The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalms 14:1)
In commenting on this text, Matthew Henry wrote: “There is something of practical atheism at the bottom of all sin.” The first verse of Psalm 14 is the creed of the fool. He says, “There is no God.” As Christians, we read this thinking there is nothing more disgusting than the atheist that boldly and defiantly shakes his finger in the face of God and says, “You do not exist.” J. Vernon McGee stated that atheism is the worst of man’s depravity. In other words, a person can sink no lower in sin than to become an atheist. No wonder we are disgusted when confronted with the pseudo intelligence of our public school teachers and the professors in our colleges and universities that foist their depraved philosophies on our children. They deny the existence of God and give blanket approval to the worst social degradation our country has ever experienced.
Yet, while we are so angry at the blatant atheist, we must remember what Matthew Henry said: “There is something of practical atheism at the bottom of all sin.” These are sobering words to the Christian that harbors sin in his life and refuses to be yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit. Each time we sin, we become the practical atheist that refuses to obey God. If we truly do believe He is supreme and worthy of worship and is due all honor—if we truly believe He is offended by our unrighteousness—would we dare continue in our sins? If we really believe there are consequences to sin, would we shake our fingers in God’s face and say, “We will defy you?” Whoever stood in the physical presence of Jesus Christ truly believing He was God and then turned his back and walked away? Yet this is what we do when we let sin rule us and take no thought to confess our crimes. Practically, we do not believe in God.
I remember years ago my father preached on this text. He would always say when reading Psalm 14:1, “The fool also says, ‘No! God.” The fool defies God. He says no to His face which is what we do when we continue to live in the vileness of the flesh. It is far more understandable for the atheist to say there is no God than for the Christian that has tasted His divine grace to say no to Him.
We understand why God says the wicked will be cast into hell, and we certainly understand that atheists are deserving of the wrath of God. What we fail to understand is that Christians having been shown God’s favor and yet still continuing in sin are more deserving of hell than the spiritually blinded. As I see it, the grace of God is multiplied ten thousand times over in our preservation to eternal life than in the initial granting of repentance and faith. Paul said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1). Apparently we think so. No wonder scripture says God’s people are kept by His power. Without His mercy and grace salvation would be lost in a heartbeat.
Thank God for persevering and preserving grace. All of us have a touch of atheism in us, so don’t be so unsympathetic to the souls of avowed atheists. We are being saved daily from our own practical atheism.
Pastor V. Mark Smith