How the world is changing! Since the last blog, the Middle East has erupted, scandals have affected those in the entertainment industry and in politics and this Friday (July 18th) the Assisted Dying Bill will be debated in the House of Lords. To my horror I read that a much-respected evangelical former Archbishop of Canterbury has come out in support of this Bill. Like an exponential equation the world is rapidly changing, faster than it has ever done. Bible believing people are becoming a remnant, just as Scripture promised. This should not come as a surprise; Paul writing to Timothy, two thousand years ago, said:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
So Scripture again is proved true. What does it mean for us as Christians? It means we should “strengthen the things that remain”. Things are not going to get better and we should not been drawn in by false prophets who say there will be revival, when there’s no call to repentance. We are, and will remain, a Biblical remnant and we must strengthen one another in the faith. We must evangelise, yes, because that is the Great Commission, but we must also look out for one another. In Jesus' commission to Peter he told him to feed His lambs and sheep, those young in the faith and older ones too. The Bible is under attack in a way unknown in human history. We are dealing with a new heresy: “Did God say?” - the oldest, vilest lie, spoken first by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. This is the first generation that is seeking to undermine and reinterpret the Scriptures by using culture as a lever. Not for nothing did Jesus talk of those “who stand till the end”. He also says “in the last days the love of many will grow cold”. It is not being selfish to work out our own faith and seek to strengthen the faith of others. The time will come when some people within the church “will not put up with clear doctrine but will have itching ears to hear what they want to hear”. We are seeing this happen right before our eyes.
Yesterday Jenny and I took a boat trip up the Thames to Kew gardens. We were told of the difference in tide levels on the upriver and downriver journeys. As we returned in the beautiful light of the drowsing day we were amazed at just how much the tide had come up - some 15 feet! The river of godlessness is rising. In London, not far from Greenwich, is a place called Execution Dock. Here, pirates were executed by being tied to a post and having three tides pass over them. If you were that pirate you watched every inch of the creeping water; it was a matter of life and death. The Scriptures are like a tide gauge, predicting every inch as the water rises. We should not be surprised; indeed we should encourage ourselves that the Scripture is being proved true. We need to be vigilant, aware and Scripturally equipped. We should not just be able to quote the Scripture and know about it, but much more importantly we need to follow the Hebrew mindset, which is to know God and not be satisfied to know about Him. We need to cultivate, however imperfectly, a relationship with Him.
We must “guard the good deposit” that has been entrusted to us, the wonderful Gospel, uncorrupted by changing culture. We must encourage and build one another up, continually. It won't get better but we can be salt and we can be light, however insignificant we feel. The Master, our Saviour, our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit are our constant companions. And with their strength, their guidance, their love, we will come through the darkness, to glory!