The Effects of Sin Upon Beliefs
Robert Wurtz II
But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till [there was] no remedy.(2 Chronicles 36:16)
I sometimes wonder what it will take before some people finally turn to Christ sincerely. As a young boy in the seventies, I recall in Sunday School and church being told about all kinds of terrible things that would happen in the ‘last days.’ It would send terror through me. Nevertheless, the truth is, nobody in those days even had the mental and moral depravity to be able to express the level of evil and wickedness that exists in our times. I doubted things could ever get as bad as what the teachers and preachers used to say; but, here we are and in many ways we have blown past their wildest imaginations. Why is this happening? How has it come to this?
The Noetic Effects of Sin
Theologians refer to the condition in which there is an obstinate refusal to acknowledge simple facts about God and His creation they call “the noetic effects of sin.” The fall of man and his and her insistence in continuing in sin has dropped a cloud of darkness over multitudes. Because people refuse to acknowledge God as His creation puts forth its evidence of His existence, He gives them over to their foolish hearts. Denial is, likewise, described by psychologists as a defensive means of coming to terms with difficult facts. People refuse to allow the truth to come into their consciousness. They are stubbornly and deliberately obtuse. This would be bad enough if we were talking about trivial matters; but this is the mentality behind the machinery that is building our culture!
Some people envision a world that can determine morality independent of God and His word. As Dawkins has put it, “God is no longer necessary.” Nevertheless, we see where it is heading. Recently, an article was put forth in the British newspaper, ‘The Telegraph’ stating, “Killing babies (sic) no different from abortion, experts say. Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.”
Experts? Expert in what? Rebellion? In light of this, it is obvious that fallen man is becoming increasingly incapable of rightly choosing what is good and evil (moral). Why? Because of the noetic effects of sin. Sin and rebellion have a direct effect on a person’s moral judgments. This is almost scary to think about. In the 1980s, there was a campaign promoted by the Partnership For A Drug-Free America (PFDFA)using the slogan, “This is your brain on drugs.” A person would say “this is your brain on drugs” and drop a couple of eggs into a hot frying pan. The searing sound and sight gave the impression that drugs fry your brain. In like fashion, sin fries your moral judgment. The more you partake the more dull it becomes. In fact, we can see from scripture that sin hardens a person’s heart. The problem is that it plays out in three ways:
1. The heart is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
2. The devil comes in and further blinds their minds.
3. God sends strong delusion to those that have pleasure in sin.
This is the process by which the masses have their judgment totally out of calibration. This is the consequence of rebelling against truth- while enjoying the temporary pleasure of sin. This is how men and women are conditioned to call good evil and evil good.
God has given us an inward “a priori” knowledge of Himself. This is why the Bible never makes a case for the existence of God. People try to put God on trial, but they already know God exists. Moreover, His moral law is the basis of civilized society. When God and His word are removed- the society ceases to act civilized. They may never admit it or they may insist on constantly updating their definitions (v 1.01, v1.02, v1.03, etc.); but their own heart condemns them. This is why they hate Christians. Anyone that says something to awaken their conscience is violently detested.
We know God is good (moral) because it is His very nature. Like Job, we may not understand at the time what God is doing, but we can trust that He is good. However, indolence and pride rule the day. They reject the light and eventually lose their moral reasoning ability. Ever wonder why its seems impossible to rationalize with people on hot-button moral issues? To them fornication, abortion and to some even infanticide passes muster as “moral.” It is “immoral” to them, to inhibit folk from expressing fornicative acts and prohibiting abortion! And there is no reasoning with some even when the baby is being killed out of the womb. They obstinately refuse to SEE it as immoral. The masses keep on rebelling against what God has told them and then have the nerve to sit back and blame Him for so much of the problems in our times. Amazing! But again, it is the noetic effects of sin on their reasoning ability. The more they sin the darker their mind and reasoning gets. If some of these minds were moral calculators, 2+2 = 6.
