…They are the enemy of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame?—?who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18–20—NKJV)

You have probably observed that stupidity in this world seems to be boundless while true wisdom is in chronic short supply. A saying concerning this phenomenon has been attributed to Albert Einstein, though it probably was said by that all-witty one “Anonymous.” It goes something like this: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has limits.” Sadly, evil never seems to be limited. There is always one more fool to be misled, one more dupe to be fleeced, one more dream that sounds too good but cannot be true, and always one more unscrupulous carpetbagger just around the corner. Mankind is a flighty and fickle lot.

I believe the reason for the scourge of mankind’s ignorance goes right back to the Garden of Eden. Before sin entered the scene, goodness was unlimited. Everything God made was “good,” and when He finished making man He declared His creation “very good!” This fact has profound implications for anyone who would claim to be a critical thinker. God made man—having a Creator defines every man as created in the image of God. This gives man purpose—when he fills that purpose it is very good (creation was not declared “very good” until man was created). Goodness was unlimited and the goodness of God fully appeared, everywhere, unclouded by sin.

Critical thinking also is informed by what happened to creation when sin entered it. All of a sudden, goodness appears to be severely limited and evil gains the upper hand in murder, pride, and continual evil. Before you know it, evil has so vanquished good that only one man and his family have not succumbed to its tyranny. God then steps in imposing limits. His actions often go unnoticed by the ungodly. When God is noticed, they completely misinterpret Him as unreasonable and a spoilsport, staying true to their ungodly mind. God has not changed; He is good, but man’s ability to discern His goodness has changed. Everywhere goodness appears to have limits and cupidity and stupidity prevail.

Except in Christ! Only in Christ is all goodness known. When you come to Christ through faith, trusting Him for the salvation of your soul, you find that unlimited goodness is restored. This unlimited goodness is the beauty of eternity! God is all goodness, and to dwell in His presence where evil is vanquished will be glory indeed!

Outside of Christ, as our text states, man is an enemy of the cross; he sees God’s mercy and grace as an object of revulsion, while he sees the quest to satisfy his own thirsts as the highest good. Failing that object, he will settle for “the greater good,” though he will find that a pyrrhic victory of dubious real satisfaction when he finally gives account to the Holy God of Heaven. Someone recently observed that our American society, which once was steeped in the disciplines of critical thinking informed by creation’s God, has been shorn of authentic allegiance and dependence upon Him to such a degree that all that is left is a society running on the fumes left over from a once dynamic and influential Christianity. There is a certain sensibility that “there may be right and wrong, but who really can say for sure?” Critical thinking informs that there is definitive right and wrong.

Our text gives four explanations why biblically based critical thinking has been so quickly replaced by illogic, apathy, distraction, and dense ignorance. For these four reasons, good—wherever it appears—tends to be shouted down and perversity tends to be elevated to “sainthood.”

  • Their Destination is destruction—it is the only pathway they know. They move like a screaming locomotive under a full head of steam on a downhill track; there is no avoiding the train wreck at the end and there are no sidings to get off (Matthew 10:28, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Hebrews 6:8).
  • Within, they are under allegiance to the Dictator of self. They are so enthralled with self-gratification that they bow to it, worship it, and serve the religion of self—their god is their belly (Romans 16:18, 2 Peter 3:18–20, 2 Timothy 3:4).
  • They are Deluded in judgment so that they glory in that which, to a biblically critical thinker, is shame. In the Old Testament, God and Glory are substituted just as idolatry and shame are often substituted (Hosea 9:10). They brag and boast of shameful deeds to quiet the conscience and muzzle the righteous (2 Peter 2:19, Romans 1:32, 6:21).
  • They are Deficient in thinking because they are earth-bound and are powerless and helpless to rise above their blindness without the Holy Spirit’s agency (Isaiah 56:11–12, Romans 8:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14).

Do not lose heart, fellow saint—that same Spirit of God is, believe it or not, actively restraining evil through the lives of His church saints (2 Thessalonians 2:7) until the church is raptured away. Read Psalm 27:13–14 and keep your eyes peeled to see His goodness. Trust and obey.