HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS – CHRISTIAN ATHEISTS
The Bible says that there is a “spirit” that works in the children of disobedience. 1 John 3:8 says "He that commits sin is of the devil..." Jesus even told the religious hypocrites of His day that their father was the devil:
“You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. “ John 8:44
Unsaved people live in the Kingdom of Darkness. It's as simple as this, if we are serving sin, we are serving Satan. Our appetites are unclean. We desire pig food. Consider what we crave. Think of the contents of the average soap opera or prime time television show—adultery, jealously, lust, fornication, rape, gossip, and greed. Or the average movie today with its violence, filthy language, explicit sex, and graphic murder.
Look at the covers of magazines in bookstores and supermarkets. They are “soft-core” pornography, which a few years ago was considered hard-core and hidden from young eyes. Think of video games that kids crave--many are extremely violent and sexually perverted. Think of some rock music, with its explicit sexuality, its blasphemy, and its dark Satanic side. Consider the Internet's multi-billion dollar hard-core porn industry, or how the average person uses filthy words and blasphemy in everyday speech. Life in the dirty pigsty is normal, natural, and completely acceptable.
Yes, Satan is the god of this world, and he has deceived millions. But his deception hasn't stopped there. It has moved into the Church. Despite what the Bible says, that Satan is real, that he's a deceiver, and the god of this world who blinds minds, look at what has happened--according to the Barna Reserach Group:
“The majority of American Christians do not believe that Satan is a real being,” the latest Barna survey found. “Likewise, most Christians in the United States do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force. Fifty-eight percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is "a symbol of God's power or presence but is not a living entity."
Nearly six out of ten Christians either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that Satan "is not a living being but is a symbol of evil," the survey found.That's unbelievable! Despite the revelation of Scripture, 50% of those who profess to be born again actually deny Satan's existence. And the scary thing about denying Satan, is that if you deny that he exists, you let your guard down--you let him bring in deception. The place to corrupt the Church is at the point of entry... to poison evangelistic message that brings people into the Kingdom of God.
That's what has happened. We haven't been vigilant. We have allowed Satan to contaminate the biblical method of evangelism. We have allowed certain “ministers of righteousness” within the Church to move away from Scripture. They refuse to use the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to bring the knowledge of sin (as Jesus did), and show sin to “be exceedingly sinful.” This is despite the fact that even the Apostle Paul said that he didn't know what sin was without the Law.
They say that they have found a shortcut to bring people to salvation. They leave out the Law and instead take the prodigal back to the father, without showing him that his appetites are unclean.
Remember that in the story Jesus told, the prodigal "came to his senses" when he realized that he desired pig food. That's what made him want to go back to his father and say "I have sinned against heaven and in yours sight, make me your hired servant." In the name of sensitivity, modern preachers don't let that happen. They shortcut that process. So instead of the professed convert saying to the Father "I have sinned against Heaven. Make me your servant," he goes to God and says, "I have run out of money. Give me some more. You be my servant."
And that's what's wrong with the modern church. It is filled with unconverted people who have never seen that their sinful appetites are unclean. Modern preachers have left out the Law, and so we have multitudes in pulpits and in pews who don't see sin as exceedingly sinful. So they look on God as their servant. Instead of saying, "Make me your servant," they say "Give me more!" They have a form of godliness but deny the power, thereof.
Paul tells Timothy in his second letter what it will be like in the last days:
2 Tim 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This passage describes what it will be like in the world in the last days even among those who claim God but never came to the knowledge of the truth to be saved. It is logical then that this passage is talking about those who have some form of religion. It also says that it occurs in the last days so it is only common sense that the end time religious organizations of the world would contain these faithless people.
In the passage above what does it mean that they have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof”? I believe this verse is saying that these people claim that there is a God but they actually live their lives as if God does nothing supernatural on the earth and can do nothing outside of natural laws and the works of man. They keep the God of creation in some box in the heavens where He can accomplish nothing in His own creation. They claim to be people of faith but the only faith they display is in humanistic works. A second but equally important meaning is that they claim to believe in God but they deny the Son of God who by His power created all things in heaven and earth (Eph 3:19, Col 1:16).
