Yesterday, December 31, I read the last chapter of Revelation, in my read through the Bible. Today I start again at the beginning, Genesis 1. But today I reflect on that last amazing chapter.
“There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5
Wonderful words to close out the good news of the Bible and the year 2013.
But I am thinking of verse 11 and this New Year’s day, the start of 2014 and where we are going in the “new world” and what American society is becoming. “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Rev. 22:11 They say you can’t legislate morality. But I’m seeing that you can legislate immorality. Of course these days morals are in the eye of the beholder. But there are those do hold to the concept of God-given morals. And the fear is for the future of a society when immorality is codified into law as it is now in America.
Homosexuality is now not only socially acceptable but is a legal form of marriage blessed by the United States Supreme Court (Hollingsworth v. Perry). It is not that it is just a matter is treating all human beings with dignity and respect, it is now a matter of accepting a form of sexual sin that has always been called sin, in society and in the Bible, now called “normal” and acceptable and legal and protected. What other sin has reached legal protected status? Adultery? Stealing? Lying? Drunkenness? Murder? Not yet at least. Woe to a society that starts down this road of legalizing and protecting sins.
Now the State of Colorado has legalized the “recreational” use of pot smoking. So intoxication has been legalized. Those of us who have escaped the clutches of this so-called recreation and variations, the destructive habit of wasting one’s mind and human resources, know better, and users are laughing at you legislators who were hood-winked into passing this law, just so they could get high with an easier conscience. Most of us know better that there is little difference between the mind altering high of cannabis and that of alcohol. That is the highs may be different but one still gets one’s mind altered and out of focus. And the Bible decries against being drunk with wine for good reason. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Eph. 5:18 The reason is because it is not a good thing for people to be out of control by getting high or drunk. (I’m sure if in that first century pot smoking was common as wine drinking Paul would have mentioned it in the verse as well, but it is included under the term “dissipation.”) God doesn’t think this is good behavior and as a practical issue nature teaches this too. When you’re out of control bad things happen.
But should Christians care what happens to the health of society? I’m thinking of the verse mentioned above, verse 11, “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Should Christians care that society seems to be on autopilot speeding for the cliff? Believers sure seem to be out numbered in the war on sin, otherwise how could such laws have been passed? Christians are still out there passing on their faith one person at a time. The Holy Spirit is still at work saving souls one new birth at a time, just as He did from the day of Pentecost. And as we see from those last chapters of Revelation those souls will overcome by the blood of the Lamb who will usher in His glorious kingdom where “There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” Rev. 22:3-4
In the meantime, however, Christians still have to make their way in this world struggling with this flesh and blood as they try and figure out how to live Godly lives in the midst of this fallen world and make an impact for Christ. But we have Jesus to imitate and can approach all individuals in love as Jesus did the woman caught in adultery. And what were His words to her? “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” John 8:11 He hated sin and its effects on humanity more than anyone (Luke 13:34) but He loved more than anyone and forgave. That is the Gospel, through His blood we have forgiveness and are free from being enslaved to sin. Through His blood, resurrection, the gift of the Spirit, we can overcome that slavery to sin. That was the message of Pentecost and remains the message today.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]