The headline read: A SOCIETY LIKE NO OTHER. The article depicted society in a state of near-total depravity. Political corruption was beyond description. From the highest office in the land to the meanest local official, oppression was the norm. Justice and equality were strangers. Society at large, like its governing bodies, had spiraled out of control. Violence, murderer, and rioting in the streets were so common in metropolitan cities they were no longer considered “news-worthy.”
Immorality raged — drunkenness, public lewdness, public rape, and fornication in every form (adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, and incest) were practiced openly and with little restraint. In fact, the dalliances of one of society’s most well-known ladies with government officials and the cultural elite were so numerous that the legitimacy of her adult children remains in question to this day. (Even she is uncertain!) One of society’s most beloved writers published a book that not only celebrated such immorality but instructed men and women on how to be successful in their promiscuity.
The sport and entertainment world captivated society at large. Stadiums were filled to capacity with fans cheering their favorite athletes. Captivated audiences sat in awe of the actor and actress in the theater. The successful athletes and most talented actors, in many quarters of society, both lived as and were treated as gods.
The home and family was in great decline. Adulterous practices and divorce rates so increased that legislators contemplated restrictions and penalties. Abortion was practiced on a large scale. Those who could not afford physicians resorted to “homemade” methods. Reports of couples selling their children or even exposing newborns to the elements and certain death (because a daughter not a son was born) were commonplace.
Religion was a free-for-all. Religions that did not violate state mandates or threaten the unity of the nation were given special preference. The older more “noble” religions were allowed and at times even honored. But Christianity was a pernicious superstition. Some officials began to wonder if it should not be declared religio illicita, an illegal religion.
No, this is not our society today. This was ancient Rome. It seems that some things never change.
Why do ungodliness and wickedness prevail in our society today? There is a distinct pattern throughout history that when allowed to go unchecked opens the door to our adversary, sin and corruption. The problem, dear reader, is man! Man has left God. Man is not listening to God. Man is not following God. Man is not serving God. Man is not worshipping God. Man is not standing with God. Man has become opposed to all that pertains to his Creator! Consider the pattern.
Step one — man moves away from God.
The first evidence of this is seen in corruption among God’s people and in the church. The doctrine is changed to satisfy the desires of man. Unwilling to submit to God and His will man chooses a doctrine void of God.
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us (Isa. 30:9-11; cf. Jer. 5:31; 2 Tim. 4:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; et al).
After changing the doctrine and will of God, man next corrupts the glory and worship of God. God is no longer the object of man’s worship, but man himself becomes his chief god and the center of glory and honor. Man’s doctrines and traditions become the foundation and guide for his worship and service (Matt. 15:3-9). Worship ceases to be a time to honor, praise, and glorify God and becomes a time to “celebrate” man’s abilities, glorify his own works, and to be satisfied with the spiritual highs that come with “experiencing holiness.” (whatever that means!) In ceasing to honor God, man honors himself (cf. Mal. 1:6-7).
Step two — the home.
When doctrine and worship are corrupted the whole body becomes sick (Isa. 1:6) and the families that make up the church also become corrupt. The church is made up of individual Christians (Acts 2:47), but also Christian families (cf. Acts 8:3). Apart from the unadulterated word (1 Pet. 2:2) and true worship of God the home becomes corrupt. How can God be honored in a home that is part of a spiritual body that has corrupted itself?
In such a home one finds harsh demeaning language between husband and wife. Physical abuse of the husband against his bride and children are commonplace as well as hidden from others. The use of alcohol and drugs become fuel to a fire that rages in the flames of greater violence and even molestation. In time, divorce shatters an already fractured home but the damage is done; the seed is planted. How often does a young man from such an environment continue the practices of his father and establish a home that imitates the godless atmosphere in which he himself was raised? How often does a young woman seek a violent and dominating man that simply continues the nightmare of her childhood? Contrast this to the loving and caring environment that is found in the home of faithful Christians (Eph. 5:22-33; 6:1-4).
Step three — society.
The families that make up the church also serve as the building blocks of society, and a nation that once would proudly declare “In God we trust” turns and remonstrates against the precious biblical principles upon which it was founded. Without God, godly homes and pure religion, society breaks down. The educational system molds young minds into the false belief of atheistic humanism denying the Lord that bought them and the God who created them (cf. 2 Pet. 2:1; Rom. 1:20-21). Business and banking institutions are best characterized by practices of false weights and balances of deceit (Pro. 11:1; 20:23; Hos. 12:7; Amos 8:5-6). Entertainment institutions market in the trade of immorality, sexual promiscuity and violence. Government, an institution ordained by God for the protection of the citizenry (Rom. 13:1-7) becomes oppressive and unjust. Hatred is used to divide. Fear is used to oppress. Ignorance is used to increase power. God, His Christ and His inspired Word which alone can bring about true peace to humanity are mocked, ridiculed and held in disdain.
Step four — that nation ceases to exist.
No, some things never change. Man continues to repeat the history of turning from God and corrupting himself. But dear reader, God also never changes! There is not one nation that will long continue in opposition to God.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isa. 1:16-18).
This was not spoken to a man but to a nation! “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pro. 14:34). Christians, awake from sleep! Stand up and speak with great boldness that God is alive and it is He that “ruleth in the kingdoms of men” (Dan. 4:25). Declare with great clarity that Jesus Christ is risen and reigns today on His throne (Dan. 7:13-14; 1 Tim. 6:15). Let us turn the tide of godlessness, save our fellowman, and save our nation from repeating history.