Summary: God’s holiness reveals man’s sin; His grace forgives. But first the man must come to a stark realization.
It is the aim of the enemy of our souls and therefore the way of this passing world, to blur the lines. To fade black and darken white until all is gray and diluted and washed out. To render truth a matter of irrelevance and to diminish personal identity until the individual is measured as insignificant. To harden men’s minds and hearts with so much jaded information and deception of the senses that we can no longer reach heights of joy nor depths of grief.
This is the demonic ambition that ultimately manifests in governments putting the whims of the state over the rights of the people. In the difference between the sexes being decried as evil until you have men acting more like women and women more like men so that no one’s sensitivities will be offended by any show of manly strength or feminine grace.
Now in tracing this trend back to Satan I am not simply echoing Flip Wilson’s “The devil made me do it” line.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians (2 Cor 4:3,4) “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
When black and white are abolished and expression of absolute truth is forbidden, then my ideas of right and wrong, although diametrically opposed to yours, are just as valid and acceptable as yours, and if you disagree then you are bigoted and intolerant and unsocial and therefore unwelcome.
Therefore, and this is the proof of who is behind it all, if you tell me I am unacceptable to God because of sin and that there is only one way to remedy the situation, I can counter with my own belief that a loving God would never punish someone eternally, and if I am conscientious in my work and generous with my wealth and letting others be what they will, no loving God would reject me when the time comes, and since my outlook is so much less judgmental than yours, and so much more positive and optimistic than yours, I must be right or at least more right than you, and therefore this gospel message of yours is to be treated with derision if not ignored altogether.
There was nothing fuzzy or unclear to Isaiah in the vision that came to him in the year of King Uzziah’s death.
“… I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.”
I think possibly the most difficult task for today’s preacher, maybe more in America than anywhere, is to find the words that will break through the haughtiness and self-pride and spirit of self-sufficiency that has been bred into all of us, just by virtue of being born and raised in the greatest country the earth has ever known.
Who are our heroes? They are the ones who get the job done. They survive insurmountable odds. They come up against the bad guy fearlessly, face to face, and take him down.
What has the trend been in the action movies over the past decade or more? The good guy undergoes physical torture and punishment that no real human being could possibly withstand, and then with one final burst of willpower and cunning and strength he deals the final blow that wins the day. Then he pretty much gets up, brushes off the dust, kisses the pretty girl and strides off into sunset with nary a limp.
We’d all like to think, wouldn’t we, that if pushed to our limits we’d take a bold stand, muddle through, survive the odds, dream the impossible dream, reach the unreachable star.
But quite frankly, we can’t do much at all. In real life it doesn’t take a great deal to knock us off balance and then keep us down. A little bacteria, a little virus, a house fire, one angry and violent person, the betrayal of a loved one, the clutches of an unfair employer, the list is longer than your arm of things that can instantly or slowly and painfully put you in a prison of physical disability, emotional despair, mental anguish, that can keep you hopelessly bound with no help in sight.
And this all sounds very dark and dreary. But something we need to understand clearly before God can be any help to us at all, is that without Christ we can do nothing, are nothing. We need to break out of the gray fog the enemy has successfully surrounded us with and stop telling ourselves that everything is not as bad as it seems and we are really not such bad sorts after all, that we’re only human and humans make mistakes but if we chin up and walk through the storm with our head up high and not be afraid of the night everything will come out good.