Summary: It is foolish to talk about the good old days of the church. The church never did live in good days, and never has, for the present evil age covers all days from Paul's time to ours

Sam Levenson told of how his father took the 6 children, chained

hand to hand, through a museum. Suddenly, in irritation at the

slowness of their progress, he said, "Look kids, if you're gonna stop

and look at everything, you ain't gonna see nothin." Anyone who

has been in a large museum can understand the paradox. When my

father-in-law and I had only a few hours to get through all the

buildings in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., we had

to practically run. We felt the full force of the fatherly wisdom, and

we knew we couldn't stop to see everything, or we wouldn't have

seen anything.

The Bible is even more vast in its treasures than any museum,

and we don't have an infinite amount of time to examine them, and

so this truth applies to our study of the Bible. Grace and peace are

two of the greatest treasures that can be found in the Word of God,

but we are not going to stop and look at them now. We are going

right to verse 4 which is an exciting verse because it gives us a view

of life from Paul's perspective. This verse shows us that the

Christian view of life is a paradox, for it is both pessimistic and

optimistic. The Christian can combined these two opposites in his

mind at the same time. We want to examine them one at a time to

see how this can be so. First let's look at-


Paul refers to this present evil world, or this present evil age. The

Greek word is aeon, and it refers to the world as viewed from the

standpoint of time and change. It is this present transitory era. It is

present as distinct from the original creation, and the final state of

things. The present world is disordered, and not the kind of world

that was, or will be.

Keep in mind that Paul was talking about the first century. It is

foolish to talk about the good old days of the church. The church

never did live in good days, and never has, for the present evil age

covers all days from Paul's time to ours. If you wish you would have

lived in Paul's day, you will only be wishing yourself back to an evil

age. If men could travel back in time, no matter where they stopped,

they would still in be the present evil age where Satan reigns in the

hearts and minds of rebel men.

That sounds like kind of pessimistic view of life, and the reason it

sounds that way is because it is. Every generation of men have added

another chapter to the history of evil.

My granddad viewing earth's worn cogs,

Said things are going to the dogs;

His granddad in his house of logs

Swore things were going to the dogs;

His granddad in his old skin togs

Said things were going to the dogs.

Author unknown

There is no way to get back to the good old days, because they are

nowhere back there. The good days are all out ahead, for the best is

always yet to be for the believer. Paul was a positive thinker, but he

was also a realist. You do not have deny the reality of evil to be an

optimist. Christian Science has tried that road, and the latest

statistics tell us they are failing. You cannot deny the reality of this

present evil world and fool most people any of the time. Evil is real,

and the Christian who is wise and honest and not pretend it isn't so.

Paul believed in evil and in its power. He suffered much pain

and sorrow because of the opposition of men, and that was not even

the worst of it. The real battle was not against flesh and blood, but

against principalities and powers and spiritual forces of evil. Paul

warned believers of many dangers of life, and he urged them to put

on the whole armor of God. The Christian does not dwell in a

paradise, but on a battlefield. In any war there are casualties on

both sides, and Christians do suffer in the battle of light against

darkness. The point I am getting at is that the Christian does have a

legitimate pessimistic perspective. It is a present evil world, and all

around us the forces of evil are active, and they often succeed in

making life miserable for the children of God.

It was Paul's honest awareness of the reality of evil that made him

so concerned about his converts. He was writing this very letter

because of the threat of evil to destroy the fruit of the Gospel. In

chapter 6 he urges them to bare one another's burdens, and to

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