“Which ‘god’ are you talking about: Thor, Zeus, etc.?”

The inference in this question is, “These were mythical gods, and so is yours.” Atheists are correct about these gods being myths. Man gravitates toward idolatry (making up false gods) as a moth does to a flame. There are millions of false gods—Hinduism alone has 330 million—but there is only one Creator. That is the God who revealed Himself to Moses and gave us His moral Law. And that is the God you and I will have to face on Judgment Day.

Another argument atheists use is that they cannot prove that God doesn’t exist, just as you and I cannot prove that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. This is a demeaning way of equating belief in God with belief in the tooth fairy. It is true that we cannot disprove the existence of either the tooth fairy or God. However, belief in the existence of the tooth fairy is inconsequential. Belief in and therefore obedience to the one true God has eternal consequences.

Joshua 23:7and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyoneto swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them

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Seek counsel and heed it.

Wisdom is so often forged in the sufferings of experience. Youth forget that the aged were once young and impetuous, and formed much of their life’s philosophies from their mistakes. A wise man said that parents should never worry if teenagers don’t seem to listen to their advice because, in time, those teenagers will become parents and then will give the same advice to their kids. Seek counsel from the experienced—and heed it. Yet, as vv. 13–15 show, despite the unwise counsel the king received, God was working to fulfill His purposes.

2 Chronicles 10:8But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.

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“Lust” is at the forefront of sin.

If you could sum up in one word what is keeping most of this world from coming to Christ, what would that word be? Perhaps you would say “unbelief,” or “rebellion” or “sin.” True, but I believe “lust” is at the forefront of sin. The Bible says that the corruption we see in the world has its roots in lust (see 1 Pet. 1:14). It is the shining light for Hollywood, soap operas, the Internet, magazine covers, TV programs, car advertising, clothing, popular music, and much of contemporary culture. In 2 Pet. 3:3 we are told that men mock God because they love their lust. So, what would make any sane man turn from lust’s powerful pleasure? Two things: One is that we can never separate lust from death. If we embrace lust, we embrace death, because lust brings forth sin and sin produces death (see James 1:15). A realization of that eternal truth should cause common sense to kick in. No sane man wants to embrace death and, on top of that end up in hell.

The second reason a man turns from the pleasures of lust is knowing what it cost the Savior for our forgiveness. If my father sold everything he had to raise money to pay a fine for me to avoid prison, what sort of wretch would I be to go straight back into crime, because I enjoyed it? The prodigal son made a sensible choice: he “came to himself” (Luke 15:17). That is the point to which we are trying to bring the lost. We want them to exercise common sense (now there is an oxymoron). We are saying, “Come to your senses and call on the name of the Lord. He will not only change your unclean desires, but He will also save you from death and hell.” When the power of the gospel changes a sinful, lust-loving heart, no amount of atheistic arguments or evolutionary silliness comes close to making a Christian even slightly doubt the reality of God.

Ezekiel 23:16As soon as her eyes saw them,

She lusted for them

And sent messengers to them in Chaldea.

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Hate is murder.

“I used to say: ‘What is the use of taking up a Law like this in an audience where, probably, there isn’t a man who ever thought of, or ever will commit, murder?’ But as one gets on in years, he sees many a murder that is not outright killing. I need not kill a person to be a murderer. If I get so angry that I wish a man dead, I am a murderer in God’s sight. God looks at the heart and says he that hates his brother is a murderer.” D. L. Moody

1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

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“What about those who have never heard?”

The inference is that those who have never heard the gospel are basically good people who do not deserve to go to hell. So, tell the questioner that they will be fine—if they are good people. However, in God’s eyes “good” is moral perfection in thought, word, and deed. So if they have broken even one Law—lied, stolen, murdered (hated), or committed adultery (lusted)—they will get what they deserve. (See Rom. 1—3.) God will do what is right and just, and will punish wrongdoing no matter where it is found. That is why we send missionaries to these people—so they can be saved from their sins through faith in Jesus.

Second, the person is really questioning God’s character. If some people were never given a chance to hear and be saved, then God must be unable to reach them and uncaring in letting them go to hell. But Scripture tells us that God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and that He has given light to every man. We have the light of creation, telling us there is a Creator, and the light of conscience, telling us there is a moral Law (and therefore a Lawgiver). All who respond to the light they are given will be given more. Everyone who seeks God in truth will find Him—they will be given the light of the gospel.

