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Sin – Our Greatly Underestimated Problem

by Bob Russell

    What is wrong with our world? An eighteen-year-old boy savagely gunned down most of an entire class of grade school children, yet there was no rational explanation other than suggesting that he was mentally ill. Really? It has been gut-wrenching to witness the anguish of grief-stricken families in Uvalde, Texas.

     People from all walks of life and political persuasions are demanding that government officials do something to prevent repeated horrific violence that seems to be overwhelming us. Unfortunately, it is not just horrific shootings. It looks like our entire civilization is coming unraveled. We are enduring an ongoing, brutal war in Ukraine, racial and political division in America, moral apostasy, and strife within religious denominations.

     What is wrong with us? More importantly, what can be done to stop the hatred and violence? How can we restore stability and morality? Some attempt to identify the problem as the easy access to guns. Others attempt to diagnose it as mental illness, while others suggest the primary issue is racial prejudice or widespread poverty.

     The Bible identifies the core problem as human depravity and prophesies that sin will escalate in the last days. Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, Cain murdered his brother Abel. Within a few generations, man’s downward spiral into sin reached such decadence that the earth was filled with violence and bloodshed. The Bible says God regretted He had created man and wiped the world clean with a flood and started over.

     We are repeating the same cycle. As in the days of Noah, most in our culture reject God’s authority. Consequently, Satan is gaining momentum. How can a young man shoot his grandmother and then randomly slaughter nineteen innocent schoolchildren unless he is demon-possessed? Jesus said the devil specializes in killing, stealing, and destroying, and this is satan’s hour – when darkness reigns.

     The Scriptures plainly teach, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 & 13).

     The Bible warns that God’s ultimate response to escalating evil will, once again, be a sudden, austere judgment on the world. The God who loves justice and has compassion for the innocent will not sit idly by forever as helpless children are slaughtered by gunfire and dismembered by abortions. The Bible teaches that their innocent blood cries out from the ground, and judgment is coming. I suspect it is coming soon.

     The next time God enacts judgment on the world, it will not be with a flood. It will be by fire. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10).

     The Bible teaches there is only one hope of salvation, and that is through the dramatic intervention of Jesus Christ. One day Jesus is going to return to earth abruptly. He will save the faithful who trust in Him yet punish the rebellious who refuse to repent and follow Him. Revelation 19:11-16 warns, “With justice, he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire…” And he will “…strike down the nations… [and] ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written, ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.’”

     What can we do in the meantime? Simon Peter answered that question in 2 Peter 3:11-12“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”

     The title of this post is borrowed from a new book written by my friend Rich Hoyer entitled, “So You Think You Understand Christianity: Teaching Christianity to a Culture That’s saturated with Misconceptions.” Rich, who pastored at the Lyndon Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, set out to write a book on apologetics that high school students could understand. He succeeded. His book is a practical and readable explanation of the basics of a Christian worldview.  In the chapter “Sin: Our Greatly Underestimated Problem,” Rich writes:

“In a materialistic culture, we minimize the depravity of sinful behavior and reframe it in temporal terms. We don’t sin; we make mistakes. We don’t lie; we misspeak. A person isn’t guilty of promiscuity and fornication; he is guilty of indiscretion or has a sexual addiction. As comedian Bill Maher said, “Everything that used to be sin is now a disease.”

     “And rather than ask the question, “is there a spiritual problem that is contributing to our personal and societal issues?” our thoroughly secularized culture offers physical and material solutions to life’s problems – therapy, education, and socio-economic, political solutions…. Yet materialistic solutions are often band-aids placed on wounds of deeper problems if the spiritual half of reality is neglected.”

“Western secular culture has rejected the truth of Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NLT2), which says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

     Rich’s book prescribes the ultimate cure for sin in the chapters “The Greatness of Jesus Christ,” ‘The Beauty of Salvation by Grace,” and “Receiving the Gift of Salvation.”

     The Apostle John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).  I recommend Rich Hoyer’s book to parents and teachers who earnestly seek to pass along the basics of Christianity to the next generation. “So You Think You Understand Christianity” can be ordered through Amazon or the Christian Restoration Association.

“If you’re not confident in the authority of the Scriptures, you will be a slave to what sounds right. – Matt Chandler.

              Bob Russell is retired Senior Minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

www.bobrussell.org

 

 




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8