Worldview Weekend by Clyde F. Autio
For I am the LORD, I change not;â€¦ Malachi 3: 6 (KJV)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13 8 (KJV)
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye dieâ€¦And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:â€¦she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, Genesis 3:3-6 (KJV) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world,â€¦ And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Matthew 4:8-10 (KJV)
Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Psalm 53:3 (KJV)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23 (KJV)
As one looks out upon the world it is easy to ask God, 'Why are these things happening now?' The better question would be, 'Why should they not be happening now?' Why should we question God's purposes or patience when we have followed the same rebellious path blazed by innumerable godless regimes and empires? Do we question the timing because we think we should be free from God's wrath? Was Job speaking for God in Job 4:8 (KJV) when he said; 'they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.' Or that Paul was not writing in the will of God in Galatians 6:7 (KJV); 'God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' Do we believe there are no consequences to rampant pornography, millions of babies murdered in the womb, unchecked political corruption, entertainment that exposes our children to uninhibited sex and unending destructive brutality? Were we not warned?
The world is in chaos brought about by such things as: upheavals in most of the of the its major economies, clashes between radical Islam and non-Muslim cultures occurring on every inhabited continent, international economic conferences that cannot be held with out the demonstrations of destructive radical groups, concerns about nuclear weapons being developed by rogue nations, and a fear that the world is re-entering the Cold War posture. The United States is experiencing all of the aforementioned problems, plus an internal political struggle about the role of the Federal Government relative to the intent of the Constitution. Are there historical precedents for any of these disturbances and their surrounding controversies?
All of them have their genesis in one common factor. It is called rebellion, a human disorder that has infected man from his very first days in the Garden of Eden. Rebellion can be described as any action, conduct or thought that lies outside of God's will for man. Man has never been content to follow God's commands nor to emulate Christ's example of obedient living. Man has always allowed Satan to have access to his inner being and tolerated the Prince of the World as his master. Man suffers from a blindness and short memory that not only causes him to stumble and fall, but also he cannot predict the suffering that will come from the same old consequences brought about by repeating the same old mistakes. He cannot understand that the outcome will not be any different if you do the same thing the same way.
Man's failing is an unwillingness to acknowledge that God is God and man is His creation. He has gone to great lengths to try and escape the inevitable realization that creating his own false gods, serving his manufactured idols and following his deceitful beliefs will not allow him to escape the grip of his Creator. He chafes in anger because of the God given attribute he cherishes the most, his own free-will. Unlike Christ, the object of man's service, pleasure and possessions are for his own self and not his fellow man, and certainly not His Creator. He will shake his fist at, deny and refuse to give to the Lord of Creation, his true Master, all of the glory, honor and praise required of him.
Down through the ages both the Bible and secular history is a repetitive collection of man's failure to achieve and retain success. The pattern of domination, revolution, freedom, material success, self-indulgence, hedonistic excesses, cultural collapse and then back to domination will remain an unbreakable cycle until man accepts God as his master.
Rebellion not only started in the Garden of Eden, it has been at the core of everything we know as history. It was the reason for the flood when; 'God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.' (Genesis 6:5 â€“ KJV). It was only God's mercy that has spared man more devastation; Genesis 8:21, 'â€¦and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.' But, the presence of God's long-suffering patience, mercy and unwillingness to once again bring about a world-wide catastrophe has not brought about a change in the character of man nor his goal to be his own master.
Following is a short list of examples of man's failure to recognize that his rebellion towards God has been at the core of his earthly repetitious torment. It reveals that six thousand years of history has seen God giving man many opportunities to improve his life-style, quality of life and self-determination. Yet, each example reveals the same failure mode of man rebelling against the God of those blessings:
The famous biblical patriarchs God sought out and entrusted to be the leaders of His people, fondly remembered for their heroic deeds, led lives of deceit and unfaithfulness. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob used lies to gain their goals and to protect their well-being.
