Denial Ain't Just A River in Egypt
If you would forgive the poor use of my English in the headline, this phrase comes from an Americanism sometimes used when someone is trying too hard to deny the reality of the current situation. It may be because the individual simply cannot comprehend the truth of the situation, or it could be an unwillingness to acknowledge the truth, but denial is the response, instead of an acceptance of reality.
In many situations, the denial is obvious to everyone except the one making the denials; some occasions might actually be humorous, but others — not so much. In fact, in some situations, denial of reality is quite dangerous, and such is the case in spiritual matters. While this is the reality, many continue to deny some extremely important spiritual realities, and as long as these denials continue, the individuals doing so are in a spiritually-dangerous position. It could be that some who are reading this may be guilty. Let’s take a look at a few occasions where denial is common, and then let us take the time to see the truth, and what dangers denial will produce.
God’s Existence. There are many who continue to deny the reality of God’s existence, and such denials are not new. The psalmist wrote of such long ago, but he was blunt: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psa. 14:1). Many today will deny His existence, though there is abundant evidence to the contrary. [Yes, there is abundant evidence, to those who are honest enough to admit it.] Even 2000 years ago, it was stated by the apostle Paul regarding those who deny God, “they are without excuse” because “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:18-20).
Many others today may not plainly state their disbelief in His existence, but will ask, as did Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” and then declare, “I do not know the Lord” (Exod. 5:2). Some simply do not want to acknowledge God’s existence, though they have seen the evidence! Friends and brethren, denial does not mean reality. Many will look and sound extremely foolish in the final Judgment, as they stand before the God they denied exists.
Jesus, the Christ and Son of God. Some today will also deny the reality that Jesus was who He claimed to be: The Christ [the Messiah] and the Son of God. Despite the abundant evidence to the contrary, some will do their utmost to explain away the evidence and the testimony of eyewitnesses, but their denials only demonstrate their dishonesty with the evidence and the hypocrisy and fallacies of their refusal to accept obvious truths.
In the first century, when Jesus walked this Earth and performed undeniable miracles, some religious leaders considered what had been done, and said amongst themselves, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs” (Rom. 11:47) — they did not deny what He had done! Their solution, as we probably know, was to get rid of Jesus, so they then plotted to put Him to death (Rom. 11:53). Later, some of these same religious leaders would attempt to prevent the apostles from teaching about Jesus and His resurrection, and after the apostles had healed a man who had been lame since birth, they gathered and said among themselves, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16). Throughout all this, they continued to deny reality, though they admitted they could not really deny it.
Today, many continue to do the same, rejecting the facts, the testimony, and the plain evidence. But here’s the reality: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30, 31).
Personal Sin. The great majority of individuals today plainly do not see the truth of their spiritual condition, and many more live in denial, though they have been told plainly, or have even read what God’s word says about their true spiritual condition. And what God’s word says is this: “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23), and, “there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccl. 7:20). And, lest we think of ourselves as ‘good,’ God sees it quite differently, and tells us through the psalmist, “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Psa. 14:3).
No one is truly, or actually ‘good’ because every one of us has sinned against God. All the ‘good’ we may do, or all the ‘good’ we may think we do, will not undo the sins we have actually committed. The only solution to that — the only thing that can remove our guilt — was and is the blood of Jesus Christ. It is by His blood anyone can be redeemed and forgiven (Eph. 1:7). If we continue to deny this reality, we will stand before Him in the final Judgment as ones who are guilty, and receive a judgment we do not desire. Which brings us to the next point commonly denied:
Judgment. So few people really know God or His word that a great many people have this false concept of God being “so loving” He will just allow everyone into heaven — including those who denied He exists, those who denied the claim of Jesus to be the Christ, Savior, and Son of God, and those who never lifted a finger to do anything good in their entire earthly lives. Many speak of loved ones who have passed on as ‘now in heaven,’ though they never served God for a minute while living, and others are said to be in heaven though they lived a most ungodly life. All this is said because many deny the reality of a Judgment, falsely believing there is no need, since ‘God is so loving.’
Well, God is loving, but He is also just, and it would be neither loving nor just to welcome all into heaven. The fact is, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). If some do ‘bad,’ then it should be obvious there will not be a reward for such a life, but punishment. That brings us to the last point of denial:
Eternal Punishment: Hell. In the annual polls on religious beliefs, it is always the case that a higher percentage of people believe in heaven than they believe in hell. It doesn’t take an expert psychologist to figure out why: We don’t want to believe in a place of eternal punishment. Again: Denial does not change reality.
Jesus Himself stated that, at the Judgment, the wicked and unbelieving “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). The apostle Paul stated plainly that when Christ comes again, He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day” (2 Thess. 1:8-10). It would be wise to cease denying this truth, and start preparing for the inevitable Judgment.
Denial is not reality. — Steven Harper