I’m amazed at how easily one can get used to outrageous behavior. Think of the workers in the death camps of WW II that could do their work and go home to their family at night with seemingly no pain of conscience. This ought to shake us. What are human beings really capable of? I think the thing most dangerous to mankind is their proficiency in willful ignorance. They are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Why? Because there is a dishonesty with themselves at the core of their reasoning. The noetic effect of sin has done this. They don’t follow Divine evidence, they tamper with it mentally until it goes in the direction of their wretched lifestyle and evil desires. But what about Christians? Can they be effected by the mindset of the world? Absolutely! This is what Paul expressed in Romans 12 when he said, Do not be conformed to this world.” We have to get away from worldly influences that can mess our minds up. Soon we will think all manor of sin is ‘moral’ and ‘ok’ if we are not careful.
Imagine the madness of our times. We have tsunamis wiping out whole cities, bodies washing up on shore by the thousands, earthquakes unsettling the masses in divers places, volcanoes erupting in a wild spectacular combination of molten rock and lightening storm; and yet there is almost a yawn in the mouth of the people. What hardness of heart has allowed even the most spectacular phenomena to have no effect? Sinkholes open up in the earth in South America as if we were facing a foretaste of the Abyss. People seem to carry on as if these foretastes of Hell are merely assessed for their shear entertainment value. Christians being brutally murdered by machete wielding Islamic fundamentalists in third world nations as if they were demon possessed. Men and men and women and women getting married. And then if someone says something about it somehow they are “politically incorrect” or “intolerant.” Has there ever been such high-handedness as we see in our times? It’s almost as if the people have convinced themselves that they have effectively killed God and now are free to act out and do whatever foolery they can imagine no matter how vile.
Where do things go from here?
Imagine a tour bus load of people heading down Pikes Peak with no brakes. The bus is starting to perform all manor of wild acrobatic acts as if Evil Knieval were at the wheel. All the while the people are looking out the windows, popping their champagne and toasting to their fine accomplishments and education. Nobody seems to be hearing the sound of rubber burning off the tires or the creek of the suspension- taxed to its design limits. It’s as if they have convinced themselves that, “Were so educated, we don’t even recognize Newton’s basic laws anymore! Were the generation of the Antinomianists; we do what’s right in our own eyes no matter what it is.” The problem is, the bus is picking up speed and we just passed acceptance of homosexual marriage, and a sign that says, “Sharia Law Ahead.” Stop and ask yourself a question; whether you are an evangelical or an atheist; “Where is this ‘midnight bus to Memphis’ headed?” What will be acceptable in 10 years that would horrify us now? How long until child molestation is legal or until various forms of murder is acceptable? How long until we pass the moral degeneracy of the Nazi’s? Because this bus is rolling on the unlocked wheels of unrestrained wickedness and hardly a rider on board seems to be blushing no matter how reckless and hopeless their plight.
The Long-Suffering of God
God is waiting today even as He did in the days of Noah. Yet men and women are hardening thmselves more and more. The Galileans are lying dead in the streets and the Tower of Siloam seems to fall every night and folk just keep on as they whist not that unless we all repent we all will likewise perish. It will be too late to mock God when the tide of His judgments are carrying all before it. It will be too late when Hell enlarges itself once again to make room for the bus riders that die by the billions on the way down the mountain. God is not willing that any perish, but man is not willing to hearken unto God and repent. Yet, there will come a point, when the hand of God is directly responsible for the plagues that come upon this earth. There will be no guessing. The Revelation gives a sobering and frightful account, “yet they repented not… but rather blasphemed the one that had power over these plagues…” This is hardness ad infinitum.
Calling Upon God
Hardness brings with it an anger towards God and a destructive self-confidence. Think of Pharaoh. He pursued the people of God after seeing the Finger of God manifest over and over. Soon… he was face down in the water. This is a grim picture of our times. So many are rejecting the Light that they have and partying on as if there is no bottom on this bus ride. The light that now shines is now passing through the prism of God’s longsuffering and grace; but the time will soon come when the rainbow around His throne will turn a brilliant and blinding white as the prism of mercy is gone forever. May men hearken to His voice and receive His grace even now before it is finally too late.