…and Our Hope for the Future
By | July 11, 2016
In light of all the recent tragic events in our country, it seems a good time to share this blog.* Not long ago a friend asked me to write down for him what I think are some of the important problems our nation is facing today. Here was my response, and those from many other nations may be seeing some of the same things.
- Unbelief (failure to trust Christ)
- Self-justification, rationalization, and refusal to repent
- Nominal, self-serving belief in a God created in our image
- Loss of the sense of God’s reality and majesty
- Idolatry—putting things and people in the place of God
- Failure to recognize accountability to God as Judge
- Refusal to come to terms with our mortality
- Demonization of and disrespect for authority, starting with the Bible’s authority (but including demonization of churches and government)
- Abortion and other forms of child abuse
- Racism and lack of understanding, respect, and compassion for those with different skin
- Disrespect and lack of understanding, respect, and compassion for those in law enforcement
- Failure to give people the benefit of the doubt; tendency to rush to judgment, misinterpret, misrepresent, and condemn those whose beliefs and politics we disagree with
- Self-obsessed political leaders who habitually lie and distort reality
- Prevailing sense of entitlement
- Presumption that we’ve earned what’s in fact been graciously given to us by God and bought by the sacrifices of others
- Whining, fault-finding
- Laziness; lack of discipline and self-control
- Lack of contemplation, meditation, and serious thinking
- Functional illiteracy
- Minimization of gender differences
- Human rights abuses
- Insensitivity to or selective sensitivity to the plight of the poor and oppressed
- Treating women and children as objects rather than subjects
- Desensitization to sexual immorality
- Superficiality and lack of depth; celebrity worship; celebration of the trivial, neglect of the important
- Chronological snobbery: imagining that new ideas and standards are automatically superior to the old
- Failure to learn the lessons of history
- Worship of youth and making the elderly disposable
- Spoiling children by perpetually making them the center of our lives and theirs, resulting in their selfishness, immaturity, laziness, and irresponsibility, which they carry into and through adulthood
In summary, our problems center on our failure to recognize 1) who God is and 2) who we are… humans made in God’s image, yet marred, broken, separated from God, and hell-bound because of our sin.
“What is the matter with the world?” Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked. “Why war and all the unhappiness and turmoil and discord amongst men? …there is only one answer to these questions—sin. Nothing else; just sin.” It’s common to blame the world’s problems on lack of education, opportunity, or resources. If only we knew more, we’d surely be better. No. Our most basic problem is just…sin. The world is inhabited by people like us, sinners in need of redemption, who need the grace of God not just once, but each and every day.
I realize how negative the list is, and my comments that followed it. But it doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful for the future. True, many things going on in the United States and in the world around us are discouraging, but because of the gospel, we can be filled with godly hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). As believers, our ultimate hope is God’s promise that because of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, the day is coming when all that is wrong will be made right. That’s the blood-bought promise of Jesus!
Reveling in God’s sovereign grace, Spurgeon said, “Cheer up, Christian! Things are not left to chance: no blind fate rules the world. God hath purposes, and those purposes are fulfilled. God hath plans, and those plans are wise, and never can be dislocated.”
If Spurgeon saying “Cheer up” seems naïve, remember someone else—Jesus—said it first: “I have told you these things, so that you can have peace because of me. In this world you will have trouble. But cheer up! I have won the battle over the world” (John 16:33, CEV).
So what the world’s thirsty people need is for us, as Christ-followers, to reach out our hands and extend to them, as cold water, Christ’s offer of citizenship in another world, a coming eternal home described this way at the Book’s end:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:3-5).