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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Is Today Yesterday—America and Corinth

Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl. 1:9 NKJV)  When it comes to human behavior it is hard to argue that anything has changed since Solomon’s day well over 2,000 years ago.  Human pride and arrogance just seem to roll on from one generation to the next endlessly.  I was reminded of that today (4/6/2015) when I was reading from 1 Cor. 5, Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.”  (1 Cor. 5:1-2 NKJV)

While America is certainly not a church it seems it has much the same attitude toward sin that the church at Corinth was displaying.  There is no mourning in America today over adultery, homosexuality, fornication, lying, deception, malice, drunkenness, you name it.  In fact, for some politicians their sins make them more popular with the public.  Bill Clinton was one notorious example of that.  Bill Bennett’s book, The Death of Outrage, was written as a direct response to the public’s reaction to that sordid episode.

Being caught in a lie no longer disqualifies one from holding even the highest office in the land.  We have lied so much and for so long people no longer think much about it and it no longer seems to taint your character in the eyes of the public at large with but few exceptions.  Harry Reid, the senator from Nevada, just admitted lying about Mitt Romney not paying any taxes for 10 years but where is the public outrage?  There is very little of it.

There is little difference with other sins.  The quickest way for an actress to gain fame and fortune seems to be to take her clothes off and display herself publicly, maybe even get into pornography, and as for drunkenness why everyone does it do they not?  There is no shame in America anymore.  If you are on your fifth live-in arrangement so what?  Who really cares? We will tolerate anything in America.  Sounds like Corinth to me.  We will in the name of toleration tolerate the very things that will lead to our personal and national destruction. 

What outrage we do see today is against Christianity, not against sin and evil doing.  We are experiencing the evolution of morals in America where we now call evil good and good evil.  It is a destructive evolution for God has said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” (Isa. 5:20 NKJV)

But why have we become this way?  I think the following remark from Bill Bennett’s book, The Death of Outrage, is on the mark:

Why have we been drawn toward a culture of permissiveness?  My former philosophy professor John Silber was correct when he spoke of an ‘invitation to mutual corruption.’  We are hesitant to impose upon ourselves a common moral code because we want our own exemptions.” (Page 120)

We in America like to blame our leaders for our problems as a nation but the problem lies within us, each of us.  We have become proud, puffed up much like the Corinthians.  Add to that we enjoy our own personal sins and do not want to give them up.  Living righteously no longer matters to us and we no longer demand it of our elected officials, the invitation to mutual corruption, and then we wonder what has happened to our country.

The answer to our problems lies within each of us.  While it is true “there is none righteous” (Rom. 3:10 NKJV), we are not righteous on our own, don’t you think we might all be better off and our nation be better off if we made an attempt to live righteously?  The desire to do so has been lost but God has given us free will.  We can change if we will just will to do so.  With God’s help, it is not impossible for men and women to live godly righteous lives.  If there is not a change, a sort of national repentance, we are doomed and on a personal level Jesus put it bluntly, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3 NKJV)    

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