Grace and Judgment and False Religion Part I
It's not the planet. It's not the environment.
The cult of environmentalism has duped a generation into believing 'mother earth' is our prime responsibility, that 'she' has become, in cultural consciousness, the true 'god' to whom we are obliged to ... ie, saving the whales and recycling our trash and not fracking for oil etc etc are the biggest commandments and sins which we must atone for and for which nature is in upheaval.
But it's not mother earth, nor has it ever been. It is not mother earth to whom every person will give an account for their life when they breathe their last. It is Father God, from whom 'wrath is being poured out on all godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their evil behaviors"... In other words, they deny (in practical terms - though many pay lip service to God), His reality and existence, His relevance to their lives, and their obligation to be thankful to Him - but instead deny any claim the Creator has over their individual free will and behavior. It was this God who told the Israelites of old that 'the land will spit you out'. It spit them out not because they exploited the land or they mined too many rocks etc. but because they sinned against the Creator and did expressly those practices which He told them not to do (more on that).
Biblically speaking, the sins which the Creator has punished - at times to the point of annihilation, since the creation of the planet are pretty much the same:
Idolatry (in many different versions), Greed, Sexual Immorality, Perversion, unbridled pursuits of self-indulgence, materialism, and 'fleshly' pleasures, all done from a wilful denial of the one true Creator and his un-changing laws. And these are pursued to the neglect of (true) social justice - helping those in need, looking out for others around us and not just ourselves, and not acknowledging and giving thanks to the true, all-powerful, invisible Creator. Throughout recorded history, the fall of great civilizations almost always coincides with cultural and moral decay, which always goes hand in hand with increase in violence, the de-valuing of human life (abortion is a modern-day example), and in general, ruthless and lawless behavior.
There were many times in Old Testament Israel's history where the Israelites had become so completely absorbed in the other cultures and 'values' around them that they had completely forgotten about God's unchanging laws. I discuss in this article the 'downward spiral' which cultures and people and individuals go through in their movement away from God and toward depraved behaviors, which inevitably invites God's judgment. The last phase of this spiral is that 'they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God" (Romans 1:). In other words, they didn't place a high value on learning about the true God and in giving him honor, and in living according to his laws, but instead became absorbed in entertainments and career pursuits and the american dreams, and increasingly pushed the envelope on immorality. In order to justify themselves, they adapted new 'gods' - much like we've adopted the gods of me-ism, relativism, humanism, hedonism, and a modern re-hashing of ancient pagan earth/sun/creation worship - environmentalism (or 'mother earth')... and so the true God had/has no place in their/our lives.
I believe this is America. And it's too late for America to recover what it once had. But it's not too late for individuals to become illuminated and to discover the unchanging laws of God, and to have the revelation, (just as Israelite King Josiah did in 2 Kings 22), that over time, we have so completely removed ourselves from God's blessings by 'doing our own thing' and thinking God was okay with it, that we as a culture actually believe that right is wrong and wrong is right - and that what God considers (and which culture used to consider) vile, we now consider virtuous, and what the Creator considers detestable is just an 'alternate behavior'. We have, as the Apostle Paul wrote "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things" (eg, mother earth).."rather than the Creator" (Rom 1:25). This exchanging of truth for lies, according to that passage, leads directly to the further perversion of our desires and moral character (see this article for further commentary). Because of this, we must have a complete change of heart and a real repentance in order to avoid the inevitable judgments of God which over and over in the Bible we are warned about, and which are now over-taking the world.
