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There is No Wisdom in Sin, by A.W. Tozer
 

 There Is No Wisdom in Sin By: A.W.Tozer

THE WORLD HAS DIVIDED MEN into two classes, the stupid good people and the
clever wicked ones.

This false classification runs through much of the literature of the last
centuries from the classics to the comic strip, from Shakespeare's Polomus,
who furnished his son with a set of good but dull moral platitudes, to
Capp's Li'l Abner, who would never knowingly do a wrong act but who would
rather fall on his head than on his feet because there is more feeling in
his feet than in his head.

In the Holy Scriptures things are quite the opposite. *There righteousness
is always associated with wisdom and evil with folly*. Whatever other
factors may be present in an act of wrongdoing, folly is one that is never
absent. *To do a wrong act a man must for the moment think wrong; he must
exercise bad judgment.*

If this is true then the devil is creation's prime fool, for when he gambled
on his ability to unseat the Almighty he was guilty of an act of judgment so
bad as to be imbecilic, He is said to have had a great amount of wisdom, but
his wisdom must have deserted him at the time of his first sin, for surely
he grossly underestimated the power of God and as grossly overestimated his
own. The devil is not now pictured in the Scriptures as wise, only as
shrewd. We are warned not against his wisdom but against his wiles,
something very different.

Sin, I repeat, in addition to anything else it may be, is always an act of
wrong judgment. *To commit a sin a man must for the moment believe that
things are different from what they really are; he must confound values; he
must see the moral universe out of focus; he must accept a lie as truth and
see truth as a lie; he must ignore the signs on the highway and drive with
his eyes shut; he must act as if he had no soul and was not accountable for
his moral choices.*

Sin is never a thing to be proud of. *No act is wise that ignores remote
consequences, and sin always does*. Sin sees only today, or at most
tomorrow; never the day after tomorrow, next month or next year. Death and
judgment are pushed aside as if they did not exist and the sinner becomes
for the time a practical atheist who by his act denies not only the
existence of God but the concept of life after death.

History is replete with examples of men whose intellectual powers were great
but whose practical judgment was almost nil: Einstein, for instance, who was
a mathematical genius but who could not look after his own bank account and
who absentmindedly ran his little motorboat aground with the excuse that he
"must have been thinking about something else." We can smile at this, but
there is nothing humorous about that other class of men who had brilliant
minds but whose moral judgment was sadly awry. To this class belong such men
as Lucretius, Voltaire, Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman and thousands of
others whose names are less widely known.

*The notion that the careless sinner is the smart fellow and the
serious-minded Christian, though well-intentioned, is a stupid dolt
altogether out of touch with life will not stand up under scrutiny*. Sin is
basically an act of moral folly, and the greater the folly the greater the
fool.

It is time the young people of this generation learned that there is nothing
smart about wrongdoing and nothing stupid about righteousness. We must stop
negotiating with evil. We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral
position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin for the enemy of
the human race which it surely is, and setting forth righteousness and true
holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

*The idea that sin is modern is false. There has not been a new sin invented
since the beginning of recorded history. That new vice breaks out to horrify
decent citizens and worry the police is not really new. Flip open that book
written centuries ago and you will find it described there*. The reckless
sinner trying to think of some new way to express his love of iniquity can
do no more than imitate others like himself, now long dead. He is not the
bright rebel he fancies himself to be but a weak and stupid fellow who must
follow along in the long parade of death toward the point of no return.

If the hoary head is a crown of glory when it is found in the way of
righteousness, it is a fool's cap when it is found in the way of sin. An old
sinner is an awesome and frightening spectacle. One feels about him much as
one feels about the condemned man on his way to the gallows. A sense of numb
terror and shock fills the heart. The knowledge that the condemned man was
once a red-cheeked boy only heightens the feeling, and the knowledge that
the aged rebel now beyond reclamation once went up to the house of God on a
Sunday morning to the sweet sound of church bells makes even the trusting
Christian humble and a little bit scared. There but for the grace of God
goes he.

I am among those who believe that our Western civilization is on its way to
perishing. It has many commendable qualities, most of which it has borrowed
from the Christian ethic, but it lacks the element of moral wisdom that
would give it permanence. Future historians will record that we of the
twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but
not the moral wisdom to preserve it.


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