The Lord tells us through the pen of the Apostle Paul: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent [that is, without self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Where is the thinking Christ-believer who can legitimately deny that the above indictments aptly describe the society as well as the time in which we live?
In the aftermath of the Reformation celebration, we append to this “Cross Purposes” feature a brief but timely commentary by Pastor Fleischer. — Editor
When will They ever Learn?
“Pope John Paul II whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case.” Read More
Furthermore, the same apostle said to the elders of Ephesus: “For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). Who is the faithful Christ-believer who–standing in awe of the Word of God and the manifold grace of God–will deny that that prophecy of St. Paul which came to pass in the early church is being fulfilled also in our day?
Can any true disciple of the Lord who trembles at the Word give a good reason why– except that the Heavenly Father is gracious and does not desire the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his wickedness and live–the Heavenly Father should stay the deserved judgment upon the nation and the church at large?
Immorality common to mankind since the fall into sin is boldly flaunted today. In times past when there was still some sense of shame, gross immorality was for the most part practiced behind closed doors. Today there is little shame but rather an increasing loss of moral conscience! Compounding the evil in our society and, in fact, greatly contributing to the present state of affairs is the church at large which—having rejected to a great extent the authority of the Word of God–has lost its moral authority.
In the face of the current political deterioration and increasing loss of civility even in the highest echelons of authority, well-meaning people are calling for a turning back to God. In the face of the rampant ungodliness that has engulfed our society, we commend any concern and every effort to return the nation to godly principles.
…To the God of Scripture!
However, unless such a call is a call to return to the God of Scripture, it lacks substance. It is a futile call (1 Kings 18: 20-29).
Furthermore, Holy Scripture makes the case that a return to a “god of choice” for relief or blessing is, in fact, part of the problem plaguing churches and the nation. Returning to a “god of choice” is idolatry (see Isaiah 44). Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord God promise to look with favor on idolatry! To the contrary, the Lord frequently chastised Israel because of idolatry (Exodus 32, Ezekiel 23:39) and punished the heathen nations.
A true return to God is, first of all, a return to the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There is no other God! The gods of Judaism, of Mormonism, of the Jehovah’s Witness, of Islam—in that each denies the deity of Jesus Christ–are not the living Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier God.
Furthermore, a return to the true God is by way of repentance—daily repentance. Repentance in the full sense of the word is heartfelt sorrow over sin. The just and holy God is offended by every thought, word, and action that is contrary to His holy will! An essential of true repentance is faith in the forgiveness of sins through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ from which then flow the fruits of repentance—a sanctified life—to the glory of God the Father!
Christ-believers living in this or any other country live in a temporary country as Abraham did who looked for a better country (Hebrews 11). As Abraham, so Christ-believers await deliverance to the “sweet and blessed country, the home of God’s elect” (TLH #613).
In the meantime, we will engage ourselves in exercising concern through every legitimate political and social means, through speaking and living truth, and by praying for the nation in its perils. We will stand firmly upon the Scriptures and witness to Christ. But we will not promote nor join in the call for a return to an idolatrous “god of choice.”
Friends in Christ, the private prayer of one who calls upon the true God through our Lord Jesus Christ will accomplish (as God wills) what a million prayers to an idol can never accomplish.
Furthermore, as we live unto Him who will bless a nation for the sake of His people in it, we will keep our eyes focused on heaven. Our prayers will be directed to Him to guard and keep us in the face of the great physical and spiritual dangers confronting us.
We will pray our dear Lord Jesus to keep us in the faith and to protect His Church until the day of our grand and glorious deliverance when we shall join Abraham in the better country.
We will witness to the love of Christ and the power of His cross as we witness to those about us, preaching repentance and remission of sins.
What ultimately carries the day is truth, and the truth is that calling on a god of choice is not the way either of sparing a nation or of saving a soul.
The truth is that our help is in the name of the living Lord who issues the invitation, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify Me” (Ps. 50:15).
Yes, “…Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name…” (Ps. 96:7-8). Commit the cause, whatever it may be, to Him who was and is and ever shall be—the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost! Whoever turns to Him shall not be ashamed or turned away from the throne.