The Truth about Guilt Meditations: 32. Guilt of Blindness – to the Sin of the World (2)
Rom 3:23 (JBP) For there is no distinction to be made anywhere: everyone has sinned, everyone falls short of the beauty of God’s plan.
Rom 3:23(TLB) Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal
Rom 3:23 (ESV/NKJV/NIV) all have sinned
Continuing: We continue to think on this thing about the Sin of the world. Yesterday we focused on how it affects us and is revealed in and through us individually. We used these three versions of Rom 3:23 to see how ‘sin’ is all about falling short, of not reaching our potential because we fail to follow God’s way, God’s design, and instead we live according to our own ideas which always fall short of what we could be. More often than not they also bring a bunch of negative consequences.
The Corporate Dimension: Moving from the individual perspective we now consider the ways that sin in manifested in our societies in the West. I have mentioned before that I have been reading Jonathan Sacks’ latest book, Morality, and as he has researched these things widely, may snatch some quotes from him about our modern societies in the West. He heads up four very negative changes that have been taking place in our societies and I would suggest they are all manifestations of Sin.
- The first is the change in Politics where parties demonize one another in ways hardly ever seen before. Disagreement has been acrid and truth has been a casualty of a media-manipulated world. Dissension abounds.
- The second was loss of happiness, where he highlights what an affluent yet unhappy world we have become. “In Britain, a 2018 report revealed that the number of people aged fifty and above who have received hospital treatment for drug abuse has more than quadrupled in a single decade.” But it’s not only the UK, “rates of depression among American teenagers are also rapidly rising.” And there is much more. Unhappiness abounds.
- The third was in the economics of inequality and we have noted before the enormous divisions in pay scales in business between the top and the bottom. Injustice abounds.
- The fourth was the assault on free speech, one of the blatantly more horrifying manifestations of the work of the enemy in the modern world, where pressure groups, for their own agendas rubbish others through social media. Fear abounds.
Big Picture Failure: These are pictures of the big ways our modern societies driven by godless, self-centred, driven-thinking abounds, but it is a vicious circle. Documenting the pressures through shaming and damning people through social media, at one point Sacks, referring to cyber-bullying, refers to a young man who had been posting vicious, character-assassination posts and notes, “When the interviewer began probing into his mindset, he revealed that he had been abused by his father as a child,” and the researcher noted, “it shows how zealotry is often fuelled by people working out their psychological wounds.” Sin evokes further sin.
I have often cited how, very simply, living outside God’s boundaries creates positive harm: over-eating causes obesity which causes life-threating damage to the body; excessive use of alcohol causes drunkenness and accompanying social evils, and life-threatening harm to the body; use of recreational drugs often results in a loss of reality, growing depression, further reliance on drugs and life-threatening harm to the body; excessive focus on sex leads to growing (and it does grow) use of pornography and increased desire for further sexual expression without boundaries which eventually leads to a loss of meaning and identity as well as numerous unwanted side effects – unwanted pregnancies, abortions, diseases etc. The basic biblical teaching of a person “reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7) is bang on target.
Whose Wisdom? The apostle James writes about two sorts of ‘wisdom’ (Jas 3:13-18) but it is clear that the ‘wisdom’ of the world that he is speak about is folly. Those who live according to God’s wisdom he says, will live a, “good life, by deeds done in humility,” (v.13) lives that are “pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (v.17) The ‘wisdom’ of the world is seen in other outworkings: “bitter envy and selfish ambition,” from people who, “boast about it or deny the truth,” (v.14) and who reveal, “disorder and every evil practice.” (v.16) Such “wisdom”, he adds is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (v.15) I think that last word is one that should be given prominence because I believe as we look at the fruits of these things in our communities we are seeing a breakdown, not only of family life which has been happening for the last few decades, but now a breakdown in communities and even within nations. Democracy is under major threat and so are our very ways of living.
Listen to the list of ‘sins’ that the apostle Paul warns the Colossians against (Col 3:5-8): “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed ….and filthy language,” as well as, “anger, rage, malice, slander.” Look at the lives of celebrities or leading politicians sometimes and pray for these people who exhibit these things. I separated out the latter four and suggest you watch for them the next time there is an election pending, and ask yourself about these people, “are these people righteous, are these the people I want to vote for?” and if you answer, ‘but both (all) parties are like that’, then perhaps it is time to either stop voting, or for Christians not aligned to any present party need to be set up and supported, those who will commit themselves to speaking and doing only that which is good and righteous. Much more could be said.
And Us? The point is that this is the way of the world and you and I as children of God must flee from such things, recognizing them for what they are. Pray your heart out for our communities in the Western world and, yes, recognize that there is much good, but while we tolerate these trends of godless, unrighteous, self-seeking attitudes in society we can only expect it to get worse and one of the ongoing stages in decline will involve open hostility to all things Christian. At the moment in some parts of the West, religion is acceptable and even used by politicians, but as the trends of decay continue, that will change. Repent and Pray.