Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is given to covetousness;
And from the prophet even to the priest,
Everyone deals falsely.
They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
No! They were not at all ashamed;
Nor did they know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the LORD.
Thus God spoke through Jeremiah to a rebellious Judah, what was left of the tribes of Israel. By this point in Judah’s history, they had experienced revival through Hezekiah and Josiah; however, the reforms did not penetrate the souls of the people. Instead, they covered the surface and ignored the deeper problem: a heart in rebellion against God.
But what was true then rings just as painfully true in these modern times. The Church, commanded by God to be a light in the world, has allowed itself to sink into darkness and chains. No more do they claim the victory over sin in their lives, though they may speak of it. No more do they blaze with the light of love and truth to a world lost to lies and self-centered indulgence. No more are they representatives of Christ in a dying world. Instead, they flaunt the cold ashes of defeat while living in a never-ending cycle of sin and despair. The love of the Church has faded into nothingness. It is not a powerful force to change the hearts of man, it is a petty institution derided by the world.
Instead of listening to the few who bleed to see the Church restored to God, they choose instructors who tickle their ears with comforting words of failure. Don’t be upset when you sin, they tell the prisoners who lap up their every word. Everyone does it, even me. All you have to do is tell God you’re sorry. He loves you and He wants to forgive you. And when you mess up again (because we all will), God will be waiting for you to run into His arms again. They proclaim peace and life, but the fruit is turmoil and eternal death.
This is the lie that has been fed to the Church, and the lie that the Church now widely accepts as the gospel truth. The lie is all the more insidious because it contains some elements of the truth. God does want mankind to repent, and He forgives all who come to Him with a contrite heart. But the lie propagates the false doctrine that a Christian can never hope to escape from the shackles of sin and failure in this life.
After an idea steeps for a while, its effects begin to show. After listening to a socially acceptable gospel that tells them they will sin for the rest of their lives, multitudes of professing believers will sin. And they will not be bothered. They are not ashamed. Why should they be, if the blood of Christ covers them, and God only sees Jesus and not the sins of His followers? They go to church on Sunday morning and commit idolatry on Monday, confident in their false hopes. Is God blind? For millions, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” They have become like the harlot Israel. They have forgotten how to blush.
When you look at it too long, the picture could start to look hopeless. The world drowns in sin, and the Church called to proclaim the way out of it has instead joined the death march. Yes, we weep, we cry out to God. But we, the followers of Christ, must not give in to despair.
Two millennia ago, God Himself took the form of a man and came to dwell with His rebellious creation, wanting to rescue them and bring them into His family. He did this by humbling Himself, being born to the lowliest of estates in an unflattering location. He lived among His people and suffered and died at their hands, and three days later He resurrected Himself from the dead. All those who believe in Him will not perish.
We must proclaim this wonderful news. We must be a light in the darkness, showing the way to the lost. Let our lives glorify God every second of every day, and may our hearts burn with passion to reach the lost. Though the world opposes us and tries to shut us down, they will never be able to silence the truth that rings across the land.
Praise be to God.