Man's Intelligence Will Never Fix His Immorality

Intellect and morality operate on different tracks. Intellect has to do with knowledge. Morality has to do with motive and behavior.

Intellect can get you a job. Morality can help you keep it. Intellect can get you good grades. Morality involves treating others with respect, regardless of their IQ. Intellect is often admired, unless of course a person's immorality overshadows their smarts.

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God created angels to be extremely intelligent. Some of the angels went rogue and pursued immorality and disobedience. Not a very smart choice on their part.

Some of history's most brutal dictators have had a high IQ. They were "smart" about discovering new ways to control and dominate people. Intelligence can provide you with influence and status, but only morality will assure that you use your authority wisely.

Intelligence is a gift from God, as is godly morality. The most intelligent being in the universe of course is God. No one comes close to His level of intelligence. And no one comes close to His level of moral purity. He has all knowledge, and is completely pure through and through.

In the wisdom of God, the Father sent the Son to die on the cross for our sins. Man by nature is not smart enough to understand why this happened. But when the Holy Spirit enlightens man's mind, he is able to trust in the cross of Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

The goodness of the Holy Spirit is then infused into man. The result of this infusion is something the Bible calls "fruit." There is good fruit in this world, and there is bad fruit. The fruit of faith in Jesus is very good indeed. It turns rebels into disciples who love people and want to help others.

Christianity is not merely "better morality." It goes even deeper than the fruit. It goes to the heart, which is where the good fruit gets produced by the Lord. Good fruit does not depend on the level of a person's intelligence. Instead, it requires spiritual power from God, and obedience on the part of the believer.

If man's intelligence could fix his sin problem, there would have been no need for the Son of God to leave the glory of heaven and come to earth to suffer and die for us. After all, why leave heaven if man is holy enough and smart enough to fix himself?

Charles Sell stated it beautifully: "If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior."

Man's IQ can get in the way of him coming to Christ. Man feels too smart to humble himself before His Creator and admit his sin to God. Such humility stings man's pride, especially if all he has previously known is the message of self-esteem.

It's popular today to teach man to feel good about himself, and that his only "sin" is to think too little of himself. In that way, man is skilled at trying to sit on God's throne. Deep down, man thinks he deserves that spot. And his intelligence only adds to his delusions if he digs in his heels and refuses to repent of his sin. Man is incapable of fixing himself. It won't happen. Man is too messed up and too proud of himself.

The only solution to man's deep pride is the cross of Jesus Christ. Only at the cross can man get the new heart he so desperately needs. Only at the cross can man find an answer to his insatiable immorality. The more man feeds his addictions, the more he craves the very things which destroy him.

Meanwhile, man tends to place his hope in his education. But what can intellectual pursuits do for him if the needs of his soul go unmet?

It reminds me of a comment from a prison warden in Louisiana who happens to be a strong Christian. The warden stated that unless a criminal meets the Lord, he may end up leaving prison as nothing more than a smarter criminal. He will have learned new tricks from other criminals, and his additional intelligence will only make him more dangerous.

Such is the nature of man. Smarts without the Savior only leads to trouble. And it never gets to the root of the problem. Only the cross of Christ and the blood of Jesus can rescue man at that level.

The problem with man is that he lives according to his feelings, and therefore, he tends to destroy himself. And his intelligence only seems to add to his ability to figure out ways to do it. What a mess we make of ourselves, and what amazing love God has for us. He reached down to fix our immorality; to heal our soul; to forgive our sins; to redeem us for eternity; and to establish a basis upon which we could enter a loving relationship with our Creator.

Talk about smart. God knew just what He was doing. And we are wise if we choose to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross, and let go of the myth that somehow our intelligence is going to save us and fix our moral issues. It won't happen. And that's why prisons are filled with people of every intelligence level. Immorality is no respecter of persons, and no respecter of IQ. It will cut you down in your prime, and leave you lying on the road to die like a dog.

Good thing the Lord didn't leave us to our own selfish and proud pursuits. If He had, this life would be absolutely hopeless. But with Christ, there is eternal hope. There is heaven, and a friendship with God that never ends.

Sounds like just the thing man needed all along. And just the thing to fix the problems our immorality creates for us.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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