Archive for June 13th, 2014

The Wrath of God

June 13th, 2014

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Genesis 19:29

In a passage such as chapters 19 and 20 of Genesis, when we see some of the ugliest behavior of the patriarchs, we should be realize and consider the sinfulness of the world we live in. In this day and age, when almost everything is permissible, and where the very idea of the wrath of God is offensive to many, we should especially sit up and take note.

The more sinful society becomes, the more convinced people are of their right to be sinful. God’s patience should bring us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), and for some people it does, but for others they are emboldened in their sin until there seems to be no limit to how far their sinful imaginations run. Paul wrote the proverb of his day, “A little leaven works through the whole batch of dough” (Gal 5:9), and sin permeates our hearts. It is not just one sin that we come to do more often, but it opens the gate for other sins.

Billy Graham commented not long ago:

“Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

She was probably thinking of a passage in Ezekiel where God tells why He brought those cities to ruin. “Now this was the sin of … Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, NIV).

I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

Of course, there are many things still good about America, and the whole of world society. Technology is not all bad, and neither is every heart selfish and unconcerned, but still serious problems exist. We cannot just point the finger at one culture, for today the world society as a whole needs to repent. Isaiah, Josiah, Ezra, and Daniel repented not only of their own personal sins, but of the sins of their nation as well (Isaiah 6:5, 2 Kings 22:11-13, Ezra 9:6-7, and Daniel 9:20). We need modern day leaders who will also have the courage to repent, not only for themselves, but for the sins of the whole of our world society.

When the pulpits of churches have ceased to call the people of God to repentance, when the kindness of God is preached without the counter doctrine of His holiness and wrath, when personal responsibility and the judgment of God against sin are neglected doctrines, we mock God and His Word and His holiness. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8).

For all who repent and turn from sin and self and turn to God through Christ, there is cleansing and renewal of the Holy Spirit. But it does require that we take sin seriously, that we recognize our failures, that we let the Spirit do His work of conviction and bring us to true repentance. The constant call of the prophets was people to return to God, and if they did He would forgive and cleanse and renew. This same call is for us today.

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).

The judgement of God against sin is so that purity may remain, that those who repent and turn to Him may flourish. There is coming a final judgment where all the world will be judged, when the injustices that are done here are ended. Christ shall return, and our hearts should be focused on that future promise. We must seek to turn to Him today, to look forward to His coming, and live out our faith in our daily decisions.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will  be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be dilligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (2 Peter 3:10-14).

Gleanings from Genesis , , ,