(Rom 8:1, 2) Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
This lesson is going to focus on a certain aspect of these two verses, the deceitfulness of knowledge. A little background is in order, first. In this chapter Paul addresses the issue of whether it is okay to eat meats or other foods sold by pagan temples, which had been sacrificed to idols. He explains that, while it is technically acceptable to eat the meat, since we know idols are really nothing, sometimes we should choose not to do so because a fellow believer may not be comfortable with it, not being free. This lesson still applies in many ways, today. For example, I might be free to drink an alcoholic beverage whereas my brother in Christ may not due to alcoholism or conscience sake. There are many other possible ways this can apply. So, if I am walking in love, I will choose not to drink around my brother or even talk about drinking for his sake. I may even choose not to drink at all, lest it cause him to stumble into what is, for him, sin. Thus I may have the knowledge that a beer is not spiritually harmful, but if I walk in that knowledge without regard for others, then I show I do not really know anything at all. Love is at the core of Christianity, not our freedom to do things.
But there is a greater application with the warning about knowledge. We live in an age where knowledge is on the increase. They say that knowledge doubles about every five years. Scripture says that in the last days knowledge would increase in the earth, but it also says that mankind is ever learning but never comes to the knowledge of the Truth. This holds true even in church circles. Go to any Christian bookstore, or look online for Christian books, and you will find hundreds and even thousands of books expounding on nearly any topic imaginable. Some books have spiritual value, while others are works of human wisdom and fleshly reasoning.
Many substitute knowledge about the Bible, and knowledge about God and Christ, for getting to know Him. Jesus said that many will say to Him on judgment day, “Didn’t we do all these things in Your Name?” to whom He will reply, “Depart from Me, you who work iniquity, for I never knew you.” These are the saddest words in the Bible. They had the knowledge of God, knew His Word, but did not know Him. Jesus also told the Jewish religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures, because you think in them you have life. Yet you will not come to Me that you may find life.” In Revelation 2:1-6 Jesus addressed a church that, while having the right doctrine, were lacking in love for God. They had the rules and the laws, but that was not enough. They had left their first love, Christ. They knew about Him, but they did not really know Him.
Life is found in the Person of Christ, not in memorizing His Word. Love is not when you can shove Scripture down the throat of another. If, say, someone is struggling with sexual temptation, they do not need you to quote all the verses you can remember which says it is sin. They need the life of God. They need to be told that God can give them victory if they but go to Him, if they persevere, if every time they are tempted they ask Him to help them in the weaknesses. If temptation comes a hundred times a day, we go to God a hundred and ten. The life is found in Him, the power is found in Him, not in our willpower, and not in the letter of the Word. The letter kills, but the Spirit of God gives life.
Then there is the worldly knowledge, which has infiltrated the church. All too many of us no longer really believe parts of the Bible, because man’s wisdom and ability is so much “wiser.” Worldly scientists imagine scenarios for the origin of life, and get so creative in their theoretical storytelling that those who profess faith in God’s Word decide to listen to them instead of to God. Scientists declare that umpteen million years ago our ancestors were amoebae, and so we find a way to interpret the Bible based on their unproven hypothesis. The evolutionary theory I was taught in school 25 year ago bears little resemblance to that which most scientists believe today. Why? Not because they are learning more about how it happened, but because true scientific research keeps proving them wrong. They start with the premise that God is not necessary to explain life, and yet we interpret God’s Word based on their world view. 2Peter 3 tells us that this is what would characterize the world, and even the church, in the last days. Rather than believe Bible testimony, which says life on earth was created about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, we come up with day = age theories and gap theories to harmonize Scripture with that false science called evolutionary origin of species. Yet, there is better true scientific support for recent creationism than for evolution. http://www.icr.org ; http://www.answersingenesis.org .
Darwin, who’s book popularized modern evolutionary theory wondered at the human eye with its great complexity, that something so amazing could evolve. This was in the 1800’s. Now our knowledge of the complexity of the eye is 10,000 times greater, and it is that many times more complex than Darwin could even have imagined. And every part is required to have vision or for the eye to heal itself from damage, or a whole list of other features which make the eye possible. It is impossible for the eye to have evolved step by step into what we have today.
For hundreds of years unbelieving archaeologists have been telling us the Bible is just stories because some of the nations and cities in the Bible have never been found or evidence found for them in their digs. So Christians start coming up with excuses how these were intended as mere moral stories rather than as historical, just as they do the account of creation and the fall of man into sin. But it is amusing when, periodically, a discovery is made which justifies the Bible account after all. For example, in the early 1800’s archaeologists insisted the city of Petra was one of those made-up cities of Scripture because they could not find it or any other reference to it outside of the Bible. Then, in the late 1800’s, they found it, well hidden exactly as and where the Bible said it was. If you want to see it, just watch the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, part of which was filmed on location at Petra.
Scientists insist that most of the miracles in the Bible could never have happened, because they cannot be explained scientifically. Some they try to find scientific explanation for, such as the parting of the Red Sea during the exodus, while those which they cannot explain are relegated to myths and fables. They miss the whole point: An all-powerful God chose to intervene and do the scientifically impossible or improbable. The problem is all this pseudo-science has produced a mindset in the modern believer which limits the miraculous. Jesus said signs and wonders will follow those who believe, but this “knowledge” weakens our belief. We may claim we believe, but there is little actual evidence of it. Our knowledge, our earthly wisdom, puffs us up, but in fact it spiritually hinders us. That is not to say that all knowledge is evil, only that which relegates much of the Bible story to outright fables and moral stories. Instead of taking God at His Word, we find ways to explain it away.