God placed Joseph in Egypt, as the providing benefactor who would save Israel from starvation. Both the Egyptians and Israelites forgot Joseph's example of faithfulness and service and rebelled against God. Other than his youthful arrogance, Joseph lived to serve His Master.
After 400 years of living in Egypt the Lord chose Moses to lead the Israelites from the horrors of slavery. The Israelites exhibited no faith in their God, or their future, as Moses and Aaron negotiated with Pharaoh through the devastating miracles against Egypt. They could only squirm in their daily ordeals and beg for more straw and lower brick quotas. Finally, at the appointed hour God gave them a sign of kindness when their first-born were spared by the over flight of the death angel. The grief-stricken Egyptians gave them their gold jewelry to hurry them on their Exodus journey.
God's benevolent destruction of the Egyptian army, providing fresh water, daily feedings of manna, and personal promises of a future Kingdom could not assuage the rebellious faithlessness of a defiant Exodus nation that dwelled on complaints of being recaptured, periods of thirst and hunger, building false idols and fear about claiming God's promised Kingdom
At the end of Samuel's rule as a judge the people chose to end God's rule by judges. They demanded their own king. Samuel, in disgust, turned to God who told him that they were rebelling against Him and not Samuel. God said let them have a king, but the king would take their sons and daughters, the best that they had and instead of serving them would demand their servitude. God was right; Saul succumbed to his own greatness and fell in dishonor by rebelling against God. An oft repeated example of repressive leadership.
This brought another king, David, who was the apple of God's eye, even though he rebelled against the law by committing adultery and trying to hide it by having the woman's husband killed. God mercifully spared David from death, a required judgment of the law.
For the remainder of the Old Testament period, approximately 1,000 years, Israel was in and out of bondage numerous times, habitually involved in wars and regularly succumbed to the practice of false religions. All of these chaotic and devastating events were the result of rebelling against the laws God had set before them.
The same cycle is seen in the New Testament amongst the various sects of the Jewish religion, enmity towards Christ, persecution of the apostles and disciples, and the failure of the churches in Asia to remain faithful to their first love.
For the last two thousand years history is recorded by reviewing the various eras, regimes, empires and religious movements through the same rebellious life cycle noted for the thousands of years in the Old Testament.
The Twentieth Century is noted for being a period of time when despotic rulers have killed more of their own people than were killed fighting their enemies. That century saw more government brutality through the rise and fall of numerous dictatorial and oligarchy governments than any other century. Yet, man has not changed or learned about the failings of his rebellious excesses or domination.
And, today we appear to be experiencing the collapse of what some would call man's greatest opportunity for self-governing. A government set forth by what the great British intellectual, G. K. Chesterton called a creed. Prior to the founding of the United States, which was based upon a shared belief, nations had been founded on the basis of race, or by the power of kings or emperors who accumulated lands and the peasants who inhabited those lands. But, by God's providence the United States was blessed to set forth its own Constitution as a contract between the governed and those governing.
All of the aforementioned failings can be wrapped up with a very short recap of the essence that has brought about all of the grief, misery, death, destruction, terror and turmoil. Man has never been able to live according to ten simple laws. In reality, there are no new laws to break and none of the old ones have been conquered. With all of the evil it still boils down to just those ten. God has repeatedly said; 'Keep my commandments, and live;' Proverbs 7:2 (KJV); 'Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live:' Amos 5:14 (KJV); 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heartâ€¦ this do, and thou shalt live.' Luke 10:27,28 (KJV). Such a simple solution for living free. Even now, none of us are capable of following those simple guidelines. Two things have never changed, God in his infinite holiness and righteousness and man in his total depravity.
There is a desire to roll back the trend in the United States and thus return to the nation as it was at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The media, the Internet, the politicians, the culture and even the church are all a part of the problem. But none of them are prepared to step forward to be the salt and light leadership necessary to bring about such a change. Each one is caught up in their own vested interest and is intent on fulfilling their own rebellious goals.
