TITLE: THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
Subtitle: The Peril of Ignorance
I have always been fascinated by the Hans Christian Andersen tale about the "Emperor’s New Clothes" and the insights into human nature that it reveals. Some fast talking con men convinced the emperor that they could make him a new suit that would be fabulous beyond anything he had ever owned. The materials used would be so rare and costly that he would be the envy of the kingdom. The gist of the story is that they were so convincing in their description of the totally non-existent suit that he believed in its reality in spite of the fact that he could not see it! To show off his new finery, the emperor rode in a procession from his castle through the villages of his kingdom. His loyal subjects bowed when he came by and congratulated him on his new clothing, but the whole affair was exposed when a child exclaimed that the emperor was naked!
The situation described in this story for children is also descriptive of the great masses of men in the world today where "religion" is concerned. They clothe themselves in the garb of self-righteousness and are convinced that this makes them acceptable to God. But Romans 1:22 is similar to the child’s guileless honesty in proclaiming the emperor to be naked: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," it says. God’s holiness and righteousness set a standard for salvation that cannot be met by mere mortals and ignorance of this biblically-stated principle, or denial thereof, in no way changes the reality of it.
In Bible terminology there are two types of people: Jews and Gentiles. There are also two spiritual conditions: saved and lost. In other words, all of us are either Jews or Gentiles and we are either saved or lost. The Jew or Gentile classification is fixed by physical birth and will not change, but thankfully a lost person can be saved through a spiritual rebirth and spend eternity in the presence of God Himself. It is this specific doctrine of salvation that has been the source of countless arguments and misunderstandings among professing Christians—let alone those who hold to other beliefs. What I propose to outline in this article is somewhat unorthodox in that I want to show from the Bible the totally untenable position of the lost, or unregenerate person. It is not my primary intent to discuss salvation because one must come to a proper understanding of the awful spiritual condition of being lost before any remedy can be considered. Just as there are two kinds of people: Jews and Gentiles, and two spiritual classifications: saved and lost, there are two kinds of lost people: a few who know they are and the majority who are blissfully unaware. Could you be among them?
The Bible—the Word of God—has much to say about lost people, both directly and in principle. From a careful study of the Word, we find that being lost is as easy as "falling off a log"—all one has to do is do nothing! Each and every one of us was born into this world spiritually dead. We inherited the curse pronounced by God upon Adam when he ate of the forbidden fruit there in the Garden of Eden. The Bible tells us that Eve was deceived into eating (by Satan—the serpent), but Adam was not deceived and partook of the fruit willingly. And that willful act of disobedience plunged all of humanity—Adam, Eve and their offspring—into a state of perpetual spiritual isolation from a Holy God. Every human (with the one exception of Jesus Christ) from that day until this has come into the world spiritually dead and with a sinful nature. In the Book of Romans, the apostle Paul goes to great lengths to make God’s case against mankind where sin is concerned. Beginning in verse 18 of chapter one, he states the fact of man’s rebellion against God—noting in verse 20 that we are without excuse! Then in verse 21 and following, he lists the specifics of our sins and concludes with verse 32 in which he states that we are not only sinners—we enjoy being with those of like mind and practice. In chapter three Paul summarizes the universality of his doctrinal assertion. Verses 9-12 have this to say about mankind:
"Well then, are we [Jews] superior and better off than they? No, not at all. We have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), are under sin—held down by and subject to its power and control. As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. [Ps.14:3]. No one understands—no one intelligently discerns or comprehends; no one seeks out God. [Ps.14:2]. All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one!" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis and parenthetical insert mine).
Verse 23 sums up all of this by adding:
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (KJV).
Those who try to "clothe themselves" in the rags of self-righteousness completely fail to understand the serious nature of their standing before Almighty God. Because of His holy and righteous nature, He can not and will not tolerate any one in His presence who is less than perfect. Therefore, to get to heaven one must be just as holy and righteous as God Himself! From what we have just quoted from the Book of Romans, there is no way that mere mortal man can accomplish spiritual perfection because he is innately sinful. Let me ask you a couple of simple questions. How many lies does it take to make one a liar? Answer: only one. Have you ever told a lie? Careful now—or you will be guilty of another! Yes, all of us will have to admit (if we are going to be completely honest) that we are guilty of having told a lie. Since we have done so, that makes us liars for life! It makes no difference that we have "gone straight" and haven’t told a lie in years, the fact remains that we are liars based on prior guilt. Lying is a sin—a transgression of God’s moral law—and just that one sin (or any other sin) is an eternal blemish upon and destruction of the perfection demanded by God! Therefore, one sin is all that it takes to send a soul to hell and I think that we have firmly established the fact that every one of us has long since committed that sin. Truly, "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".
It is obvious that those who are trying to get to heaven through their own good works do not understand this vital point. The utter impossibility is lost upon them because of their ignorance of God’s Word. The fact of our sinful nature is why Paul speaks of all of us (prior to salvation) as being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) and "dead in your sins…" (Colossians 2:13). Can you imagine a spiritually dead man being able to do anything pleasing in God’s sight? Of course not! And those who insist upon trying are merely wasting their time. Not only are they spiritually dead, they are literally slaves of Satan and willingly following his plan and program. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:1-2 as he explains the former life of saved individuals:
"And you [He made alive], when you were dead [slain] by [your] trespasses and sins. In which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world—were under the sway of the tendency of this present age—following the prince of the power of the air. (You were obedient to him and were under his control,) the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience—the careless, the rebellious and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).
As if the case were not strong enough, we now learn from 1 Corinthians 2:14 that there is yet another "nail in the coffin"!
"But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense to him; and he is incapable of knowing them—of progressively recognizing, understanding and becoming better acquainted with them—because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).
Let’s pause for a moment and consider what we have learned thus far about the unsaved man—the lost man—the unregenerate man—the one alienated from God because of his sin. First and foremost this man is spiritually dead because he was born in that condition. Secondly, because of this spiritual deadness he cannot understand that which is spiritually discerned. The Word of God—the Bible—is absolutely meaningless to him. Verse 18(a) of 1 Corinthians, chapter one, adds this comment:
"For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition…" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
What are we to conclude from all of these Bible passages? Do we find any hope from them that one may of his own initiative find his way to heaven? Will "good works" be able to overcome the innate deadness of the spiritual side of man’s nature? Can man extricate himself from his dilemma through the force of his own will? The answer is a resounding NO! According to Romans 3:11 those who are lost do not even seek out God. They may give lip service to "religious" things, but in reality they love their sinful lifestyle and do not want to part with it. The point we are trying to make is that man in his unregenerate and lost state is as bad off as he can possibly be—spiritually speaking. He is spiritually dead and totally incapable of discerning spiritual things. He is a slave of Satan and loves every minute of it. Can you think of a possible scenario in which things could be worse?
Now that we have established the fact that this individual is spiritually at rock bottom, how is salvation even remotely possible for him? Remember these important facts as you ponder his fate: (1) He does not understand his lost condition because he cannot understand spiritual things. (2) He does not try to seek God because he is spiritually dead. And (3) He is a slave of Satan and will always follow his dictates (Ephesians 2:1-2).
HOW CAN HE BE SAVED? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer. I would love to hear from you.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.
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