This is an excerpt from The Dynamic of Service by Paget Wilkes. It is a book that has been a great help to me in evangelism over the years.
“They did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Rom. 1:28).
In seeking to turn men to Christ, let us start with this terrible fact. Whatever else men desire, whether of good or evil, they do not desire God; men are not seeking after Him.
God has planted within us a capacity for knowing Him, the instinct that should surely feel after Him, that it might find Him. But alas! alas! men seek Him not. That instinct has been paralyzed; the desires of the human heart have been poisoned at their very source. Let us not suppose that mere teaching or enlightening of the understanding will meet the case. By no means. Deep down in the human heart there is a rebellion and hatred of God. Men desire not Him. They hate to retain Him in their knowledge; there is not one that seeketh after Him—no, not one.
Our own enlightened hearts, remembering the folly and shame of our unregenerate state, will bear witness to the truth of this sinister diagnosis. Men may desire peace, deliverance, and many other excellent things, but the verdict of the “true and faithful witness” stands.
“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God—no, not one.”
There is to me no more convincing evidence of the depravity of human nature than this hatred of God. A missionary who gives much of her time to working among young men attending one of the higher schools in this country tells me with what avidity they devour and digest anything of German philosophy, which seems to prove that God is nonexistent.
For this remarkable fact in human nature there must be some terrible cause. One would naturally have supposed that men would delight in so beautiful a conception as the Fatherhood of God. If it is not true, it ought to be. If we cannot believe it, we ought to want to believe it. But alas! no. There is a bitter, blatant opposition to God in the human heart; and it is most bitter in the most educated.
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