“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 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 forever! Amen…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…those who practice such things…not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:21-24, 29-32)
At the heart of people’s sinful rebellion is their failure to acknowledge God or honor him as God. This is evident today as American culture grows increasingly more hostile to the idea of God’s existence. Once commonly accepted as a social norm in America, Christianity is now on the fringe of unprecedented persecution. At the heart of this cultural shift is not merely a rejection of Christian values and morals, but rather it is a rejection and denial of God himself.The mere idea of God is a perceived threat to society. The existence of God is increasingly controversial in our culture as his existence and authority stand in direct opposition to the plans and desires of man. The more mankind desires to live unrestrained lives without guilt, the more violently they will oppose the existence of God and eventually the people of God. This shouldn’t be a surprise to us. Jesus says “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” – John 15:18.
This hostility toward God isn’t a new thing. In fact, it began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve failed to trust in the sufficiency and goodness of their creator. Their rebellion against the goodness of God was in essence a rejection of God himself, setting the stage for mankind’s recurring attempts to dethrone their creator. In the midst of the Garden of Eden we see the first man and woman revolt against God’s authority and take upon themselves the duty of determining right from wrong. The consequences were disastrous. God’s version of the world where he was the ultimate authority brought peace and security, whereas Adam and Eve’s version of the world where they became their own authority brought corruption, murder, envy, strife, and deceit. This is the historical precursor to the 21st Century giving us insight into why we live in a corrupt and broken world that hates the very notion of the existence of God. The world will exchange the Glory of God for a lie, denying God and at the same time worshiping God’s creation. Paul says they claim to be wise but are in fact fools, and the Psalmist reminds us “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Ps 14:1).
This world will continue to be hostile to God, its the nature of the corruption of sin. Paul reminds us not to be conformed to the world, but rather transformed by the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2). Yet our track record isn’t very good. Thirty years ago Francis Schaeffer wrote a book entitled The Great Evangelical Disaster, expressing his concern over the Christian response to the moral cultural crisis in his day:
“The last sixty years have given birth to a moral disaster, and what have we done? Sadly we must say that the evangelical world has been part of the disaster. More than this, the evangelical response itself has been a disaster. Where is the clear voice speaking to the crucial issues of the day with distinctively biblical, Christian answers? With tears we must say it is not there and that a large segment of the evangelical world has become seduced by the world spirit of this present age. And more than this, we can expect the future to be a further disaster if the evangelical world does not take a stand for biblical truth and morality in the full spectrum of life.”
Thirty years later we find ourselves living in the wake of the great evangelical disaster. While the Christian response should have been a steadfast and immovable zeal for the truth, history reveals the real response was quiet indignation and silent conformity. Our generation must not maintain the status quo.
May we be a generation who rises up with an unwavering zeal for the glory of God and a burning, passionate concern for others salvation. May we be a people who are zealous for good deeds, driven by the transforming work of Christ who gave Himself for us to redeem us and purify us. May we be a generation who makes the most of every opportunity, always abounding in the work of the Lord, doing all things for the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.