At the opening of the final round of the 2011 U.S. Open Golf championship, NBC, trying to capture the patriotism of the moment, aired a clip of children reciting the pledge of allegiance. It was obvious to all watching the event that something was amiss—they had left out the phrase “under God.” Whether this was intentional or an unfortunate oversight, I know not, however, it shows there has been a paradigm shift in American culture concerning God. According to a Gallup poll conducted in May of 2010, three out of ten people now say, “Religion is out of date.” What a sad turn of events in the mindset of this country. Without God there are many sad tragedies. Let us consider a few.
Without God We Have No Standard of Morality
Despite the spin produced by the liberal talking heads, without God in our lives there is no standard of morality. Man never has been, nor will he ever be, capable of determining what is right for society. Many years ago a record was put on paper to remind us of a dark and desperate time. Judges 21:15 states, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” What a gloomy picture of a time where each did what was right in his own eyes instead of following the truth established upon God’s will. Such situations have spawned the evils of moral relativism or situation ethics. These practices and theological principles have been developed within the mind of man; from a humanistic worldview that excludes God. The guidelines produced from such trends know no boundaries. The advocates of this worldview teach it is impossible to determine what is right or wrong—each individual must decide for themselves in each situation what is acceptable.
Jesus, however, clearly identifies the standard of absolute truth that applies to all humanity: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Jesus knew the reality of preaching to a sinful world. Many would not heed what was right, thus He prays for His disciples to be sanctified through truth. The psalmist wrote, “Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth” (Psa. 119:151).
Jesus uttered one of the most controversial statements of history, yet one on which all absolute truth rests, when He said: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). Thayer defines “truth” as, “the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of His purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man.” He goes on to remark, “Opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians.” Jesus does not merely point to the truth, or a truth, HE IS the truth! Thus truth is universal and absolute. The Hebrew author remarks, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (13:8). We understand by this that truth is not the invention of man, nor is it ever-changing. Truth is rooted in the nature and being of God. Without God truth does not exist.
Without God We Have No Savior
We are unable to save ourselves. With the rise of modern evolutionary theory the minds of many are deceived, but the fact remains that we cannot save ourselves. We need a Redeemer! Jeremiah wrote, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (10:23). Isaiah eloquently portrays man’s condition without God: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa 64:6).
It is God’s desire for all to seek and find salvation. Paul wrote emphatically of this truth about God in 1 Timothy 2:4: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God, in His infinite wisdom, developed a great scheme of redemption. He sent His Son to live a perfect life, as a Lamb without spot, guilty of no sin. The very mission of Jesus was to save and redeem humanity, Matthew records, “…thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (1:21). John the Baptizer declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Though an esteemed apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:5).
Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God would proclaim His means of salvation (Rom. 1:16). Paul wrote the Corinthians to remind them of “…the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved…” (1 Cor. 15:1-2). The glorious gospel of Jesus Christ is the means by which salvation can be realized in the act of baptism. Paul explained obedience to the gospel in the Roman epistle, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (6:3-6).
Baptism, the act of obeying the gospel depicting a likeness of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, is the manner in which one comes in contact with His cleansing blood. This is why Jesus proclaimed, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). Peter proclaimed, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Act 2:38). Without God salvation is unattainable.
Without God We Have No Joy
God gives joy! No true joy and satisfaction will be found without God. Solomon, a man well educated through personal experience and divine guidance teaches, “For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Eccl. 2:26). Two categories of people are found within this timeless teaching: the righteous and the unrighteous. The righteous who live in accordance with God’s will find joy, but the unrighteous only encounter only travail. As Solomon composed a majority of the Proverbs a number of passages give lengthy description to the same principle: serve God and find knowledge, wisdom and joy; but the mocker only encounters misery.
Great joy is found in the realization of salvation. As previously discussed, without God we have no salvation. Habakkuk said, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18). Paul discusses the same principle in the New Covenant, “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Rom. 5:11). In this life there is no greater joy than finding the forgiveness of sins and having the hope of eternal life.
The greatest joy of all is yet to come—to be found faithful at the Lord’s return. In their woeful misunderstanding concerning the Second Coming, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thess. 2:19). They will stand as evidence for Paul’s joy at the time Christ comes back. Their faithfulness would prove his life was not wasted but something everlasting was accomplished. No greater joy will be found in our lives than to meet the Lord when He gathers His own.
Article by: Brad Shockley