How Do All Men (even atheists) Know Right From Wrong?

THE LAW OF GOD IS WRITTEN
ON
EVERY MAN’S HEART

I received a call one day from an organization known as Inner City Impact in Chicago. The man asked me if I would be interested in addressing their youth group at a weekend retreat. I said,

“I would love to address your youth group. What would you like me to teach on?”

The answer was, “Sexual purity.” I gulped, and asked what age group they were and the answer was, “High School.”

My heart sank as I hung up the phone. I remember thinking to myself, I would much rather be locked up in a maximum security prison and preach on the love of God, rather than face these young people, and try to convince them that purity is the best way to go.

Please don’t misunderstand. I believe with all my heart that this is one of the most critical issues of our day, and it needs to be addressed. My problem was, I had never preached on that particular subject to that particular age group before, and I don’t like to preach unless I have something compelling to say.

At the retreat, I had approximately 50 girls on my left, and 50 boys on my right. I asked the girls, “How would you like to know the three secrets that will make you the most eligible girl in your entire neighborhood for marriage?”

I was met with a resounding, “Yes!”

I said, “A real man, a good man, will be looking for three things in a wife: someone he can respect, someone who is special, and someone who is a challenge. Now watch and listen very carefully.”

I walked over to the boys and said, “Gentleman, if you had the opportunity to marry one of two women, both equally beautiful, both are equally talented, both are equally gifted, and both of them have dynamic personalities, in fact, they’re identical twins. The only difference between the two is, one of them has had multiple sexual partners, and the other one is a virgin. How many will take the virgin? Raise your hands.”

Without hesitation, all of them smiled and raised their hands. I said, “Gentleman, keep your hands right where they are!” I walked back over to the girls and said,

“Ladies, I don’t care what they’re telling you in the back seat of the car on Saturday night, take a good look at ’em now, because there’s the naked truth!”

I could see many of them turning their heads like curious puppies, obviously thinking to themselves, “Wow, there’s a revolutionary concept. I never thought of that before.” I went on to say, “For those of you who are still virgins, just remember that you can always become like the girls who are not, but they can never become like you. As for those who have lost their virginity, I have some good news for you. It’s never too late to start living right. The next best thing is `secondary virginity.’

You can decide today to remain celibate. If you have to wait one, two, five, or ten years for the right man to come along, and you tell him you have been waiting for him all that time, I guarantee you he will think you are someone he can respect, you are special, and you are a challenge.” They all applauded!1

ABSOLUTE TRUTH

Contrary to those who claim there is no such thing as absolute truth (which apparently is the only thing that is absolutely true), we live in a moral universe with an absolute standard of right and wrong.

Every man, from the beginning of time until the end of the world, whether or not he has ever read a Bible or even heard of Jesus Christ, knows in his heart it’s wrong to murder, it’s wrong to steal, it’s wrong to lie, and it’s wrong to have another man’s wife. He knows it “instinctively.” Whether he will admit it or not, that’s another story. Which brings me to…

THE ATHEIST AND HIS CONSCIENCE

The so-called “intellectual” and finally, an “honest atheist,” Aldus Huxley speaks for all atheists (whether they like it or not) in this priceless quote:

I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption . . . . The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem of pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system, and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freeom.2

ATHEISTS AREN’T BORN – THEY EVOLVE

A study was done a while back into all the famous atheists of history, Sartre, Kamoo, Nietzche, Freud, Marx, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, all the famous atheists of history, and every single one of them had something in common. They either lost their father when they were young, their father abandoned their family, or they had a terrible relationship with their father. That is very interesting because often these doubts aren’t really driven by intellectual questions, they are being driven by an emotional issue that really blocks them from wanting to relate to a heavenly father because they feel so abandoned, or cheated, or hurt by their earthly father.

There you have it. Most of the time the intellectual concerns people raise when they encounter the claims of Christ are only smoke screens (fig leaves) to cover the real issues which are moral. Men love darkness rather than the light, and do not want to relinquish authority of their lives to God.

When all is said and done, if a person rejects Christianity, ultimately, it is the will not the intellect that stands in the way. Otherwise, God would be unjust in punishing unbelievers. Jesus said,

If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself (Jn. 7:17). Also see Matt. 23:37.

According to Rom. 1:18-20, no one will stand before God with any excuse for ignoring or denying Him,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible atributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

In other words, all an honest person has to do is to take a good look at the sun, the moon, and the stars to know, that anything so complex, so perfectly designed and well balanced as is our world, and our universe, could in no way have made itself, and only “The fool says in his heart, there is no God (Ps. 14:1).”

