A Sober New Year

2015 brought changes to the world. Most of these changes send a chill down the spines of Bible-believing Christians as we see the growing hostility toward the Lord. We recognize that persecution no longer confines itself to Middle  Eastern and Communist countries, but that American Christians can expect to suffer.

Yes, we’re grieved that five Supreme Court justices had the hubris to redefine  marriage. Certainly, we’re sickened that Planned Parenthood sells body parts of the babies they abort. Most assuredly, we see that the nuclear arms deal with Iran promises disaster for Israel. And no amount of political action can reverse western civilization’s obvious determination to rebel against God to the point of self-destruction.

But rather than wringing our hands helplessly, let’s view these horrible events as reason to  proclaim the Gospel. Human depravity now flaunts itself unapologetically, leaving little doubt that everyone has turned away from God. Very much like Israel and Judah at the time of the Babylonian Captivity, Europe and America have rejected our Christian heritage. Daniel’s great prayer of confession sounds remarkably like a prayer that Christians ought to pray today:

I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. ~~Daniel 9:4-10 (ESV)

Notice that despite Israel’s stubborn rejection of God’s Word, Daniel acknowledged the Lord’s capacity to extend mercy and forgiveness. He extends that mercy and forgiveness though the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. ~~Colossians 1:19-20 (ESV)

After atoning for our sin by dying an excruciating death on the cross, Jesus rose from His grave! His resurrection promises eternal life to those who place their trust in Him.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ~~1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (ESV)

The forgiveness of sin must be proclaimed to a society that celebrates its own wickedness. The general course of history will continue gravitating toward evil until Jesus returns to judge the earth, so please don’t misunderstand me to suggest that proclaiming the Gospel will produce massive social reform. But as society goes from bad to worse, people need to hear that Jesus offers hope. Please,  my fellow believers, recognize the urgency of making the Gospel known while we still have the liberty to share it!

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