Sin is the great separator. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God." This is moral and spiritual death, and is the fearful condition of godless Christendom today. Men unblushingly deny the supernatural, because they have never known the power of God in their own lives. They have, never yet been on praying ground, and so they declare that definite answers to prayer on the part of a personal God cannot possibly be. Millions of truly born-again men and women in all ages have given unimpeachable witness to the contrary, but all this mass of evidence is ruled out of court. The universe, we are told, is governed by unchangeable law, and law forbids any manifestation of a personal God. Yet prayer is in fullest accord with spiritual law, which the natural man cannot comprehend because he refuses to put himself into that attitude of mind in which he can detect the working of the Divine.
"Your sins have hid His face from you." Sin is the great nonconductor. Iniquity is an absolute insulation. It is impossible to connect with heaven while the hands are defiled with blood and the fingers with iniquity. The lying tongue cannot utter a prayer that God will hear, nor the unbelieving mind receive a message from the Throne of the universe, until, indeed, the summons to come to judgment shrivels up the last vestige of no-faith, and the affrighted sinner knows at last that it is a personal God with whom he has to do.
"Hands defiled with blood." Whose blood? First and most dreadful of all, the blood of the Son of God. The Christ-rejector is a deicide! He stands condemned as condoning the greatest crime of all the ages. He is morally allied with those who cried, "His blood be on us and on our children."
But, second, "the blood of the poor innocents" is charged against him who by word and example causes the soul-ruin of those who "follow their pernicious ways." Who can conceive the guilt of him who by a vicious life or by vicious teaching seduces youth into immorality of life, which is really death—for "she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth"—or into immorality of teaching, which is spiritual death, for it carries its own condemnation with it, because it is written that when Deity speaks "he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar, because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning His Son."
It is useless to say, "I have prayed, but there was no answer from God; so I concluded that prayer is folly, and that a personal God who reveals Himself to His creatures is a myth." God has never promised to reveal Himself to unrepentant sinners. He has never promised to hear the prayer of the wilfully disobedient and gainsaying.
Sin separates. It separates in time; it will separate in eternity. It is this that is the root of all the trouble and perplexity in which men find themselves today. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." While men trust in vanity and speak lies, while they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, they cannot, in the very nature of things understand the Holy God or form right conclusions as to His being or His demands.
And so they formulate systems of their own and propagate theories spun out of their own minds, inspired by the arch-apostate, the Devil. Most popular of all today is what is vaingloriously designated Modernism, Liberalism, or the New and Advanced Theology—terms which to many imply culture and sound judgment, and are used with the object of making the conjectures of their proponents acceptable and their wild guesses seem to the uninitiated "sane and safe."
But hear what the word of the living God says of every way that professes to bring man into tune with the Infinite that is not the way given us by Divine revelation: "They hatch adders' eggs, and weave the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth; and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works."
There you have it—"adders' eggs and spider's webs"! It is God Himself who so designates the satanic perversions of His truth which natural, unregenerate men are ever ready to accept in place of His revealed word.
Some one has said, "Oh, the credulity of unbelief!" The unbeliever can believe anything, no matter how fantastic—even the crude conjectures of evolutionists—rather than the simple, reasonable statements of God's unalterable Word.
Adders' eggs! The poisonous product of the serpent, yet so like the harmless egg of the fowl that the ignorant and unwary are easily deceived, to their own destruction! The whole range of bloodless, Christless systems so eagerly taken up by unregenerate preachers, teachers, and peoples are but the spawn of that old serpent the Devil and Satan—a viper brood that will sting to death all who attempt to feed upon them.
Observe the symptoms of serpent-poisoning described in verses 8 to 11. The bitten devotee of false cults cannot keep a straight road, deliriously he walks in a crooked path. Unable to rightly understand the claims of justice and that righteousness which is according to God, he looks for light, but beholds darkness; for brightness, but beholds obscurity. Groping like the blind, bewildered as one with no eyes, he stumbles over the plainest truths of Scripture and in the full noontide blaze of a Divine revelation tells you he is seeking for light, while refusing the testimony of God. Pretending to have something more suited to the modern mind than the word of God has declared, he seeks after justice, but there is none; and salvation, but it is far off.
Hear the ravings of one of these serpent-poisoned prophets of the new era: "Sin itself is a quest for God—a blundering quest, but a quest for all that. The man who got dead drunk last night did so because of the impulse within him to break through the barriers of his limitations, to express himself, and to realize the more abundant life. His self-indulgence just came to that; he wanted, if only for a brief hour, to live the larger life, to expand the soul, to enter untrodden regions, and gather to himself new experiences. That drunken debauch was a quest for life, a quest for God. Men in their sinful follies today and their blank atheism, and their foul blasphemies, their trampling upon things that are beautiful and good, are engaged in this dim, blundering quest for God, whom to know is life eternal. The roué you saw in Piccadilly last night, who went out to corrupt innocence and to wallow in filthiness of the flesh, was engaged in his blundering quest for God."
Could anything show more unmistakably the trend of the new theology, with its utter rejection of the Bible doctrine as to sin and its punishment? What a crooked thing is this, and what crooked living must be the result of such insidious poison!
Satan works by imitation, and so we need not be surprised to see every truth of our holy religion misrepresented and the most orthodox terms used to cover the most heterodox conceptions. They are adders' eggs! Look out for the viper!