"Behold the kindness and sternness of God" (Romans 11:22)
God is the one who judges and yet at the same time, He is the one who offers patience, grace, and encourages us to correct our course, to change our ways. He is the one who sent Jesus, the embodiment or incarnation of all that God is - and who showed us grace and forgiveness... but also, (contrary to many popular depictions of the son of God), showed us sternness, gave us sober warnings, was intolerant of hypocrisy, and was unafraid to identify the culture as 'wicked and perverse'. Think how these words would 'fly' in todays 'anything goes' culture. The real Jesus would not be accepted (as he wasn't back in Roman times) by many who say they believe in Jesus. But many believe in a false Jesus - one that is 'tolerant' to their sin and lifestyle that is clearly opposed to the law of God - the law which truly brings peace and freedom... So they have rejected the true God and re-made Him into their own image. One which tolerates all manner of things which the true God never tolerates. Many today know the "God so loved the world" and "judge not lest you be judged" scriptures which Jesus spoke. Yet Jesus, (the real one) also said that we must forsake all and follow him, that we cannot love the world (or money) and love God at the same time, and that 'if our hand offends us" (causes us to sin), it is better to cut it off rather than allow it to lead us to hell (a real place of fire and torment which Jesus came to save us from), and that many will receive the word at first but then fall away when persecution comes on account of following Jesus, and that we must keep striving to enter through the narrow gate. He also clearly laid out the costs of being a follower of himself, costs which demanded commitment, and which included being persecution for attempting to live holy in an un-holy world, of rejecting worldly, selfish pursuits, of rejection by people for ones allegiance to Christ, etc. (This biblical Christianity is a far cry from modern 'Jesus as a motivational coach' who promises worldly success and prosperity.)
His blessings are promised for those who wilfully do this self-correcting and come into line, aided by the power of God himself by the Holy Spirit, and through the mediator of Jesus Christ. His grace is enough for us to walk day to day towards his truth, allowing him to purge us and clean us, and to renew our thinking. If we are willing. This is a daily decision to 'enter the narrow door', to walk against the tide of the world which Jesus starkly declared is 'condemned already' and in need of salvation from eternal torment. It's a bleak picture of the universe - one which is largely absent from the modern day presentations of the gospel by false teachers of the day who promise acceptance by God without the costs of self-denial and total commitment which Jesus clearly said is required for true salvation.
God's grace and forgiveness of sins is offered to every person through Jesus.
However, if we reject God's grace (through our unbelief or our un-willingness to reject sin and the ways of the world) and instead continue to persist in passive or active rebellion against God, his 'plan b' (judgment) kicks in. Ultimately, the judgments are also sent to get our attention and to get us to change our ways. The Book of Revelation (also known as the apocalypse) is the scary book in the Bible. It is a picture of the judgements that are coming on the world because the world (by and large) refuses God's 'plan a' - which was the offer of grace through Jesus Christ. And so God sends increasing levels of chaos, upheaval, and destruction - all of these we are seeing manifest around us every day. The unfortunate truth is that most people will not accept God's plan A or his plan B. As it says in Revelation 9:
"The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood - idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts..."
So we can see that the point is our repentance - or our willingness to stop doing all those things above, (and to stop exchanging the truth of the Creator and his biblical truth for the lies of false religions - those religions which would tell us "pretty lies" and would excuse our bad behaviors), and instead, re-learn the truth about God, and allow that truth, by the power of God, to re-pattern our lives and to change our hearts.
Repentance starts with acknowledging God. Not an imaginary God either, the real one. The idea, around since the 60's, that we can create our own reality, and by implication, create our own God, refuses to accept objective truth, the unchanging God, and his fixed laws. Why? Because the corrupt part of human nature seeks to defy God and do what it wants to do. If the real God doesn't like the way I do things, I'll just invent a god who does. Whether it's 'imagining' a new God (one who doesn't reflect the character of the Biblical one, nor demand adherence to his fixed laws), or creating a golden calf to bow down to, it's the same idea. People always find some way to approve of the sinful things they want to do and to excuse their bad behaviors - things which God says we will be judged for.
Jesus said "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." (John 3:19-21)
John Lennon tried to imagine there was no heaven - no hell below us. In short, no God (with his implied fixed standards and judgment for all we have done in life), above us - only sky. But it is self-delusion. Unfortunately we live in a world that is in large part self-deluded.
It is easier to believe in a 'mother earth' (or any other false religious system) which is benignly tolerant of behaviors which God the Father declares as sinful, yet these false ideas are part of a 'great deception' that the Bible clearly states will come on the earth in the end times, preceding the coming of the false messiah, the anti-christ. (2 Thessalonians 2) ---To be continued...