When a warning light on your dashboard shows there are two things you can do: ignore it (at your peril) or get the problem fixed (your wisest option). Jesus said to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”. So what are the signs of our times?
There are many: the coronavirus pandemic, the cost of living crisis, high energy costs, reports of climate change, an economic crisis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tension between China and the USA, sexuality confusion, LGBT ideology permeating into so much of our culture, decline in church attendance and the church’s endorsement at times of the world’s ideals and values – to name but a few. So, are these God’s judgment upon our nation? I would suggest that the world, outside of Christ, is already under judgment (John 3:18) but that these things are his gracious, patient warnings. But of what is he warning us? That, despite tremendous and laudable advances in science and technology, mankind cannot cope alone. “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). But it is that very word that is being ignored or silenced. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom 1:21).
But is it all doom and gloom? Is there no hope? Did I hear it said that by 2070 human life on planet earth will be unsustainable? What should be the Christian’s response to all this? During the recent 40C heatwave and wildfires it certainly felt that the earth could very easily burn up. But what does the Word of God say? “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (II Peter 3:10-13).
For the believer the best is yet to be. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them….There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:1-4).
But there is no room for complacency. We need the Holy Spirit’s aid to ‘interpret the signs of the times’ and “to live holy and godly lives as (we) look forward to the day of God and speed its coming”. These are also urgent days for the proclamation of the gospel both to the world and to the church. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (I Peter 4:17).
I do hope to see you on September 10th when Christopher Ash will be speaking on the timely theme of ‘Loving God under pressure’. Further details: www.waldenbiblefocus.com and to book a free ticket email: email@example.com.
Your brother in Christ,