The Mind Apart from God

Do you believe the word of God? Stop and be sure of your answer. Do you really think that what Scripture says about us and about our world is the truth? If you do, this changes things.

As a quick side note, what if you do not? What if you do not think the Bible is telling the truth about God and humanity? If the Bible is not telling us the truth, what is your source of truth? Where do you get your knowledge of God? Do you take the Bible, filter it through your own preferences and understanding, and somehow think you can come up with something more accurate? Is your mind stronger than the inspired word of the Almighty? Be very careful here.

In fact, my thoughts this morning are grabbed by what the Bible says about the minds of those who are turned against the Lord.

What does the Bible say about the choices, thoughts, and morality of those who do not know the Lord? You might be one who has cited Isaiah 64:6, the verse that says all our most righteous deeds are like filthy rags in the sight of God. But you probably only use that verse in an evangelistic context, and then only to try to convince a person that they are not as good as they think they are. But do you really let it and other verses like it impact what you think God sees in the world around us? Do you really let the Bible inform your anthropology, your belief about mankind?

Ok, here are the verses that got my attention.

Titus 1:15-16 – 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Christians, these verses must inform your thinking about the society in which you live. Before we look further, let me say that these verses do not in any way open the door for you to be cruel to anyone, to abuse anyone, or to treat anyone as anything other than a human being whose worth is found in the fact that they bear the image of God. Nor do these allow you to become personally arrogant, as if you somehow freed yourself from this condition. You were dead in your sins. If you have Christ, it is because God made you alive and gave you the gift of faith. So there is no room here for boasting in yourself or your mind.

With that said, these verses do not paint a happy picture of those who are turned against the Lord. IN verse 15, look at what we see. God says to us, “both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Do you get the significance of that? The minds of those who oppose God are defiled. Their thinking is wrong. In Ephesians 4, we see a similar claim that these are darkened in their understanding (Eph. 4:17-18). Before you allow yourself to be offended on behalf of the world here, remember that these folks are quite public in suggesting that those who believe in God or who follow the Bible are warped in their thinking. In truth, one set pretty much has to be correct here. Either the God-followers are nuts or the God-deniers are nuts.

Again, that verse also says that the ones who oppose God have defiled consciences. Our world speaks with great passion about what is right and wrong. There are assumptions being made that every human being should supposedly agree with. There is a claim of a right side of history that you want to be on. But the ones making this claim, according to the Bible, have defiled consciences. Their moral compass is broken. They do not have the ability, in the long run, to measure the morality of anything.

One might argue that this section is not talking about the lost in general, but particularly about a sect that Titus needed to deal with in Crete. Let me be fair here. Paul is writing about those who are part of a Jewish sect that was denying the grace of Jesus and attempting to force those who would follow Christ into obedience to Jewish law. But with that said, the descriptive words from Paul are words that apply to these men, not because they have a mistaken view of some basic doctrines, but because they do not know God or his Holy Son, our Savior. It is their lack of knowledge of God that has made this group into those that God says of them, “They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Why point this out? Why think about it? Christians, we need to understand the state of the minds of those who are not yet redeemed. We need to see that the unregenerate mind is different. We are not all just people who believe basically the same thing in most of life and have a small disagreement where religion is concerned. The Bible says that our minds are different. You either have a renewed mind with the Spirit and word of God to guide you, or your mind is still in the thrall of sin.

Christians, this text must make us pray for the lost. It must make us share the gospel. It must also make us fix our anthropology. Mankind is deeply broken by sin. Our sin has warped us so that we do not understand the difference between good and evil. Our rebellion against the Lord has cost us the ability to reason rightly when it comes to the standards of God. Mankind is incapable of even grasping how desperate is the human condition before the Lord. But our darkened minds do not excuse human sin, because the condition of mankind is a result of our spitting in the face of God, not the result of an innocent ignorance.

If you have a mind that trusts the Lord and follows his word, that is a gift given you by God. As you believe the word of God, you must also believe what the word of God says to us about the human condition. The lostness of the lost is a worse state than we ever realized. The only way for us to grasp the ways of God and true morality is for us to have our minds made new in Christ as we surrender ourselves to the teachings of holy Scripture. So, be humble, Be kind to those who oppose you. Love Jesus. And trust God’s word. Only in Scripture, not in the reasoning of the lost, can we find the true right side of morality.

My heart here is not to put anyone down. But I must surrender all my thoughts of what humanity is to the word of God. God knows us. God made us. God knows where I have been warped in my thinking. God knows where he had to supernaturally work to change my dead heart and mind. And he did not do this for me because of any goodness in me. He did this because of his own gracious purposes.

What if you read this as a non-believer and are insulted? I mean no offense. But we have only one set of options here. Either the Bible is true in its view of humanity or it is not. You are perhaps offended that I believe that those who deny the gospel of Jesus are wrong and that the morality proposed by those who do not know Jesus is invalid. Remember, you too have a set of beliefs. You think I am wrong for my view and that my source of morality is invalid. It is only logical that people with opposite views would actually believe themselves to be right and others incorrect. And if your thought is that you think I’m wrong for thinking others are wrong, well, are you not employing the same standard you are condemning?

Like millions before me, I believe that the Bible is the word of Almighty God. And I believe that all people must find the grace of God in Jesus Christ or face his judgment. I invite you, not to be insulted by my worldview—I’m not insulted by yours—but to cry out to Jesus for new life, forgiveness, and a renewed mind. God is gloriously gracious, saving all who call upon the Lord Jesus in truth.