April Fools

Most of us are probably familiar, perhaps too familiar, with the unofficial holiday of April Fools.  In fact, depending upon when this newsletter reaches your door, you may already be smarting from the events of April 1st.  (Of course, there are some of us who would do well to limit our foolish behavior to just one day out of the year!  You know who you are!!  And if you don’t know who you are, trust me, there are plenty of those around you who do know who you are!)  The coming of April 1st this year got me thinking on what the Bible says about ‘FOOLS.’  Jesus strongly warned us not to call our brother a ‘FOOL’ and so it is notable when Scripture allows for people to be labeled with such a derogatory designation (see Matt. 5:22).  For the next few moments, forget about practical jokesters and those you think might be a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and let’s look at what comprises a true ‘FOOL.’

First, FOOLS don’t believe that there is a God (Psalm 14:1).  The Earth is 93 million miles from the surface of the sun.  A few miles closer we’d be incinerated.  A few more miles away, we’d freeze.  We know that there are billions of galaxies in existence, each containing billions of stars.  A phenomenon called Red Shift clearly shows us that the universe is expanding.  If it is expanding, then it can’t be all that there is or ever has been—i.e. it’s expanding into something that is bigger than it is.  Yet, as complex as the universe is at large and our solar system is in particular, neither begins to approach the complexities involved in the cells and systems involved in the physical body of a single human being.  I could go on and on with facts and figures and science, but suffice to say, in the words of Scripture, ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’ (see Psalm 19:1-4 and Romans 2:18-23).  The stars are like celestial evangelists bellowing out in every language that there is a Creator.  Our society would like to tell us that a faith in God is antiquated, that it’s only for the feeble minded.  Usually, people telling us this are ones that don’t really know much about science, they’re just spewing some propaganda that they’ve heard touted by others.  Show me the credentials of any scientist living or dead who believes there is no God, and I’ll show you a scientist with just as many if not more credentials who does believe in the Creator.  If there’s a design, there’s a Designer, if there’s a creation, there’s a Creator.  To deny this is not smart, it’s FOOLish.

Second, FOOLS don’t believe that they will be held accountable to God.  Luke 12:16-21 tells the story of a certain rich man who had so much grain and goods that he couldn’t contain them.  Rather than praying to God about his ‘dilemma’, he begins ‘reasoning to himself.’  (I encourage you to read these verses and see how many times words like ‘self’, ‘I’, and ‘my’ come up in such a short period of time.)  The solution he comes up with is that he will build bigger barns to store the excesses of his possessions.  He goes to bed that night with his own self assuring his own soul that his own future will be bright.  Yet, before the man is able to see the light of day, the Lord comes to him and says, ‘You FOOL!  This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’  This FOOLish man did not consider God when he was making his decisions because he did not believe that he was accountable to God for those decisions.  Here’s a great lesson that we do well to learn, when we dismiss a belief in God and a belief in our ultimate accountability to Him, then we make ourselves out to be God, see ourselves as the ultimate Judge, and then everything becomes permissible and justifiable.  There is a payday someday.  Be not deceived, God is not mocked, what we sow, we shall reap (Galatians 6:7)  We shall all stand before God, without excuse, to give account to Him (Romans 1:20).  To deny these simple truths is FOOLish.

Third, FOOLS believe that there is something they can do to earn salvationLikely the first book written, chronologically speaking, in the New Testament is the Epistle to the Galatians.  The Apostle Paul had preached the gospel to them, that salvation is found by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Yet, after he had left the region, a group known as the Judaizers came behind him and told the people that, in addition to believing in Jesus, they had to keep the law in order to be saved—i.e.  a message of salvation by faith plus works.  Paul, who before coming to Christ had kept the Old Testament law better than anyone, realized that works will not make us worthy to stand before the God to whom we are accountable (Philippians 3:4-21).  He had a revelation of the truth that all of our righteousness (our good works) is like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6).  The very best that we can do, which may seem good to us and to our neighbors, is nowhere near righteous enough when compared to the standards of a Holy God.  Paul rebuked the Galatians for thinking that their works could add to their salvation.  Faith in a gospel that includes works in its foundation is faulty, feigned, and FOOLish!  (see Galatians 3:1-3)

So, if we don’t want to be April’s Fool, or in this case, Satan’s Fool, then we must know and believe that there is a God, that we will be held accountable to Him, and that the only way to stand up to this accountability, the only way to be saved, is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone!  There are certainly a lot of FOOLS out there who don’t believe these simple tenets of the Christian faith.  However, rather than ‘pity the FOOL’ (a quote from the ever loquacious Mr. T), I (Mr. B!) suggest that we ‘pray for the FOOL’ for such were all of us before coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus! (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)