"Being Past Feeling"

O. C. Birdwell
Columbia, Tennessee

The apostle Paul warned the Ephesians about the danger of walking as the ungodly people walked (Eph. 4:17). He said that they (the Gentiles), "being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness" (v. 19).

These people, "being past feeling," walked in ignorance, alienation, and vanity of mind because of the hardening of their hearts. To such people God will send "a working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but bad pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:11,12).

One "past feeling" is pathetic indeed. There is hope for one as long as he has not reached spiritual insensibility. But when he has become callous and hardened in heart to the extent that no response whatsoever is given to the preaching of the gospel of Christ, a sad and almost hopeless situation exists. Do you suppose any today are "past feeling"?

"Being past feeling" may cause continuation in worldliness. Many love the association of the devil, and his servants more than God and His people.

Sectarianism is the result of men "being past feeling." They feel no restraint in relegating the New Testament to the back seat. "Will worship" is prevalent and replaces the will of Christ. Men's names are worn; their doctrines are obeyed. Hearts are hardened against the truth.

Some at Corinth were "past feeling." They were "puffed up" concerning sin (I Cor. 5). Demas loved the "present world" (2 Tim. 4: 10). The Laodiceans were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17). They were so far "past feeling" that they could not see their actual condition.

In the nineteenth century men in the church of the Lord contended for missionary societies and instrumental music in worship because they were "past feeling" any respect for the authority of the scriptures.

Modern day innovators are "past feeling" that anything is wrong when churches donate to missionary and benevolent societies. They see nothing wrong with church camps, socials, dining halls, recreational facilities, or a church chorus (they are still opposed to a choir!). One can get no response from such people with an appeal for an open investigation of the scriptures. They are "past feeling" that the scriptures are a complete guide and feel free to encourage the church to act in areas where the Bible is silent.

Our plea is for men to feel a proper respect for the authority of the scriptures. Let the church be what Christ intended it to be, and let it do what the New Testament authorizes. Let us again call upon all men to speak as the "oracles of God" (I Pet. 4: 11).

March 11, 1971