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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Today's news - centuries ago!

In my personal devotions, I have just commenced reading through the Letter from the apostle Paul to the fledgling church in Rome.  Of course, this is not the first, or even the second, time that I have read through that most theological of the letters.  But one of the wonderful things about the living Word of the living God is that, regardless of how often we have read a particular passage, there is something new that jumps out at us as we read that passage again!

This morning, I read Rom.1:24-32.  Here it is:

"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them

Perhaps you should read those words again!  Remember that they were written almost 2000 years ago - but they are as up-to-date as tomorrow's newspaper!  Paul is describing, quite simply, a society that has abandoned God!  Lest anyone be deceived into thinking that this was no more than the ranting of a Pharisaically-minded religious nut-case, I refer you to the works of men such as Petronius, Seneca, Juvenal, and Seutonius.  These are not familiar names to most of us, but they were all Roman  philosophers, historians, poets, and/or satirists (Seneca was actually born in Spain, but raised in Rome) who lived at the same time, or shortly after, the apostle.  Each of them, in his extant writings, fully supports Paul's grim description.

The words are a warning to all people, and all ages - but they seem to apply, particularly, to our own generation.  Whether it is the sexual immorality that has become so acceptable in so much of the western, "developed" (!) world; or the heartless ruthlessness of the so-called Islamic State and its associated groups; we see, around us, a world that seems to be dashing headlong into moral, social, and spiritual, decay and destruction.

So what can anyone do?  The answer, of course, is already provided for us.  Paul writes, further on in the same letter: "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in  Whom God put forward as an expiation by His blood, to be received by faith." (Rom 3:21-25).Christ Jesus,

You and I may not indulge in the excesses to which Paul has already referred.  But that does not make any one of us sinless - and we know it!  However, Father God has paid the penalty for your sin, and mine, in the Persona (see "Great Words" above!) of the Son.  The price is paid, and I may go free.  The prison door is open, and I may walk out.  However, I may also remain in my sin - and face His judgement!

What will you do?  I encourage you to: "Come to Him , to that Living Stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and, like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (I Peter 2:4-5).

As always, if I may be of any assistance at a more personal level, please feel free to contact me using the e-mail address at the top of the page.

1 comment:

Taking the Epistle said...

Love what you wrote here sir, here are my thoughts on a fallen world...

"Imagine the world is a photocopier and as the toner gets duller the image that you are copying will also get duller so imagine you are copying the duller image each time so every time you get an image that less resembles the original each time. That is what the world is like with sin, as sin abounds, the world that God created for his pleasure gets distorted, the original sin in Eden started a chain reaction that has continued until we have what we have now.

We are in a fallen world which is a poor resolution copy of a copy of a copy of what we were blessed with by God. Unless we have a worldwide turn to Jesus then it will continue to slide as mans wisdom is God in this world and people start with apathy towards God that turns into full blown either athiesm or agnostism."

We fail because we try to hold the world to biblical standards when we really should deal with the soul first and then once the person knows Jesus then help them with the "little things". I am as guilty as anyone for getting annoyed at the decline of the world, but I remember to hold fast to Jesus and do whatever he has in store for me.

Love your work!