“In my lifetime I did not care to hear that word that cut me most, and showed me my lost estate aright. I was vexed to hear my sins mentioned, and laid to my charge. I loved him best, who deceived me most; who said, Peace, peace, when there was no such thing (Jer. 5:30,31).”
[Bunyan, John. A FEW SIGHS FROM HELL: The Groans of a Damned Soul (p. 84). MAGNA GRATIA Ministries. Kindle Edition].
In this quote, John Bunyan points out an ugly and common truth – the wicked are angry when their sins are mentioned. They only want to hear flattering words from a counterfeit preacher. The Rich Man in hell (Luke 16) was of this ilk. And now, in hell, he confesses it – “I loved him best, who deceived me most.”
This of course is the trait of the RASN, and really of any unrepentant sinner. But in particular, the anger waves rage in the RASN whenever their sins are exposed and they are rebuked. Listen to John Calvin describe it:
“There are many people who appear to be strong in the faith and to burn with fervent zeal for the gospel, but they cannot abide criticism. As long as everyone tolerates them, they say what we would all like to hear. They seem to walk hand in hand with the gospel. BUT, as soon as they are challenged they turn into wild animals!
Therefore, we must allow ourselves to be harshly dealt with whenever it is necessary. This is especially true if we have not, as yet, perceived the evil that is within ourselves. We must treat very carefully and try not to excuse or defend our own actions. … We must heed the correction that we are given and not be grieved by it, seeing that it leads to humility on our part. Then we can expect to be treated with kindness.
Unfortunately, many people will not receive warning, because once they have heard a single word that displeases them, they become preoccupied with that word (of criticism/correction) and seal up their ears and harden their hearts, so that they cannot appreciate that which is then added for their profit and for their highest good. We could speak and testify of the mercy of God to them, telling them that we only seek to warn them, but they are totally deaf to all of this, simply because they have become embittered against God and have determined to reject His Word.”
And this is why an acid test which will reveal a RASN is correction, rebuke, criticism. RASN’s are never wrong. They never genuinely admit their sin and repent. They never say they are sorry (except for a deceiving show), and instead drive others to habitually say “I am sorry.” It’s never their fault.
I have seen this repeatedly in these 40 years of preaching the gospel. The wicked who parade as the finest saints in the church begin to be offended. Their offense grows into anger and accusation and eventually they leave (if they are not successful at destroying the church first). What happened? The Word of God exposed their sin, it showed who they really were. So much so that they rage at the preacher. “How dare you say that I am not a Christian!” That’s how it goes.
“As long as everyone tolerates them, they say things which sound correct. They do things which appear to be actions of a Christian. But as soon as they are challenged, they turn into wild animals!” It sounds like Calvin had been the object of the rage of these kind before!