America, the western world, and the globe as a whole, has been through traumatic days in the past couple of months from the Coronavirus Pandemic, to its economic, cultural and political consequences, to the ongoing protest over the death of George Floyd. We certainly live in interesting times. Of course, being a keen observer of culture and the sign of the times, I see a culture of fear, anger, and a general madness sweeping the United States. It seems you can’t go anywhere on the web without the culture talking about the crisis-of-the-month or turn on the TV and be bombarded with native advertising, horrific news, talking heads with agendas, and general buffoonery. And while you can always switch off the TV, or put the cellphone down, the general feeling is one of a broken morale. It is very hard to see a smile behind a mask or join with friends at a bar when everyone is living on the edge.
This brings me to a very difficult question (when you think about it) to followers of Jesus Christ: What are people’s real hope? What are people living for? What drives them? What do they really protest about? Is the hope we are living for worth even living in? Is the hope we live for worth fighting over it? Is the hope we live for worth dying for? What is the endgame of our hope?
It cannot be said enough that we live in a broken, sinful world, with sinful men and demonic principalities pulling the strings of the current broken system, or cosmos we are in. If you live outside the western world where real persecution of followers of Christ is taking place, you know exactly what I am talking about. But the problem in the United States is people do not know just how screwed up the “system” really is, or just how depraved and wicked a man’s heart really is. And while some may claim they have a form of godliness, they over all deny its power. If man cannot understand how broken the world is, and how the judgement is coming, then how can he have any form of real hope if they think everything is ok? If you are using Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as a “get-out-of-hell-free card” you are missing the whole point and just the magnitude of His’s sacrifice and of God’s infinite love and mercy that no man, not even angels, can comprehend.
What is going on in the world currently is not even the tip of the iceberg to the major problems that are really going on. Many people want to focus or do massive group-think or have a hive mind mentality when it comes to the wrongs of the world when they can’t, or won’t step back and look at the sheer cosmic state of our world. There is massive unemployment going on, and the jobs currently available are service-based part time work. What is even more tragic is the loss of meaning in our work, or even the shattering of the idol known as the life-long-career and the college degree. We can thank the baby boomer generation for propping that one up. Abortion went from a solumn activity to celebrated by demonic women. Even the Baal worshipers were not that deranged when it came to child sacrifice. There is a very deep generational plague of loneliness and isolation being lashed upon the millennial and zoomer generation that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of. Violence is being escalated, both physically and psychological thanks to social media. The most striking thing I am witnessing is the unforgiving nature of people. The apology has been weaponized.
And this is only a small fraction of our deep heart problems.
This again, leads with the question: What is our hope? For some, it is money and a career. But glory from a career fades, all turns to dust, and possessions and fortunes are scattered. This is meaningless, and a great misfortune. For some, it is activism, to be a part of something greater than yourself. But this too, is meaningless. Political false messiahs come and go. Political parties come and go. And all is left is the ash bins of history. This is also vanity and a great evil. Some just check out entirely and live for pleasure and to satisfy all their desires. But in the end, everything is meaningless, they chase after the wind, and nothing is gained under the sun. What type of life is that?
This is why the cross of Christ is so powerful when put in the context of this broken world. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That His death, burial, and resurrection is the real, true hope we have. This is not some demented ticket to get out of Hell that Christianity Inc has watered down to, but precious sacrificial blood to give to an all powerful, all righteous, all merciful, all loving Holy God. This is perfect blood, provided by God himself, as a free gift, before the foundations of the world were set in place, to cleanse one’s sin. This is the door to the Ark, provided by God himself, before the coming judgement. Where God will judge the world with fire, and everything will be made new. The fact is, the world as we know it, with our sinful natures and the sinful nature of others is hopeless without salvation from God himself.
This hope we have isn’t just about the resurrection of the dead. But it is the new birth. To be born again with a new heart. To love the things of God and not of this world. To receive the Holy Spirit, that helps and comforts us. To grow is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That Jesus Christ has won the battle, and His Kingdom is here and advancing further. That Christ has overcome the world, and that we have peace. What will a man do to have peace in his heart?
Even with this real hope, there is still a struggle to grasp this way, truth and life that is Jesus. We struggle and toil with our problems and issues. Struggle, failure, heartbrokenness, strife, depression, suffering, and death are all storms that come in our life. It is easy for a man to become a beast and curse God in the middle of the whirlwind and end up becoming a child of hell. Yet God is there in the middle of the storm. God is there with us in the darkest valley, guiding our path with His staff. It is easy for man to curse God in His and lose hope in His distress, but it takes real power, only through the Holy Spirit, to praise God and have joyous hope in your heart in your distress and pain.
As an ecclesia, we must examine ourselves. Are we holding on to this real hope? Are we sharing this real hope? Are we turning to a secular doctrine of demons? Or doctrines of grace? Where are we putting our faith in? Are we looking at the world through the secular eyes or the lens of the scriptures? Are we putting our faith in our works? Or the work that Jesus already did? Are we putting hope in a political messiah, or constitution, or putting hope in the risen King and His eternal Word?
My brothers and sister, I challenge you to have joy in these dark days. We have real hope. Not hope like the world has, but hope that brings salvation to men.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.