The first thing that must happen is the restoration of our desire to have God in no less of a roll in all of those institutions that He had when the nation was first formed and was the world's economic, social, industrial and evangelism powerhouse. Unfortunately, most of the aforementioned institutions have the goal of removing God from the culture and replacing Him by their own religion of humanism, atheism or a new gospel. A Godly nation is a blessed nation; 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;' Psalm 33:12 (KJV).
But, sadly even the American church and Christian institutions are departing from traditional Christianity and appear to be in a state of scriptural disrepair. The nation has the greatest access in history to theological education, 'Christian' publications and public access through all forms of electronic media. Sadly, all of this 'learnin' appears to be separating theology from prayer and old fashioned preaching. Through the education and writing channels there has been a trend towards enlightenment methods and a proliferation of other gospels that has brought confusion to the laity as to whether there should be confidence in the questioning of traditional biblical beliefs and Marxist social justice teachings. Unfortunately, once strong traditional Christian institutions are willing to share their podiums with those espousing theories that would destroy the Constitution and further erode the nation. Regrettably, the traditional Christian bulwark is being maintained by numerous parachurch organizations that are standing for the historical and traditional values once the domain of the church.
Today's most popular game in the United States is the Blame Game. The rule for playing that game is to identify a problem, any problem will do, and then point to some other person, or entity, that you can blame for creating that problem. We 'good' citizens today enjoy pointing our fingers at the president, the congress, the courts and most definitely the very liberal news media and the decadent entertainment industry. If we could just control them and set them on the right path, we believe that all would be well. Not so fast! None of those current occupants were there when the nation started to fall into the current state of disrepair. So maybe they aren't the real culprits. But, who else could it be, if it isn't those pesky politicians who are trying to take away our freedoms, security and then tax our wealth?
There is only one common factor throughout the list of examples of man failing to uphold God's Law and to live so that he would fulfill his divine purpose of exalting Godâ€“ us. We all fell on that fateful day when Eve picked the apple and ate of that fruit. We inherited what biblical scholars call Total Depravity. It is for that reason that we are not able to help ourselves to live righteously and therefore to enjoy the blessing of seeking good and eschewing evil. Surrendering to the one who conquered death for us can only do that.
Even though we are sensitive to the many obvious forms of today's rebellion, whether it be politicians ignoring the Constitution; schools failing to properly educate students; entertainment promoting illicit lifestyles; churches seeking after other doctrines, gospels and music; marital infidelity; courts protecting pornography; sexual abuses in churches; economic chicanery and corruption; or just breaking the speed limit we are not willing to confess our own failings and to be the person who starts the revival.
The nation did not get to this state during the last three or four elections. It has been eroding for nearly two centuries. We spend too little time considering our vertical relationship with God and too much time making horizontal judgments about how much better we are than our fellow man or how our neighbor has more than he should. If we were intent on seeking God's wisdom, we would realize that the large failings of our culture and the devastation to the Constitution started out as mere little cracks which were tolerated, quite often by well meaning people who thought it was worth a small Constitutional encroachment to give unconstitutional aid to some party. That is the precise point where the principle of constitutional fidelity should have been applied.
Where were the citizens when the Federal Reserve was created? The groundwork for such Constitutional transgressions is well planned and takes place years before the final deed is enacted. The removal of prayer from school did not start with the Supreme Court in 1964, it started years earlier in the hearts and minds of men who had a diminished view of the importance of God in the culture. The legalization of abortion did not have its birth in the Supreme Court in 1972. It was the natural outgrowth of a progressive eugenics program started years before.
We became an apathetic and spiritually lazy culture that was willing to let small things slip by and we were only going to worry about the big things. Unfortunately, we failed to realize that it was not the moles that ruined the beautiful grass, it was the grubs the moles were seeking for food. Those who raise fruit soon learn that the very earliest sprays are the most productive. They know that without early treatment the harmful insect creeps into the fruit bud and takes up residence by the time the fruit is starting to grow. The Bible does not speak of little sins. Only a little god would tolerate little sins. Yet, we are content to just try a sample, which is all the devil needs to hook us for the bigger things. That has been the problem in the United States.
