When Will Ye Be Wise?

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ONE does not like to be thought a fool.
We all prefer to be credited with wisdom. Many people are thought to be fools by the wise after the flesh, who prove to be truly wise after all, having believed in Christ, the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:2424But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24)). Many who pass as wise here live to prove their folly, often passing from this scene without having true wisdom, waking up to their folly in hell.
There are several classes of persons referred to in the Scriptures, of whom God speaks as fools. I desire to point out three, trusting that any who read these lines, should they be found amongst them (and God knoweth your heart), may wake up to their folly and learn the wisdom of God, which is alone found in Christ, ere it be too late.
The first class are these who say in their heart, "No God." In Psa. 14:11<<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 14:1) and 53:1 we find repeated, " The fool hath said in his heart (there is) no God." You may remark that the words, "there is" are in italics. The meaning is not that the fool saith there is no God, but though he may believe and know that there is a God, yet would shut Him out. He hath said in his heart, No God. How many thousands pass through this scene without God. (Eph. 2:1212That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Ephesians 2:12)). Is He in all their thoughts? Nay, the very thought of God, as revealed in the Scriptures, is distasteful. Men like to follow their own will, and show their independence. Like the prodigal son, who wanted to enjoy his portion without parental restraint, they would enjoy their worldliness and pleasure without God. To bring Him in would mar all. And so thousands and tens of thousands, even in this land of profession, say in their heart (may be they are not daring enough to utter it with the lip), No God.
But what saith the Scripture of such an one, "Fool." The sentence is solemn, short, to the point, and admits of no paring down. Some will think it harsh. But there it is, twice repeated, “The fool hath said in his heart, no God. Why, reader, does it convict you? God knoweth your heart (Luke 16:1515And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15)).
The second class are those who mock at sin.
Said the wisest of men, “Fools make a mock at sin" (Prov. 14:99Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9)). And yet, to see the world's course, one would think that God had never caused such a verse to be written. Do you want to learn what sin is in the sight of God, look back to Calvary, where Christ, the Holy One, was made sin for us, who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)). Those three hours of darkness, the hiding of God's face, the agony of that bitter cry wrung from the lips of Jesus, the Son of the Blessed, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me," witness to us the awful nature of sin. Oh! sinner, is sin an every-day commonplace thing with you? Do you live in it month by month, and year by year, as though it were a matter of no moment? Do you roll it as a sweet morsel upon the tongue? Do you mock at sin as though it were of the most trifling importance? Remember, God has said, "Fools make a mock at sin.” And be ye sure of this, your sin will find you out.
What greater mockery than the formal religious profession all around us at the present moment! Masses living for self and the world from Monday morning till Saturday night, and coming before God as Christian professors with the form of godliness on the Lord's Day (2 Tim. 3:55Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:5)), sin and the precious blood of Christ treated as things of naught. “Ye hypocrites!” said Jesus to the Scribes and Pharisees, and may it not, my reader, be uttered with equal truth to thousands now, “Well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:7-97Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7‑9)).
Arouse thee, sinner, to a sense of thy danger and thy need; an awful precipice lies right before thee. Trifle no longer with sin. If death, its wages, were to overtake thee, thy portion would be the lake of fire forever (Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23); Rev. 20:1515And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)). To mock at sin, as though it were of no moment, is to prove thyself a fool. Whether you would in your heart shut out God, or hug sin that shuts out from God, the Word of God spares thee not, but calls thee, "Fool." Ye fools, when will ye be wise? (Psa. 94:88Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? (Psalm 94:8)).
A professed infidel once said to a Christian, “I don't believe in sin, can you tell me what it is?
“Did you ever tell a lie?" replied the other.
Here was a difficulty. To own to a lie was to own to be a liar. To deny that he had ever told a lie, was to prove himself a liar then and there. After much hesitation, he was compelled to own that he had more than once departed from the strict truth.
“That's sin," said the Christian. The infidel was silenced. Ah! fools make a mock at sin.
The third class are the covetous. The Lord Jesus Christ called the covetous man a fool. “Take heed," said He, "and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, and he thought within himself saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool! this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:15-2115And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:15‑21)).
It was God who made the ground of the rich man produce plentifully. But, wrapped up in himself, the claims of God upon him were entirely forgotten. It was I, I, my, my, from beginning to end. He thought within, himself, and his thoughts were entirely opposed to God's, as the natural man's thoughts always are. In thinking within himself, he thought of himself, and himself only. So accustomed to count everything he possessed as his own, we read of him saying, I will say to my soul (as though that were, too), Soul, thou halt much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Ah! but God has something to say as well. And where are the many years' ease and pleasure and merriment then? The many years dwindle down to a few short moments. For God said unto him, " Thou fool, this night (my reader, are you living for self, ponder it) thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be " Ah! death knocks at the door. No more ease then. Merriment ceases. Barns, fruits, and goods all left behind. And after death the judgment (Heb. 9:2727And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)), and after judgment the lake of fire. No ease then, no merriment, no barns bursting with plenty there. But the worm that never dies, the fire that never shall be quenched; no respite to utter, hopeless woe. Men will own their folly then, when it is too late to learn wisdom.
Again we read in Jer. 17:1111As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11), that, “He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool." Many a cheat in the mercantile world passes as a sharp, shrewd man of business, in the eyes of men dishonest as himself. But death will knock at his door, too. And he who has amassed wealth by fraud, shall leave it all behind; and having failed to possess himself of the only wealth that is lasting, the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephes. 3:88Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (Ephesians 3:8)) prove the truth of the Word of God, “At his end shall be a fool." Ye fools, when will ye be wise?
We have seen the folly of him who says, "No God;" of him who "mocks at sin," and the covetous. Now a brief word as to how those whom God calls fools (for I am only pressing upon your conscience what God says) may become truly wise.
There is only one way, through Christ (John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)). Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:2424But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24)). The Scriptures reveal Christ, and are able to make wise unto salvation all who believe on Him (2 Tim. 3:1515And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)). Many a foolish sinner, thank God, has been awakened to his folly. Are you still one? May you be the same. Jesus, the Son of God, came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:2626For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)). Believe on Him, as a poor guilty sinner, and you who are now afar off, shall be made nigh to God by His precious, precious blood (Eph. 2:1313But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)). Then shall all the unsearchable riches of Christ be yours. And instead of saying in the heart, No God, communion with Him will be your greatest joy. Instead of mocking at sin, it will become your abhorrence, as that which brought your Saviour to the cross. Instead of the heart being set in covetousness on things here, Christ will be your satisfying portion, and you will be using this world as not abusing it, until He comes. Now is the day of salvation. Now is God's time for sinners to be wise.
“Ye fools, when will ye be wise?”
E. H. C.