Monday, February 4, 2013

Perilous Times?... Perhaps

By Robert Lambert

     An article in the March 2008 issue of Pulpit Helps  revealed that a recent poll conducted by Zogby International and AOL Personals indicated that 44% of U.S. residents aged 20-69 years believe that marriage isn’t necessary to validate love or commitment in a long-term relationship.  Keith Brengle, director of AOL Personals told Reuters, “Across all age groups, you just don’t need a marriage certificate….”
     Responding to this outrage, Jim Mueller, president and co-founder of Growthtrac Ministries, an organization that produces Christian marriage resources, said, “A Christian marriage is between two people who have committed their lives—and their marriage—to a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That couple is making a permanent promise, a covenant that is not meant to be broken.  That makes a difference.”  Mr. Mueller believes that many of the negative values reflected in the media, celebrity lifestyles and culture have led many young adults in their 20s to adopt a light view of commitment in marriage and cohabitation before marriage.
     I used to think that this was symptomatic of the lax morals of this country.  Now, I believe that the laxity of morals in this country IS the problem, not just a symptom.  Could it be that we are in the same situation that Paul faced in his day.  Read the following passages and see if anything sounds familiar: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty (perilous times—KJV).  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people…. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a based mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.  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 practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 1:28-32).
     Again, how familiar does this sound? Is this not the state of our nation, even our world? Make a quick perusal of any national newspaper and find articles that describe situations relating to each one of the sins mentioned in these two passages.  It gives you pause to wonder just what God will do about it.  It is a remarkable fact of history that God has never let His people move too far into debauchery without doing something to remind them of His presence.  At times, His actions have been terrifying (e.g. serpents in the camp, the captivity of Israel and Judah , etc.).  It sees that God will do one of two things if we do not repent and return to His ways.  First, He can discipline us through His providence.  Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord will discipline those whom He loves.  This will be in an effort to pull us away from Satan’s influence.  Surely the prodigal son found himself being chastened by the Lord’s love.  Second, God could do as Paul describes in Romans 1:28-32, and give us up.  The text indicates that they had put God to the test and decided that He was not the kind of God they desired.  Likewise, God put them to the test and found that they were not the type of people He desired.  Just imagine, God giving us up! I cannot read the mind of God save what He has put of His mind in His word, and based on what I read and see happening today, I fear that God may be on the verge of giving us up.  Perilous times indeed

- Robert Lambert; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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