"Yea, truth is fallen in the street, and equity [holiness] cannot enter.Yea, truth faileth: and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment" (Isaiah 59:12-15).
The prophet Isaiah said, Truth is fallen in the streets — the door is being closed to holiness — and those who want to follow the Lord wholly are becoming victims because of soft preaching.
The prophet is warning that sincere young believers are being hurt because their leaders are not preaching the truth of holiness. He said, "Those who depart from evil become the victims...." It is because, "None calleth for righteousness, nor any pleadeth for truth" (Isaiah 59:4).
Ezekiel is even more emphatic about how some of God's ministers are trampling the truth and destroying lives by their own selfish interests: "There is a conspiracy of her prophets in her midst...they have taken treasure and precious things...Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean...her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord,' when the Lord has not spoken" (Ezekiel 22:25-28 NAS).
God searched for one among them who would stand for the truth. Deception and compromise had brought down the walls of protection. "And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30 NAS).
Jeremiah said his "eyes were a fountain of tears," because the people of God were given to covetousness — they had become adulterers, an assembly of treacherous people. His grief was caused by all the lies being preached to such people by false prophets and self-centered priests. He said of them: "They are not valiant for the truth — they will not preach the truth!" (Jeremiah 9:2,3,5).
Hosea warned that God has a controversy with His people because of the trampling of truth to the ground: "The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood" (Hosea 4:1,2).
The more God blessed His people, the more sinful and corrupt they became. Sin became rampant among them and those in the pulpit fed their sinful lusts. Pulpit and pew were equally corrupted. "As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings" (Hosea 4:7-9).
The pulpits were so soft on sin, so compromising, they gave birth to strange children! Hosea prophesied, "They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord: for they have begotten strange children..." (Hosea 5:6,7).
In Hebrew the word strange as used here means to turn away — to commit adultery — to turn aside! I love this generation of young people and God does have a holy remnant among them — but I cannot think of a better description for many of them than this of Hosea: "They have become strange children." I mean by this, strange to the righteous ways of the Lord. The soft-on-sin preaching so prevalent today has birthed a generation of youth who are so mixed in with the leaven of this world, they have become foreigners to truth and holiness. They can carry Bibles to ungodly rock concerts. The Stryper [Christian?] rock band can rub their hands down their hips in sensuous, suggestive motions toward the girls — then throw Bibles at them.
Why is this generation so blind to the truth of separation from the world? Why are so many Christian girls having children out of wedlock? Why are thousands of our Christian kids so confused, mixed up, and using drugs? Why are thousands of them drinking now? Why do heavy metal and punk rock bands have such an easy time charming the hearts of our children?
Hosea said it right — there is treachery in the pulpit! There are so few valiant for the truth! So few without "the spirit of whoredom" upon them! So few men and women of God who walk in truth, who will show God's people the difference between what is holy and profane.
Hosea said the prophets became snares, traps — "because they corrupted themselves..." He prayed that God would give them a miscarrying womb and cause them to bear no fruit. "Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts...they will bear no fruit..." (Hosea 9:14-16 NAS).
What concerns me the most is that this generation of strange children refuse all correction! They do not tremble at God's Word. They simply whitewash the name of Jesus over all their sins. Reproof is totally rejected — they are becoming hardened in their own ways — and they are drawn to a pastor or teacher who glosses over their compromise. "An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and my people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jeremiah 5:30,31).
Jeremiah added, "This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God or accept correction; truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth" (Jeremiah 7:28).
"Thus says the Lord, I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain" (Zechariah 8:2,3).
Christ came to raise up a people for Himself who would love the truth and walk in its light and preach it in its fullness. His holy mountain, upon which the New Jerusalem is built, will belong only to those who execute judgment on idolatry and all hidden sin. Zechariah prophesied, "These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates" (Zechariah 8:16).
In these last days our Lord is raising up a holy people free from deception and dishonesty! They desire to walk in the holy fear of God! They refuse to walk with hypocrites or frauds or tricksters. They love godly reproof and are willing to come under the searching light of the Holy Ghost. Isaiah prophesied, "And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth and in the tabernacle of David, judging, seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness" (Isaiah 16:5).
"In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before him" (Zechariah 12:8).
The prophets said Christ would rebuild His tabernacle as in the days of David. What it means is that God will have in these last days a people who have the same kind of heart David had — a heart of truth — set on God! A heart with no part dark — no hidden sin — no secret lust. And such truth in the inner man that, when sin is discovered or revealed, it is quickly confessed and forsaken.
David said, "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me..." (Psalm 51:6,10,13). Also, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth" (Psalm 145:17,18).
On his deathbed, David charged his son Solomon to follow his steps in walking with the Lord in truth with all his heart! "If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel" (1 Kings 2:1,4).
Not all the demonic forces of hell — not all the principalities and powers in high places — can hinder God's purpose to have for Himself a holy people who walk before Him in truth with all their hearts.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them" (Romans 1:18,19 NAS).
What a tragedy that while Christ is building Himself a holy city established on truth — multitudes, including ministers of Christ's gospel, are exchanging the truth for a lie! "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever" (Romans 1:25 NAS).
When the Holy Spirit exposes sin in a life — that is the TRUTH of God's holiness laying claim on the heart. Time after time the Holy Spirit will call for total surrender and forsaking of lust and besetting sins. He will never stop demanding truth and righteousness in the inner man!
When the conviction of the Holy Spirit is ignored and the heart stubbornly holds to lust and besetting sin, it is possible to become so hardened that God gives the heart over to a lie! Paul warned, " And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). They rejected the conviction against sin, despising the truth — loving their pleasures and indulging their passions. "Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity" (Romans 1:24 NAS).
What is this lie God gives them over to? It is a depraved, reprobated mind that is blind to all judgment. It is a heart so hardened by sin, it is immune to the fear of God! It is the loss of all spiritual discernment." "And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them" (Romans 1:32 NAS).
In Pilgrim's Progress, when Christian was about to leave the Interpreter's house, he was told to "Stay...till I have showed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go thy way." What was this sight Christian must see before he was allowed to continue his journey? It was the Man of Despair sitting in an iron cage. Christian asked, "How camest thou in this condition?" The imprisoned Man of Despair answered, "I quit watching and being sober; I gave loose reign to my lusts; I sinned against the Light of the Word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and He is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have so hardened my heart that I cannot repent."
Who is this man of despair locked in an iron cage? He is the man or woman of God who attempts to go on doing the will of God while maintaining some kind of secret corruption in the heart. The iron cage is the curse of an inner hardening upon servants of God who have silenced the still small voice and who now go on ministering as adulterers and hypocrites — without a sense of shame. They no longer know how to blush. The iron cage symbolizes the condition of "being past feelings" — a judgment of a holy God against all who have given themselves over to the driving lusts of their flesh.
There is a solemn, terrifying kind of revenge that awaits every servant of God who mocks truth by indulging in lustful passion. Every servant of God who perverts the holiness of God before the eyes of the people will be avenged.
You witness the avenging power of holiness on Mount Nebo, where Moses was told by God, "Go and die, and be gathered unto your people...You shall see the Lord...at a distance, but you shall not go there...because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the Sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh because you did not treat Me holy in the midst of the Sons of Israel" (Deuteronomy 32:49-52).
Moses had acted before the people in such a way that the truth of God's supreme holiness was struck a blow. He made God appear less holy than He was before the people. It was because he was known and respected for his meekness and holiness that made the avenging so severe. Many young Israelites went into the promised land who had sinned in much greater ways. But God avenges most severely those who are called to exalt His holiness. To whom much is given, much is expected. "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor; so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor..." (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
The avenging power of holiness is clearly revealed in the tragedy of the two young priests of the Lord, Nadab and Abihu. They had been to the mountain with Moses, Aaron and the seventy elders. "And they saw the God of Israel, and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself...and they beheld God, and they ate and drank" (Exodus 24:9-11).
These same priests who had witnessed the unspeakable glory and presence of God offered strange fire before the Lord. With the eyes of all Israel upon them, they mocked the truth and holiness of God — they took lightly the judgments and warnings of a holy God — and "Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:1,2).
