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How to Uncover Basic Flaws and Hidden Lies in Attacks against the Christian Faith

16. The myth of neutrality and the nature of the conflict

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Surely it’s not so hard to have believers agree with the sentiment that they can’t serve God and money; after all the Bible states that quite clearly. However, it might not be as easy to get believers to agree on the impossibility of serving God and Socrates, or God and Darwin, Aristotle, B.F Skinner, pop culture, tradition, emotions, reason, etc. … the list could go on. So does this verse apply to anything Christians serve mentally and intellectually?

Christ said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). The Greatest commandment Christ has given us is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Most Christian apologists seem to skip over the “mind” part. We are spiritually and emotionally devoted to Christ, but when it comes to our mind we go to the world thinkers and philosophers. We have many examples of Christian apologists trying to prove the truth of Christ based on Aristotle, for example (as in case of Thomas Aquinas or William Lane Craig), and we can even find apologists trying to prove Christ from the Quran and other unbiblical belief systems. Christ on the other hand has instructed us in the way believers should think, and the demands on unbelievers to be saved - namely “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Yet we turn around and ignore what Christ has said.

One has to wonder why believers go to those “bad trees.” We know they are not going to bear any good fruit (Luke 6:44). Christ asked rhetorically “46 Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)

If we are not going to do what Christ tells us, we might as well not bother calling him Lord. If we don’t do what He’s told us, we are just like the hypocrites of old about whom God said “this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-8).

We mustn’t fall into the same mistake Eve fell into, the first sin to question God’s truthfulness. You recall the first temptation Satan put before Adam and Eve was to challenge God as the ultimate authority: “Has God said?” (Genesis 3:1). Our parents decided to put God to the test and find out for themselves; they wanted to be the ultimate judge of the truth. What they should have done was exactly what the second Adam did when He was tempted: “Be gone, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10), but they did not. From the moment man chose to be autonomous, to trust in himself rather than God, sin entered the world. Then God put enmity between the seed of the woman - Christ and in him the redeemed - and the seeds of Satan - the unredeemed (Genesis 3:15). This sovereignly, judicially inflicted curse is clear throughout the scriptures. We see this antithesis between God’s people and unbelieving culture, between saved and unsaved. Throughout the Bible, Satan tempts God’s people to compromise - whether by ungodly marriage (Genesis 6:2), showing tolerance toward the enemy/enemies of God (Judges 1:21, 27-36, Psalm 106:34-35), ignoring the authority of God’s word and becoming autonomous (Judges 21:25), committing idolatry (Psalms 106:36, 39, Hosea 2:2-13, 4:12, Ezekiel 16:15-25), trusting in something or someone other than God ( 1 Kings 18:21, 2 Chronicles 16:7-9, Isaiah 31:1), not receiving the Messiah (John 1:11), or bowing the knee to Caesar and to God at the same time (Acts 17:7, Revelation 13:8, 11-17). Satan even tempted the Son of God to achieve God’s end in an ungodly way - giving the nations as an inheritance to the Messiah (Psalms 2:8) - and using a shortcut by compromising the enmity between the seed of the woman “The Messiah” and Satan by kneeling to Satan himself. So if we are really aware of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11), we should recognize the compromise we are asked to make.

This same antithesis is continued in Genesis 4 when Cain murdered his brother Abel. The apostle John clearly tells us why Cain killed his brother and warns us not to be like him: “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous” (1 John 3:12). Then we continue through the Old Testament with Noah and his family set apart from the rest of mankind (Genesis 5-9) and the sons of Shem set apart from his brothers (Genesis 10). Later we see Abraham and his seed set apart from all nations, Isaac’s seed chosen over Ishmael, the line of Jacob over the line of Esau, the Israelites set apart from the Gentiles as holy people who should keep themselves clean.

And the antithesis between believers and unbelievers, God’s way and the way of the world, continues through the New Testament. Christ stresses it when He says “[w]hoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30), because “[n]o one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). And when Christ explains the parable of the tares, he identifies the tares as the sons of the evil one, sown by the devil (Matthew 13 38-39). Paul reiterates this notion in 2 Corinthians after he commands believers to not be bound together with unbelievers, saying “come out from their midst and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

This antithesis will be finally set for eternity at the second coming of Christ when He separates the sheep from the goats. The two groups are mutually exclusive; they have been from the very beginning and will be for all eternity; believers and unbelievers are not to be unequally yoked, because there is no partnership between light and darkness, righteousness and wickedness (2 Corinthians 6:14); in short, there is nothing in common between the two, whether spiritual or intellectual (2 Corinthians 6:15). Thus Paul advises us in order to “be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16) we have to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17) including the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). There is no such thing as a part-time believer; it’s one or the other. These verses make this abundantly clear.

Matthew 12:30 -- "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Psalm 96:5 -- “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Exodus 8:23 -- “I will make a distinction between my people and your people …
Malachi 3:18 -- “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
James 4:4 -- “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
John 14:6 -- “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Ephesians 4:17-18 -- “17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 -- “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Luke 11:23 -- “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
Matthew 6:24 -- “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
1 Kings 18:21 -- “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ ”

These verses (and there are more!) all make the same point: as believers, we can’t put God aside even for one minute and serve other masters, no matter what form these masters take.

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