This however, is only the general revelation that God exists. There is a huge difference between believing in God, and believing God! Intellectual ascent is not Biblical faith. There are many people who are intellectually convinced the Bible is true, yet continue to live as pagans!

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21-23).

THE POWER OF GOD

The Bible says, “. . . always {being} ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Pet. 3:15).”

I personally enjoy the art and the science of defending the Christian faith known as apologetics. The latest discoveries from science, for example, are wonderful for the edification and the building up of the saints. Certainly these intellectual arguments can and do play a part in helping those people who have legitimate questions and concerns about Christianity.

Furthermore, I do believe it would be wonderful if we were all well versed in Hebrew and Greek grammar, Bible interpretation, Bible prophecy, church history, comparative religion, archeology, philosophy, creation science, logic, and debate!

However, none of these academic disciplines (as wonderful as they are) has an ounce of power to convict a man of sin, which is after all the real issue. Sin is what Jesus came to save us from (Matt. 1:21).

SPIRITUAL TRUTH
TRANSCENDS THE HUMAN INTELLECT

The truth of God’s Word is not something the human intellect can analyze and synthesize apart from divine intervention by the Holy Spirit. Only He can open a man’s heart and mind to “see” the glory of the Gospel. The book of first Corinthians chapter two, is crystal clear on this,

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

So, if I want to communicate spiritual truth to a worldly wise man who is incapable of understanding spiritual truth, how do I reach him? Romans 2:15,

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law . . . they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.

There is the contact point between mortal man and the Eternal Creator! The moral law is written on every man’s heart.
All of the scientific, philosophical, and legal arguments combined, offered by the most able orator, do not have the power to convict a man of sin.

When it comes to communicating the Gospel, the simplest child armed with Scripture, is greater than the mightiest Ph.D. without it. In Jer. 23:29, and Heb. 4:12, the prophets and the apostles agree,

Is not My word like fire? declares the LORD, and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

In John 16:8, we learn that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to “convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.” The word convict in the original Greek literally means,

• To show or prove one of wrong
• To expose the hidden things
• To correct or chastise in a moral sense

So, rather than trying to prove Noah’s flood, or showing the inconsistencies of other religions, or anyone of a million other things, try explaining (gently and lovingly) that the law of God condemns unforgiveness as murder, and stealing and lying, even once, as a capitol offense.

Watch what happens when you tell a man that the seventh commandment condemns looking at women with lust or viewing pornography!

Have you ever had a dentist hit a nerve with a drill? I have seen many men break out in a cold sweat, others begin to shake, and still others literally break down in tears of repentance after seeing themselves in the mirror of God’s law.

Sharing in the 10 commandments is the most politically incorrect, in your face, none of your business; I cannot believe you are saying this to me, most personal, most embarrassing, and most loving thing you can say to another human being.

Better are the wounds of a friend, and the kisses of an enemy (Prov. 27:6).

Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Gal. 4:16).

Here is how Noah Webster defined the word “moral” in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English language,

“Moral 1. Relating to the practice, manners or conduct of man as social beings in relation to each other, and with reference to right and wrong. The word morale is applicable to actions that are good or evil, virtual as or vicious, and has reference to the law of God as the standard by which their character is to be determined.”

Anyone who takes the time to examine the underlying principles Jesus used in evangelism will be forced to the inescapable conclusion that He was appealing to the mind it through the heart and never the reverse.

CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A RELIGION
IT’S A REVELATION

In Luke 16:31, Jesus said that if the unsaved will not believe Moses, they would not believe even if someone they knew came back from the dead to warn them of the judgment to come!

How could they hear Moses? He had been dead for 1500 years! Obviously, Jesus was referring to the moral law written on the human heart!

The Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up all the time with intellectual mind games. They, however, were more interested in heat than in light. Their primary concern was not truth, but in protecting their love affair with the world.

Nothing has changed, people know that to acknowledge Jesus is to renounce the world, and that is too high a price for many, so they look for ways to justify their unbelief…

As the late Dr. Walter Martin used to say,

If they don’t want Jesus, be sure and leave ‘em with Moses.

In other words, if they don’t want salvation as a free gift of grace, be sure and tell them exactly how good they will have to be to save themselves. This way, you’ll be able to say along with the Apostle Paul,

I am innocent of the blood of all men (Acts 20:26).

Since the Lord, in His mercy, has allowed me to understand how to, “Use the law lawfully” (1 Tim. 1:8), my “evangelical batting average” has gone through the roof! I have had the incredible privilege of leading many people to the Lord in tears of repentance!

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.

–Dan. 12:3-4

 

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