Taking in the news on a daily basis makes one thing absolutely clear: the overwhelming majority of people have no fear of God and no concept of being answerable to His holiness.
- Lawlessness abounds in the streets of America and the only solution inept and corrupt politicians can offer us is to make it easier for criminals to kill us by stripping the rights of law abiding citizens to own and possess the means to defend themselves.
- Despite video evidence of abortionists creating an industry for selling baby body parts (making Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein seem like a children’s story) our government continues to send nearly a half billion dollars a year to Planned Parenthood. Kermit Gosnell was proud of his house of horrors and now we have the late Dr. Klopfer (abortionist) who just happened to have 2,246 “preserved fetal remains” in his Illinois home. Is anyone sorry or aghast? No, as a matter of fact, we have young women shouting how proud they are to have had abortions, and a governor (Virginia’s Ralph Northam) who wants to expand abortion to include infanticide.
- Then there is social media. The unbridled hate and vitriol there is nauseating. From the doxing, profanity, and sheer malicious contempt, posts (especially on Twitter) look more like what you would imagine a bulletin board in hell to resemble. Who knew that C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters was a prophetic look into the future of social media?
- The shameless embrace and promotion of socialism by the left, the breathtaking coming out by major media outlets (like CNN and the New York Times) as biased mouthpieces of the Democratic Party, the astounding willingness on university campuses to squelch free speech and association, the drag queen story hours at public libraries, labelling people and groups as haters because they refuse to acknowledge more than two genders, and the complete absence of the church in the midst of all this points to a kind of arrogance that hasn’t been on display since the days of Noah.
Hardly anyone is concerned about any kind of negative consequence for the brash expression of either their own hatred or their own cowardice in confronting the hatred of others. Accountability is an unknown concept in the modern era. Whether you’re talking about Adam Schiff, Robert De Niro, George Soros, any number of celebrity televangelists, or just the average Captain Courageous at the Keyboard, people have come to believe that they can say and do anything without repercussion.
After thousands of years, we find ourselves still giving heed to the serpent who convinces people that there will be no consequence for any act of evil they endeavor to commit or any act of righteousness that they refuse to engage in. “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4).
We still believe the lie.
As churchgoers, we huddle in our churches making plans for renovations refusing to “get involved” with society’s onslaught against the notion of absolute or even objective truth. Sometimes we’ll even take sides against Scripture if there is enough hue and cry in the culture.
So, here are two words from Jesus Christ that stand against the nonsensical premise that we can say and do what we want without fear of any long-term consequences. These are by no means the only words of Christ that contradict the clear cultural promise that we don’t have to answer to God. But they are certainly some of the most fearsome. Read them and let them sink in…fully.
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done (Matthew 16:27).
Despite the dreams of atheists, the narcissism of progressives, and even the arrogance of many in the church who side with trends over Scripture…there is, in fact, a day of reckoning. “[E]ach person” will be repaid for “what he has done.” Not believing it will not make that day go away.
When you think about it, isn’t Matthew 16:27 really the whole point of the Bible? Sure, there’s creation, fall, redemption, justification, regeneration, salvation, sanctification, glorification, and eternal life. There’s God, the Devil, the Son, the angels, and mankind. There’s Babylon and the city of God. There are the faithful and the apostate. You could go on and on for hours, days, years, and into eternity wandering and wondering through the living Word of God and not exhaust the lessons, types, history, and symbology in Scripture. But it really all boils down to being held accountable. The old adage applies: sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.
From Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 to Satan himself in Revelation 20 (and every living being with a soul in between) we are all going to be held accountable for what we have done. That’s the bottom line. And it is as unchangeable as God Himself.
“Son of Man…glory of his Father…repay each person…what he has done.” Bank on it.
If we all took this seriously (or even if just the church did) the change in ourselves and the world would be dramatic. As it stands right now, the great majority of people don’t believe Matthew 16:27 is actually a day set aside by God in the future of the real world. Even many Christians believe Judgment Day is for everyone else despite what Jesus said above and what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Tragic.
(Just a note to Bible lovers, students, and scholars: repentance changes everything. No one will be repaid for any deed that has been repented of.)
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).
You have your proverbial head in the sand if you think lethal Christian persecution doesn’t exist anymore. Go to China, North Korea, most of the Middle East, India, or much of Africa (especially Nigeria) and see if you can walk down the street with a Bible. For that matter preach a sermon on biblical marriage and sexuality in Canada and see what happens. We know it, but we don’t acknowledge it.
The American church is afraid.
Afraid of persecution. Afraid of progressivism. Afraid of being ostracized. Afraid of the LGBT sexual perversion crowd. Afraid of pro-abortion activists. Afraid of the government. Afraid of being counter-cultural. Afraid of suffering.
What we don’t seem to be afraid of is facing God and giving an account for our fear and disobedience. We have become the man who buried his talent in the ground expecting a “well done” when Christ returns (see Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30). “Well done” on relocating the church out of the inner city to the less stressful suburb. “Well done” on meeting 80% of this year’s budget. “Well done” on shrinking the Bible to one verse: Matthew 7:1. “Well done” on keeping politics out of your pulpits. “Well done” on ignoring the abortion holocaust. “Well done” on reducing sacrifice to a dollar amount.
It is not just the narcissistic, brash, and arrogant celebrities, politicians, and news outlets that have no fear of God. The churchgoers who desperately want the light of Christ hidden under a basket (Matthew 5:14-16) apparently have no fear of Him either. Peter’s response to the high priest’s reminder that he had been strictly forbidden from teaching in the name of Jesus (“We must obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:28-29]) seems to be anathema today. Many a churchgoer now believes “we must not offend our neighbor rather than God.”
For much of the American church, the desire to be agreeable has supplanted the call to be holy (1 Peter 1:14-16). We have become more fearful of facing off against the enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18) than the One who hung on it.
Today hatred is on a roll. The arrogance of those who lie shamelessly and shout vulgarities happily will be addressed by God. But so too will the fearfulness of those who refused to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and engage the enemies of the cross of Christ.