A Great Question ~Who is a Fool? (Part One)
- Sep 05, 2016 am30 11:45 AM
- A Great Question!
I think it is necessary to begin by pointing out that there is a big difference between God and man. Doubtless, there is someone out there who will be quick to point out that Jesus said we are not supposed to call anyone a fool. While this is mostly true, the distinction that needs to be made here is that it is one thing for you to use the word, but quite another when God uses it. It is one thing for people, who cannot see into a person’s heart and therefore rely on what they can see when judging another to call someone a fool, but quite another for God. God can see into your heart. It is God who knows your thoughts. Before a word leaves your tongue, God not only knows what it will be, but what it was that caused it. Thus, when God pronounces a judgment, it is based on the truth of what a person is, not just on who he or she appears to be. In this book, you will understand that when God calls someone a fool, He does so because He is the Creator, and as such has a right to judge His creatures. Are you aware that it is not sin for God to end a person’s life? While it is sin for you to go out and murder your neighbor, God presides over creation like the kings of old, with absolute authority to take the life He gave. Therefore, not only is it not sin for God to judge one to be a fool, but he must pronounce judgment if he is just and He is. Simply put, these are God’s words, not mine.
TRUTH TO KNOW
Certain people immediately come to our minds with the mention of the word fool. Does the Bible condemn calling one a fool? This question suggests the Bible as our standard of determining right and wrong. Indeed, God’s word is the standard (Gal. 2:14).
The first part of the answer to this question suggests that calling someone a fool can be wrong. Jesus condemned calling one a fool out of unjustified anger (Matt. 5:22). If one calls another a fool out of sinful hate, then calling someone such a name (or any similar term) is wrong. Meanwhile the second part suggests calling someone a fool is not automatically wrong. This question illustrates the need to taking all the Bible has to say on a given subject before we arrive at a conclusion. Jesus called some fools. Hear Him: "Ye fools and blind..." (Matt. 23:19). In this same chapter Jesus calls these people "Hypocrites" and "blind guides." Yet, Jesus was without sin (Heb. 4:15). Jesus was clear in His teaching in such cases. He clearly identified those against whom he spoke (Matt. 23:2ff). Consider these two passages and answer the question whether it is right to call someone a fool of not?: "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." Matthew 5:22. "You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?" Matthew 23:17.
When Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that you should not call anyone a fool, contextually He was speaking of those who were unrighteously angry. That is why Jesus mentions anger in this verse. There is a righteous anger which is not sinful. (Eph. 4:26 -"Be angry and do not sin ."), as well as unrighteous anger that is sinful (James 1:20 -"for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God").
When God is angry with someone, He is always righteous in His anger. Jesus, being God in flesh (John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9), can righteously be angry with people and pronounce upon them the foolishness of their deeds, which He did (Matthew 23:17). Also, undoubtedly, Jesus knew Psalm 14:1 which says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God' . . ." Jesus did not forget the well known verse, and God is not wrong for calling someone a fool, especially when it is true. As a result, we see that the condemnation by Jesus in regards to calling someone a fool is in the context of doing it out of unrighteous anger, which does not fit the later citations of Jesus labeling the hypocritical Pharisees as fools.
This word “fool” has such meaning as "empty," "thickheaded," and "headless". A fool is one who is not prudent, without aim or counsel, who carelessly commits everything to an uncertain issue; and opposed to one who walks uprightly...".
WHO DOES BIBLE/GOD CALLS FOOLS?
The Bible often calls certain ones fools. The atheist is called a fool (Ps. 14:1), the slanderer is said to be a fool (Prov. 10:18), those who despise instruction (Prov. 15:5), a contentious person (Prov. 18:6), the one who lives for pleasure (Luke 12:13-20), the one who trusts in his own heart (Prov. 28:26) all are called fools by God. Christ called those who do not build on a rock “Christ's teaching, but build on the sand fools (Matt. 7:26, 27). In a summary those who bible calls fools can be grouped into three:
Those who deny God:
It is amazing that there are individuals who observe the creation all around them, but deny there is a Creator. How could a complex being such as man simply evolve from nothing? "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God..." (Ps. 14:1). The question is what does it mean to deny Jesus? Jesus said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” –Matt. 10:33. What did He mean by this statement? Can you deny Christ and not realize it? Many martyrs gave up their lives for refusing to deny Christ. “They loved not their lives unto the death.” But, what did Jesus say about those who reject or deny His word? He said those who deny Him will be denied before the Father in heaven.
