Several weeks ago on the radio the discussion of religion came up. Radio hosts should stay away from the topic of religion because they do not know what they are talking about! The topic was Pat Robertson. Pat Robertson made the statement the fires in California were God’s judgment because of Planned Parenthood. Katrina hit New Orleans because of same-sex marriage (even though that was not legal at that time). The radio host went on to say that if this were true (as I have said before) then why didn’t the French Quarter flood? The host went on to say that the God he believes in does not inflict judgment on the earth due to our sin. He is wrong.
Katrina did not hit our city because we are worse sinners than anyone else. Katrina, as well as forest fires and drought, floods and tornadoes, are due to the fact that not only are we sinners but that our sin is the cause of God’s judgment on the earth. Romans 8:22 says: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
The host went on to entertain callers who were stating who they thought God was. The Biblical ignorance is sad. Many of us remember growing up without locked doors or fear of our lives. Many wish we could return to those days. Though there were people who did not believe in God, there were still many families who raised their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. For example in my teen years, there were many Presbyterian churches in our city that had between 400 and 500 members apiece! God still played a large part in our culture. What went wrong? Parents quit teaching their children about the things of God and in a space of a few years, we are Biblically ignorant. This reminds me of what we read in Judges 2:10: “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”
Is it any wonder then, that some people would ask what kind of God would bring judgment on people through nature? They went on to say that we are good people and that God has a live and let live attitude toward us. As I said in a sermon several weeks ago, if we were good we would not need a Savior but we are not good. Matthew 15:17-19 says: “Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” We are not good people. We are sinners saved by the undeserved grace of God.
This brings me to another point. Sin is rarely if ever mentioned today not only in churches but in society. We know as Jesus said in Matthew 15 the state of our heart. We are guilty of rage, anger, selfishness, lustfulness, etc. If we are no longer sinners, how do we define aberrant behavior? When Josh Duggar confessed his sexual addiction, a secular psychologist said that he needed help beyond the spiritual guidance the church could offer. He said that he had a mental illness. He is not mentally ill, he is a sinner. Now I will say that there is such a thing as mental illness but all addictions, sexual or otherwise, are not necessarily mental illness. It is caused by sin. We should not categorize people with real mental illness with our sinful behavior. In Ephesians 4:31 the apostle Paul said: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” How many people have been senselessly murdered by someone’s rage and anger? How many feelings have we hurt through our rage and anger? How do you explain road rage? Again, it is sinful anger.
Another explanation for our aberrant behavior is that we are victims. If a person commits a heinous crime we often hear people say that he/she is a victim of their upbringing and/or his environment. In other words they are not responsible for what he did. We could all be victims. We could say that we have been affected by our upbringing or our past but that does not discount the fact that we are sinners. So what is the answer to the ever-growing violence in our society? I can give you many verses from the Bible and I will give you John 3:16 and 17: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
See you Sunday.