This is the state of affairs today in most religion of the world. Islam claims to know God but they think that they have to conquer the world for Him and they deny His Son. Jews claim to know God but Israel makes decisions contrary to their own God-given scriptures and they still deny His Son. Eastern religious and new age religions claim to know of God or gods but they think that they will exist on earth until, by their own efforts, they become one with the higher powers of the universe. Most in religion today have a form of godliness but they live as if God does nothing supernatural. They live as if God can do nothing outside of the efforts of man. Their God is no God at all.
Christianity should be our main focus since we can not expect religions that deny that God has a Son whom created all things to know truths about God. This instruction to turn away from them was written to Christians. There are many who call themselves Christians that display by their faithlessness that they are really Christian atheists. These phony "Christians" display a form of Godliness but they deny His power. Paul tells us to not to follow them.
Obviously then, the limits they put on God must be very evident in outward expressions that display their faithlessness or a true believer could not turn away from such people. If we are in the last days (and we most certainly seem to be) and such people exist in the institutional churches as Paul clearly said they would ,then we should be able to identify them so we can obey his instructions to turn away from them. Who then within Christianity today can we identify as those having a form of godliness while denying God's power?
A few examples where confessing Christians display a form of Godliness but deny His power are given below - we are told not to follow these reprobates concerning the faith I am sure you can think of many more examples:
Those that are faithless to believe that God raised His Son Jesus physically from the dead
Those who are faithless to believe that the Son of God became a man within Mary without the help of any man
Those who do not believe that the Son of God was the atonement and propitiation for all of mankind's sins
Those who reject or add to the good news of salvation through God's grace by faith in God's only begotten Son
Those who do not believe that God's Son is fully God they make him a lessor god
Those who claim salvation comes through the good works of man
Those who think man will bring a paradise on the earth through his own efforts
Those who believe that the world was created by time and chance
Those who do not believe the supernatural events of the Old Testament
Those who do not believe the supernatural works of the New Testament
Those who do not believe God's prophets
Those who say that God created the universe but believe that God does not intervene in it
Those who deny that there will be a final judgment of evil by God
Those who do not believe in the power of prayer to God to change things
Those who are do not believe that the Bible is the word of God sufficiently preserved by God for our faith and practice
Those organizations that use deviant, predatory and misleading fund raising techniques displaying the faithlessness of their leadership
Those organizations that display more reliance on psychology and philosophies of men than faith in God and the power of prayer
Certainly, there are many more examples of those that live their lives like Christian atheists. The term applies because they make God nonexistent by denying that He has supernatural power on earth. One thing should be clear to all of us. Those who display a form of Godliness but deny His power should not be those we follow or hold in esteem even if they like to fondly call themselves "Christians".
Aleister Crowley (who died in 1947), is considered to be the father of modern Satanism. In his publication called, The Book of the Law, he sums up the essence of Satanism. It is: "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."
And that sums up the desires of many who profess to have faith in Jesus Christ. Their lack of concern for the lost shows that something is radically wrong. They have never given up their selfish will, and cried, "Not my will but Yours be done." They have never sought to serve God by doing His will by reaching out to the unsaved.
It has been said that only 2% of the contemporary church in American share their faith regularly with others. All they want is what they can get from God--health, wealth and prosperity. Listen to most modern preaching. It caters to nothing but selfishness. It's self seeking, self serving, and self-centered. The modern church has become the last days Laodicean church, who says that it's rich and in need of nothing, but it is in truth, poor, blind, wretched, miserable and naked.
How can this great multitude be awakened to this deception? Simply by helping them look into the mirror--by seeing themselves under the light of God's Law, and His Word. Every professing Christian should obey the admonition to "Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith." But many won't. They think they are saved because they call Jesus Lord, and do miracles in His name. They will wait until the Day of Judgment and cry "Lord, Lord, we did many wonderful works in your name," and Jesus will say to them, "Depart from Me. You worker of Lawlessness. I never knew you." They are still in their sins.
Martin Luther said, "The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin." Then he said, "This now is the Christian teaching and preaching, which God be praised, we know and possess, and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For Satan has attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it under foot." After the Apostle Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus, Jesus said to him,
"But rise, and stand upon your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness... To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... "Acts 26:16-18
If you know this same Jesus, you too have the same commission--"to open their eyes, and to turn [sinners] from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins..." The way to do that is to do it the way Paul did it. The way Jesus did it. Learn to follow the Bible to show why this sinful world that they need the Savior.
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