October 06, 2019 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
The world may be to us like the water a fish has swam in since birth. It is our natural environment and so we just take it for granted. We may never question why things are the way they are.
The other day I sat down to watch the evening news. I was also reading the newspaper during the commercials. I mean, why waste time? I was just struck. The news is blues. In the first five minutes, there were reports of an earthquake in California, a mudslide in Washington state with a rising death toll, a Malaysian jetliner that crashed and went missing, Russian aggression in the Ukraine, a missing Fitchburg child presumably murdered by his mother, the Marathon bombing, a double homicide, and a fatal fire in Boston.
Did you ever get the feeling that there is something wrong with the world? Someone sat down beside comedian Will Rogers once at a dinner, and in the course of the conversation asked the witty man this question: “What’s wrong with the world, anyway?” Rogers drawled in reply, “Well, I dunno, I guess it’s people.” In response to an article in The Times of London entitled, “What’s Wrong with the World?” British writer G.K. Chesterton replied, “I am. Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.”
Suppose someone were to ask you questions like these: What’s wrong with this world—that my best friend has cancer? Why do people do bad things, like the terrorists we read about in the newspaper? Are people basically good or bad? I feel like I’m good, but I often do things I regret. Why do people die? My mother is about to die. Why does it seem like there’s so little true justice in this world? I just read about all those people starving in Sudan because of an unjust government.
The world is out of order. This is due to the entry of sin into the world that way back in antiquity was good in every respect. We call this entry of sin into the world "the fall of man." It was instigated by satanic malice and deception. The Bible makes abundantly clear from the beginning that Satan has a relentless hostility toward God and a incessant hatred for humanity. It continues on in the evening news and in everyday life.
Yet, Adam and Eve freely chose to sin. They took the bait of Satan's deception, in which he uttered a bald-faced lie: “If you eat of this tree, then your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) Adam and Eve desired to be like God. They desired to be gods themselves. This is the tendency of human life. We desire to be autonomous. We either reject God's rightful rule or simply make God out to be some idol of our own imagination.
The consequences of the fall are banishment from God's holy presence, human suffering, misery, disease, disaster and death as sin has corrupted human nature, all of creation and the cosmos. The problem is so acute that it cannot be solved by humanity. Education and social programs are like applying a band-aid to a man who has been beheaded.
The good news in all this bad news is that God has given us a cure for the fall, a rescue from this horrifying, spiraling descent into destruction and death. The cure is Jesus Christ. Death came through the trespass of Adam, but the gift of new life comes Jesus Christ. "For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! ... For if, by the trespass of the one
man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!" (Romans 5:15b,17)
There will be a new world order. It will not be ushered in by any world government, although they will try. Their attempts at utopia will all fail miserably as human nature cannot rise above selfishness and manipulation to serve self-interests. This new world order will be ushered in by the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21 says this, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.'" (Revelation 21:1-8)
The best is yet to come for those who seek rescue from Christ. The worst is yet to come from those who do not seek rescue from Christ.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale shook the east coast of Japan. The earthquake was so intense that it actually moved Japan's largest island by eight feet. There was death and destruction everywhere. All of this happened in about five minutes time. Then came the tsunami, 45 minutes later. A wall of water was about to crash into Japan at about 500 mph. American author Phil Yancey retells the story of a Japanese pastor who was inspecting his home for earthquake damage in the calm before that terrible tidal wave. The Japanese pastor received a frantic text message from his daughter in Tokyo: "Escape! Escape! Escape!" It seemed odd to him, things were not shaking at his home. Yet, he did not have electricity and thus no access to a news source. He decided to follow her advice. It was a good thing that he did. He was swept away in his car by the wave which came to rest upon a mountain of debris. He was rescued from his car two days later.
We are in the calm before the tsunami. Yes, there is destruction, disease and death everywhere. It may not be affecting you directly today, and you may have become used to hearing about it. But there is coming a tsunami of enormous magnitude at the second coming of Christ or your death, whichever shall come first. I send you a frantic newspaper message as your friend in Gardner: "Escape! Escape! Escape!" Run to Jesus, and live.