The Progressive movement that is overtaking the United States had its inception at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The church contributed to the cultural demise when it decided to leave the political realm of life to the world. Consequently, the church stood by as the government enslaved large segments of the population by allowing them to surrender their personal responsibilities in favor of government care. Not all slaves wear chains and not all who wear chains are slaves. We did not heed Benjamin Franklin's admonition: 'I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.' The church should have seen that a spiritless government would be an enslaving government. Who is the world and what would it be like, without the church? It is what we now have and regret.
If we want to restore the United States to its greater days, we will have to look to God and be prepared to be the vanguard for a revival to rebuild the church, the culture and last, but certainly not least, ourselves. No one knows the limit of God's patience and longsuffering with individuals, tribes, cultures, nations or even the world. God's people should be more concerned about reaching the unsaved than worrying about their own plight. There are numerous reports of low-hanging fruit, prepared by God for His harvest of souls, being reaped in the area of the tenth parallel region of Africa. Victory will only come through the Bible and not through bullets. God is challenging us to be active stewards of His vineyard in the harvest of souls and not living with the apathy associated with those who are only renting or temporarily passing through.
God's message of Genesis 1:26 (KJV); 'let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.', is to His people and not to the world at large. That command is not to the corporate church, as it is popularly known, but to that Church whose members form the Body of Christ. The members of that Church are the ones who should have the glorification and exaltation of God as their primary service in life. It is they who should provide the salt and light leadership for the well being of their brothers, sisters and neighbors.
One recent event is adequate to determine whether any particular church is relevant to the furtherance of the Kingdom and the shaping of the culture. That would be a church's response to the recent health care legislation. Any church that did not build into its corporate worship service time to offer petitions to God that He would divinely intercede in that particular piece of legislation is not culturally relevant. Why? Because those churches did not see it to be their responsibility to:
Plead with God to stop the federal government from becoming a primary agent in the continued practice of murdering infants in the womb. Ask that God not permit a law that would lower the life expectancy of its citizens suffering from the ravages of cancer, as is the case in those countries that have experienced such 'health care'. Protect the God-given liberties and freedoms that were acknowledged in the Bill of Rights. Shield families from the overwhelming financial upheaval to be brought about by exorbitant taxes. Prevent government bureaucrats from intruding into their members' health care decisions. If the church is not willing to accept the responsibility for being God's earthly protector of its members, and neighbors, who will assume that role? Is that not the good and faithful servant responsibility? The restoration of good government that will rule according to the Constitution is a role for God's people, the good fruit. Christ told us in Matthew 7:18 (KJV); "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
The concept of the church separating from politics is a frivolous and irresponsible position. There is no part of a Christian's life that is not subject to godly living and service. In all areas of our lives we are to glorify God by our response to the world in which we live. Even the act of voting is one that should be undertaken with the intent of bringing glory to God. On 16 April 1781, Samuel Adams was quoted in the Boston Gazette, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." If God was providentially involved in bringing forth this nation and its form of government, would He not expect the citizens to honor what He brought about? Or do we believe, as do the evolutionists, that this government just happened to come about from some form of unknown 'Big Bang' that picked up a lot of European Christians and planted them in North America where they decided to try something new?
So, yes, the United States is in trouble, but we are a part of the problem and have to become a part of the solution. Satan tempted both Eve and Christ. But notice, in the opening Scriptural quotations, the difference between their two responses. Which response will you give today? God is no respecter of persons or nations, so the time for us to turn to God is now. The storm clouds exist because we have asked for the government that we have by voting for the people we have voted for, the churches that we have because of the other gospels we have listened to, the entertainment we have because of the events we supported, the schools we have because of our refusal to monitor the content of their teaching, and finally, the times that we are having because we did not have the will to put God first in our lives. We all have sinned, but thankfully we have an Advocate who lived a life and died a death in whom we can trust to remove that sin.