a puritan's blog

O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs…

The context of the Gospel

The spiritual blindness of this world is a willful blindness. Anthropologists have never discovered a culture no matter how remote who do not have a concept of God. Even in the most primitive tribes they realize they have sinned. When approached by a Christian the most seasoned of these tribesmen readily admit their sin. They all have a sense that sin must be paid for. They share both a fear of punishment and a fear of death. They share a common sense that sin must be atoned for and they seek ways to appease the anger of their gods.

People in western culture are different in one respect. They have been exposed to the truth repeatedly. Truth makes you extremely guilty, more so because you are exposed to the cure for the sin problem. You have heard that there is a Savior who came to die and pay the sin debt. A person who rejects Christ and goes to hell from America, for example with face a harsher judgment than the man who has never heard.

When we think today of the term “Paganism” we most often think of a crude paganism in which unblushingly man worships an idol or idols. But what we fail to realize is there is also a cultured paganism in which man worships his own godless imagination. There is little difference between those who grovel at the foot of an idol and those who grovel at the foot on an ideal. When Paul wrote the book of Romans he was probably in Corinth and it was a common occurrence to see all manner of paganism and all manner of sins being carried out before his eyes.

The “heathen” are not limited to those who bow down to wood and stone. All who have no knowledge of the Lord Jesus are in a sense, heathen. Many people in enlightened western lands who have only a vague knowledge of the things of God and who leave Him out of their lives are in effect practicing heathen. We even have these practical heathen on the rolls of churches.

Michael A. Smith

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