Because God is omnipotent and omnipresent, no one is beyond His reach: “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26,27, emphasis added).

We see examples in Scripture of people in faraway lands seeking the true God, such as the three wise men in Persia (Matt. 2), and the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10). Cornelius was sincere but wasn’t worshiping God in truth, so God gave him a vision and sent him someone who “will tell you what you must do.” This is why God sent Philip to speak with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–29).

We have countless examples today where people, like Cornelius, are given visions and dreams about Jesus. There are thousands of Muslims coming to Christ every year after Jesus has supernaturally revealed Himself to them. Others who realize the religion in which they were raised is just not true may have a dream telling them to go to the marketplace at noon, where a missionary passes by to hand them a Bible. Even in countries hostile to the gospel, God knows those whose hearts are seeking Him, and He will find a way to get the gospel to them.

So once you have assured the person that God is not willing that any should perish—no matter where they live—then say, “Now, let’s get back to you…”

Romans 2:12For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law

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Does God hate?

By Stuart Scott

Men love to hear about the lovingkindness of God, but rarely acknowledge His abhorrence (hatred) of evildoers. Although it is only natural to want to hear the pleasant and avoid the offensive, Scripture does not give us that option. Being made to realize our guilt is very uncomfortable, but is necessary for repentance and the ultimate comfort of salvation.

The truth is that while God is love, He is also just and holy. Love and holiness, by their nature, are the opposites of evil. It makes sense then that by His nature, God hates evil. Since evil is what men do, and you cannot separate evil from the doer, we must conclude that God hates all those who do evil. As the following Scriptures bear out, God, in the strongest terms, “is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11).

God hates the following:

  • All workers of iniquity: Psa. 5:5
  • The wicked and the violent: Psa. 11:5
  • A proud look: Prov. 6:17
  • A lying tongue: Prov. 6:17
  • Hands that shed innocent blood (abortion?): Prov. 6:17
  • Hearts that devise wicked plans: Prov. 6:18
  • Feet that run to evil: Prov. 6:18
  • A false witness who lies: Prov. 6:19
  • Those who sow discord among brethren: Prov. 6:19
  • Pride and arrogance: Prov. 8:13
  • The evil way: Prov. 8:13
  • A perverse mouth: Prov. 8:13
  • Those who commit idolatry by worshiping and serving other gods: Jer. 44:3,4
  • His own people the Israelites (spoken of as His own sons and daughters) because of their evil deeds: Hos. 9:15
  • Those who think evil in their heart: Zech. 8:17
  • Those who make false promises: Zech. 8:17
  • Divorce: Mal. 2:16
  • The deeds and doctrines of the Nicolaitans: Rev. 2:6,15

God abhors those who do these things:

  • Sacrifice their children to idols: Lev. 20:2 (also Deut. 12:31)
  • Stand by and turn a blind eye to evildoers: Lev. 20:4,5
  • Turn to mediums and familiar spirits: Lev. 20:6
  • Curse their father or mother: Lev. 20:9
  • Commit sexual sins (adultery, incest, homosexuality, bestiality): Lev. 20:10–21

God instructs us to hate the evil and cling to the good:

  • The fear of the Lord is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13).
  • Hate the evil, and love the good (Amos 5:15).
  • Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good (Rom. 12:9).
  • God anointed Jesus because He hated loved righteousness and hated lawlessness (Heb. 1:9).

Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;

You hate all workers of iniquity.

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An idolatrous perception of God.

When truth is not preached, mercy isn’t understood, and the world therefore lacks the knowledge of God’s character. The result is an idolatrous perception of God, which leads to lawlessness (transgression of the Moral Law). Notice that Israel’s sins were violations of the Ten Commandments (v. 2), such as lying, killing, stealing, and committing adultery. Their lawlessness resulted in judgment upon the land—droughts, etc.

“The Law, the Ten Commandments, is a reflection of the character and nature of God. Through the Law, we understand God, and what He expects of us. Through the Law, we see ourselves in truth. So to neglect the critical importance of the Law is to leave ourselves in ignorance of the nature of God and of ourselves.”  Matthew Johnson

Hosea 4:1Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lordbrings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.

2By swearing and lying,

Killing and stealing and committing adultery,

They break all restraint,

With bloodshed upon bloodshed.

3Therefore the land will mourn;

And everyone who dwells there will waste away

With the beasts of the field

And the birds of the air;

Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.

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