Berean Lamp Devotional 48 - Willingly Deluded - Part 3
“You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you” (Isaiah 47:10a).
While in college, I met a lot of “good” people and everyone I met told me that people “are generally good.” Why is it then, I wondered, that “good” people do such bad things? The Fall in the Garden opened man’s mind up to evil influences and ever since, “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21a). Mankind hasn’t changed in all the millennia. Evil is always boiling in the heart of man, regardless of the “good face” put on the outside, but the restraining power of the Holy Spirit prevents this evil from boiling over into the world all at once, until He is removed and the Tribulation begins (2 Thessalonians 2:7). You see, the Light of Christ is in the world and it shines into the darkness, convicting the world of its sin, by showing it for what it is (John 16:8). Yet, there is still darkness here, and the evil in men’s hearts boils out into it. Jesus will put an end to this when He returns to rule the earth in His Light.
Today, however, this evil “boils over” into the physical world whenever an opportunity to “get away with it” presents itself. Society can restrict the opportunities for evil acts with justice and laws so that the specific sins may be more difficult to execute, but given the right conditions, mankind won’t be able to help themselves. A simple example is that of a thief who breaks in and steals people's livelihoods at night. Darkness affords him the protection (the cover) he feels he needs so that his crime will not be seen and he will not be caught. He hides the evidence of his crime and then returns to put on his “normal” and “good” life during the day, so that no one will suspect the evil deeds he has committed under the covering of night. But what if he has no opportunity? Suppose, for example, every home in the town has a guard-dog. This might deter him from stealing for many years, but then when one of the dogs dies, he seizes the opportunity and breaks in and steals, “for out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19). You see, the intent of his heart all those years was to steal, but he did not find an opportunity to do so without getting caught, so he was a “good” man to his family, community, and church, but when the right delusion came along, he showed his true heart: “the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45b). This is why you often hear it said, after someone commits a crime, “I can’t believe he did it! He was such a good neighbor!” Without the Holy Spirit, mankind’s “goodness” is only skin deep. Jesus warned them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts” (Luke 16:15a).
Mankind is always seeking (or at least waiting) for a justification to come along for them to feed their flesh. Any excuse will do. These excuses are delusions. Throughout history we see examples of “good” people using excuses to justify their “evil” actions. From the Nazi soldiers who “just followed orders,” to the Muslim who kills in “God’s” name, to the “Christian” who walks into sin under a false teacher. All of these pour out the lusts stewing in their hearts when they feel the right excuse, the right darkness, comes along for them to be “justified” beneath it. These excuses are the delusions God allows man to fall under to reveal the sin in their hearts (intent is sin— Matthew 5:28) so they are without excuse. Amen.