus, confesses, My Lord and my God. All misdirected human arrogance is therein surrendered. All selfness is sacrificed. All other names are hereby rejected. For Thomas, this is where all things are put in perspective. Truth is revealed. The issues are settled. Life is in Christ alone.
The call of Jesus unto salvation is simple, loving, and real. It is not complicated. But the reason men reject Him is convoluted and complex, demonstrated by their falsification of love, their propensity for hatred, their death wishes against the truth, and their love for their own self-imagined celebrity. The temptation of this age is to strike a mortal blow against the plain language of the apostle Peters command in Acts 2:38 in favor of a self-serving, less definitive brand of religion. The consequences for churches, families, and the future will be disastrous.