Christ, the Son of God, appeared on this Earth as a physical human being. Isaiah prophesied, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” –Isa. 9:6. Jesus set the perfect example for us to follow. He did not live a perfect life in our stead; rather, he came to die in our stead. His perfect life exemplified the kind of behavior and conduct we should manifest. He revealed the complete spiritual manifestation of God’s law for us to follow. He filled to the full or magnified the spiritual intent of God’s law –Isa. 42:21.
To come to accept and really believe in Christ is contingent upon a divine call from God, the Father. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” John 6:44. God’s Spirit directly intervenes to call one to knowledge of the truth. Those who come to the spiritual truths of God are taught of God (John 6:45), and are able to comprehend the significance of Christ, what He stands for, and the meaning of His words (John 14:6,26). Spiritual truth and Biblical understanding are not the result of human study or scholarship. Rather, they are the result of the direct intervention of God’s Spirit leading the mind to grasp revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-16).
Those who grasp the significance of Christ’s sacrifice and the understanding of His word begin to walk by faith (Hab. 2:4). Christians learn to live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). They know the truth that came to them came by means of divine revelation. They live by faith in the conviction that the truth they now possess truly came from God. They truly confess Christ in their lives by the way they think and by what they do.
The first person, God calls a fool is the one who says God does not exist. In Psalm 14, we find these words: “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” Understand what is being said here; these are not words about someone caught up in a false religion. From the earliest of times, men have worshiped many things called gods because they believed there was something above them. Roman and Greek mythology attest to this. Human and animal sacrifices in cultures around the world attest to this. No, it is not the one who has been misled and deceived who is called a fool, for there is hope that such a one can be shown who is the true God. But for those who, from the depths of their souls, reject the very existence of a Creator is this judgment pronounced. And why rejecting the existence of God? Our text says, “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In other words, so they can be as wicked and evil as they want to be.
Those who trust in their own heart:
Many today believe what they do simply because they feel it is right. They have no superior, external standard for right or wrong, truth or error. Listen to the wise man: "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (Prov. 28: 26). And this leads to our next person mentioned in Proverbs 14, “Fools make a mock at sin.” What this means is to mock what God calls sin. While we can see this by how brash some are in what they are willing to say about themselves on the back window of a car or truck, what interests me is how this attitude is reflected in the church.
What? Did you honestly think fools cannot be found in the Church? Have you ever heard the term “legalism” kicked around? Properly understood, legalism is the attempt to obtain salvation through the keeping of the law; however, this is not generally how it is applied in today’s churches. All you have to do is mention words like “obedience” or “holiness” and you instantly are branded as being legalistic. The truth is that this is a rejection of what God calls sin — and by the very ones who should be forsaking such sin.
Those who build on the sand:
Jesus said a wise man builds his house on a rock. Jesus explained such are those who hear his sayings and does them. Conversely, those who hear Jesus' teaching, but do not do them, Jesus said he "shall be liked unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand" (Matt. 7: 26, 24-27). The last person God calls a fool is found in Luke 12 and is the person who is not prepared to die. The rich man Jesus speaks of could well be the average businessman here in the Valley whose business has been so successful that he drives the nicest pickup, lives in the biggest house on an airstrip, has a plane and a boat, and a retirement account like Bill Gates’. The problem is that he was not prepared to die. But there is one catch — verse 21 says that he was not rich toward God. Since salvation cannot be bought, this statement must apply to Christianity. Can you imagine, O Christian, standing before Christ and having him call you a fool because you, of all people, sunk your treasure into this life rather than the God you say you love? Something to think about.
Finally; when God calls someone a fool, you can rest assured that person is a fool. You and I make our own choices in life, have our own values, and determine our course of life. God had made us free moral agents. However, when we choose to leave God out of our lives, we shall pay the price. Let us seek after true wisdom and avoid being fools while time and opportunity are ours.
----------- (to be continued)