Moses reminded their father Aaron that God had warned them of the avenging power of His holiness. "Then Moses said to Aaron, It is what the Lord spake, saying, By those who come near Me I will be considered an holy, and before all the people I will be honored" (Leviticus 10:3).
Beloved, God has not changed! We are His priests — we must show Him to be holy before the people or we too will experience the avenging power of His holiness! We are living in a day of grace. But too many think the New Testament age abounds with such condescending mercy — God will wink at secret sins. He will not!
Ananias and Sapphira lived under the canopy of grace. But under grace, God looks at the heart and avenges the deception lodged there. They tempted the Holy Spirit by thinking they could slip in a lie beneath His all-seeing eye. They dropped dead in a New Testament Pentecostal church where grace and mercy was being preached. God was avenging His holiness. This couple was about to introduce into the church a leaven that could have leavened the whole lump. God would not permit a single couple in that church to live a lie, to worship and serve Him with a demonic secret hidden away in their hearts. The Spirit would not permit them to speak with tongues, witness, and go into the world handling Christ's gospel, bearing the holy standard, while clinging to secret sin!
Paul is very clear on the matter of the avenging power of God's holiness. He said, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor...not in lustful passion...and that no man transgresses and defraud his brother in the matter — because the Lord is the avenger in all these things...just as we...solemnly warned you" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6).
We had better not take this solemn warning of the avenging power of holiness lightly. It is addressed to brethren; and Paul adds, "He who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you" (verse 8).
Paul minces no words! The servant of God who is a slave to lust, who is driven by evil passion, who is involved in sexual immorality of any kind — is a transgressor and a fraud! A deceiver! A fraud is one who deceives by a false pretense of piety! A trickster who tries to steal what he covets!
An Assembly of God minister left his pastorate of 20 years and his wife of 25 years, and moved in with a woman from his church. She has two teenagers who can't understand how the preacher they thought was so holy can live with their mother — while he is not even yet divorced! He has defrauded those children! He has defamed the holiness of God before all the people! He faces the avenging power of God's holiness for having trampled truth to the ground.
He is a fraud who stands in the pulpit preaching grace and mercy, while sneaking about in private to feed his soul on pornography!
He is a fraud who stands in the pulpit Sunday morning — even weeping — letting the church perceive him as a holy man — while all the while his heart is treacherous. He is treacherous toward his wife! He is defrauding the husband of the woman he is involved with! He is defrauding his own children, as well as the children of his secret lover. He is defrauding the church, the city, the household of faith. He is taking lightly the warnings of God's holy avenging.
She is a fraud who appears before the people as a sweet, faithful, pure woman of God — yet in her heart there is a fountain of lust. She rents filthy movies and indulges her lusts. Or, she carries on what she excuses as "a harmless relationship."
Multitudes of God's people are becoming frauds before the world because the lusts and evil passions of this world have crept in to pollute and corrupt their hearts and minds. They flock to theaters to view the most wicked and vile movies — and like peeping Toms, fill their eyes with demonic scenes that corrupt the heart with all kinds of perversions. Those perversions are often introduced into the homes of Christians and now many are experimenting with forbidden and dangerous practices. Then they come to the house of God to praise and worship, with upraised hands. Some dance! It is outright fraud! Paul calls it "defrauding brethren!"
The worst fraud of all is the minister who is soft on sin in the pulpit, because of the lust reigning in his own heart! He will blast preachers who cry out against sin as doomsday preachers. He will grasp at every sermon, every book, on mercy and grace. He will tell you of all the sins and failures of the great men of God — taking comfort from it all.
Paul said Satan was transformed into an angel of light. So is it possible for ministers who despise the truth and who are given over to the evil of their hearts to be transformed into false prophets and satanic angels of light. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). These transformed ministers are those who introduce another gospel, another Jesus. I believe such become the angels of light come to deceive. They become the miracle-workers who cry Lord, Lord, but are workers of iniquity. Paul warned of this kind of deception. He wrote to the Corinthians, "...I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully" (2 Corinthians 11:2-4 NAS).
Truth, when sought and embraced, sets one free. Totally free! But when the demands of truth are ignored, the heart finally becomes hard as flint and God must "turn them over" to their lusts. Nothing can then hinder the total transformation into a child of the devil. There is no greater judgment on earth!