This is being written in a Western city, but it could be written anywhere, for the background is two large daily papers and three weekly news magazines that I have read in the last few hours.

What about the news and what it tells us of the world in which we live? On every hand unrest, disorder, crime, violence, poverty; everywhere tensions between man and man, race and race, nation and nation.

As I reflected upon this panorama of one day’s events and one week’s news, there came to mind the words of Jehovah to the Prophet Isaiah: “But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked” (Isa. 57:20, 21).

That the unregenerate world is acutely aware of the dangers of the existing turmoil is clearly shown by the fact that its leaders work so feverishly to reform and regulate society. There are those in the Church who see in this turmoil only evidence that “God is working out his purposes, often by revolutionary processes,” while other Christians attribute it all to Satan’s destructive hand at work across the world and feel they should redouble their own efforts to witness to the saving and transforming power of Christ as man’s only hope.

Can men reform the world? The answer is no!

Should God be blamed for the world’s wickedness? The answer again is no! True, he does work out his holy purposes despite the sinfulness of men; he even causes the wrath of man to praise him; but that does not alter the fact that the evil about us is the work of Satan in the hearts and lives of men. The Apostle John makes plain the vast distinction between Christians and the rest of the world: “We know that we are the children of God and that all the rest of the world around us is under Satan’s power and control” (1 John 5:19, The Living New Testament).

That the plight of the world is not hopeless is the reason for calling the Gospel the “Good News.” God has given man the solution to his fearful predicament and has committed to the Church the task of telling this Good News.

Strange that we find ourselves living in a time when the Church itself is stressing reform above redemption and is often found teaming up with the world in an effort to work out “solutions” for the world’s ills—without reference to Christ and his Cross.

Among the present-day theologians and teachers there are some, I feel, to whom God would say as he did through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets … who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets … who use their tongues and say, ‘Says the Lord.’ Behold I am against those who prophesy lying dreams … and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so they do not profit this people at all …” (Jer. 23:30, 31.)

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Unquestionably one of the most serious of all problems is man’s insensitivity to sin, his unwillingness to admit that the virus of evil is working all through his actions and reactions, his thoughts and desires, and that its ultimate end is death. This resisting and rejecting of God is common to the human race. Nothing less than the miracle of God’s grace can enable us to see ourselves as we really are.

Not infrequently, perhaps, we Christians play a part in maintaining the general state of unrest by substituting activity for a quiet waiting on God. We forget the admonition: “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ And you would not …” (Isa. 30:15). We forget that God is not dependent on human activity or organization. Useful as these may be, they are worth little unless subordinated to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.

Living as we do in days of tremendous change, we as individual Christians and the Church as a whole must remember that God has laid a Foundation that never changes, established a Cross that is ageless and a hope that never fades. Let us think upon God’s warning through Jeremiah: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’ ” (Jer. 6:16).

In our frantic efforts to reach young people through new “forms” or “methods,” let us be sure that we do not try to change the message—that we are all sinners and that we need, and have, a Saviour!

Jerusalem was a city of turmoil in our Lord’s day. It was under the domination of Rome, and the prevailing political cliques and religious hypocrisy, together with the ever present sickness and poverty, contributed to fear and unrest. Over that city our Lord wept, for he knew that they were rejecting their Redeemer: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matt. 23:37).

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We can well imagine our Lord’s weeping in our own day over the world he created and came back to redeem, as he sees the conditions brought about by man’s refusal to accede to God’s way of redemption!

And how we Christians need to be reminded again and again of the peril of an empty profession. “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

Profession, yes, but more is needed—there must be obedience in action!

In substituting philosophical presuppositions for revealed truth and rejecting the supernatural and the miraculous as did the Sadducees of old, the theological world and many within the Church are limiting the power of God and need to be reminded of our Lord’s words: “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29).

The turmoil of the world today is the result of spiritual darkness. Man continues to choose darkness rather than light in preferring man—his thoughts, opinions and works—to God.

But out of the turmoil there can come rest; out of chaos, peace; out of darkness, light; and out of sickness of soul and spirit the marvelous health of redeeming love. That is the message of the Gospel, which is man’s only hope now and for eternity.


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