Illustration: Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London
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Man’s Day and God’s Day: A thought for the week of the General Election
“Why standeth thou afar off, O Lord?” (Ps. 10:1) is a question that wells up in our hearts in these days. The Psalmist goes on in verse 4 to declare of the wicked: “God is not in all his thoughts” or “all his thoughts are, There is no God.” How true this is of our society in the United Kingdom today! God has been set aside, and “man of the earth” (v.18) has taken over. This man has his own god, his own religion and his own worshippers.
It appears to be man’s day
The religion of modern man had its origins in the Enlightenment, the exaltation of human reason and the theory of evolution. It has been gaining ground for the last one hundred and fifty years. It has infiltrated every strata of society, including the professing Church of Christ. Its more recent manifestation has been in a post-modernism, which declares that there is no such thing as objective truth. Every viewpoint is regarded as equally valid. The worshippers of this god believe in democracy, human rights, tolerance and the inclusive society.
These modernists and secularists are bent on removing all vestiges of the Judeo-Christian heritage from the nation’s culture. They will not stop until every aspect of Christian morality is supplanted by the new morality – a morality with no absolutes and without God. As Charles Moore said recently: “Socially conservative moral views are now teetering on the edge of criminality and are over the edge of disapproval by those who run modern Britain.” Racial Equality and Equal Opportunities enforce such belief and penalise those tempted to stray. Freedom of speech is under threat.
The failure of the Church
In such a climate one should be able to look to the Church as created to be the salt and light in our society. Alas, we find that the professing Church has been affected by ‘the spirit of the age’ and is hard to distinguish from the world around it. The liberal Church has taken on board the thinking of the world. She has succumbed to the deceit of Satan and has been carried along by the tide. She has drifted from her place on the rock of eternal truth.
Thankfully there is a faithful remnant who continue to stand on the rock of Scripture. They contend for “the faith once delivered to the saints”. They belong to Christ’s kingdom that has been established to overthrow the kingdom of the “god of this world”. They are conscious of being engaged in a fierce battle. Their indisputable loyalty to “the King of kings and Lord of lords” poses a threat to the modernists and the secularists. Therefore the true Christian must be silenced. Street preachers have been arrested. Ministers are likely to be sued for refusing to wed gay couples. For these secularists the moral code is reversed; sin becomes an accepted way of life. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isa. 5:20)
God’s day is coming
In the light of the present situation we could be driven to despair, but our great consolation is that man’s day will not last and God’s day is coming. What should encourage us?
Writing in 1883, Dr Horatius Bonar said: “In what is called ‘public opinion’ or ‘the spirit of the age’ we have the utterance of unrenewed humanity. That utterance is not likely to be on the side of God; for it is written ‘the whole world lieth in wickedness’. Majorities have not often been trustworthy. The present is man’s day (1 Cor. 4:3); God’s day is coming; and when it comes it will undo many a human scheme, and disappoint many a fond hope, and reverse many a sanguine idea of modern enlightenment as to self-regeneration of man and man’s earth.”
1) All human schemes have in them the seeds of their own destruction
The whole anti-God ethos of today is a fulfilment of what is predicted in Romans, chapter 1: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools…even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient” (vv.21-22, 28). History is littered with examples of great empires and cultures which descended into decay and destruction. We have ‘the decline and fall of the Roman Empire’. Is our society heading that way? As Bonar commented: “Old Rome died music-mad”.
2) The Lord Jesus Christ has been given the ends of the earth for his possession
In Psalm 2 a universal dominion is pledged to Christ, and in the interim, before the final consummation, the Father implements this pledge in part by successive outpourings of the Holy Spirit, which prove the reality of Christ’s kingdom to a sceptical world, and serve to extend its bounds among Christ’s enemies (see Psalm 110). We are to look for and pray for the intervention of God in revival. In one of the darkest days in the history of Israel we are told: “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts; he put them to a perpetual reproach.” (Ps. 78:65-66) Let us pray, with Jonathan Edwards, for the work to be carried forward by remarkable effusions of God’s Spirit at special seasons of mercy.
3) There are present judgments and a future Judgment
Although God may appear in one sense to be inactive this is not so. He is working out his purposes. His holiness never rests. He is at work in judgment. The secularist is like the wicked in Psalm 10, whose said in his heart: “I shall not be moved” (v.6) and “God hath forgotten...he will never see it” (v.11). God sees everything and judgment is upon our Church and nation. There is a famine in our land, “not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11-12). Isaiah chapter 3 speaks about the collapse of leadership and the consequent social disorder: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (v.4); “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them” (v.12).
In the previous chapter we are given a glimpse of the Judgment of the great Day of the Lord and what fearful implications for the ungodly. “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isa 3:10-21). Therefore we are exhorted: “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isa. 2:22).
The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London
By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK
(Houses of Parliament Uploaded by tm)
[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons