“Why Do The Heathen Rage?”
We live in days of great social change. Rapid change. Hardly a month seems to pass when some new law isn’t passed, or some movement appears to triumph in a further attempt to overthrow God’s order. In the last 50 years we’ve seen great changes in the fickle populace’s thinking regarding social and class order, the roles of the sexes, the place of marriage and the family in society, among many other things.
The world hails such changes as a ‘social revolution’. It delights in its supposedly new-found freedom and liberty. It prides itself in seemingly having overthrown the shackles of traditional, ‘fundamentalist’ values. With glee a ‘new order’, full of tolerance and freedom is greeted whilst discrimination of any kind is decried. Yet, in bemused puzzlement, the same champions of freedom scratch their heads wondering why homes break up, crime increases, companies collapse, discontent reigns, and misery mounts and children on the streets take up knives to murder one another.
Yet, undeterred, the wise leaders of our day, with increasing abandon, march on in their relentless attempts to break down every hurdle which stands in their way to social Utopia.
And what really stands in their way?
What hurdle proves the most irritating, the most vexing?
Why, religion of course.
And the Christian religion in general.
And true Biblical Christianity in particular.
With its clear declaration of Truth, and its absolute definitions of right and wrong, such a message is not only irritating, but an increasing source of rage and enmity to those who would seek to break its bands asunder.
We live in days where opposition to the Truth has rarely been sounded louder. Those who despise the word and the truth of God seem to be playing a very loud tune all around us. And as their leaders play their pipes, millions of happy ‘children’, like bemused lemmings, gladly follow in their trail.
Set against such a tidal wave of thinking, of ever-changing public opinion, is the apparent decline in numbers of those attending professing Christian places of worship. Those who do are either in the minority, gathered with but a few, or they are among those who would continue to meet in larger congregations but in order to maintain their numbers have set aside the truth of the Bible and constantly modify their message in order to adapt to the liberal thinking of the world around them.
We read of so-called churches and denominations debating the un-debatable. They pose questions which should never have been asked, based upon premises which should never have been set. They ponder the question of women ‘priests’ and of homosexual ‘clergy’. They set ‘modernists’ against ‘traditonalists’. And they seek each and every way to finding a unity with other ‘faiths’…. But having set aside the word of God, and ceased to take its message seriously, the leaders of such churches then wonder why the world has long-ceased to take them seriously.
Of course observing such changes can bring much grief to the hearts of those who love God and His word. To those who have been delivered from the darkness of this world, and the blindness of unbelief, from the depravity of the fallen heart of man, and the bondage of sin, to walk in a new and living way. Those who have been born again of God, having heard the Gospel of their salvation by Jesus Christ, knowing the forgiveness of sins, the hope of everlasting life and peace with God, those who now hate the evil in which they once indulged and love the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel. These will often grieve over the state of the professing church around them, and the folly of the nations in our day.
For what foolishness is done in the name of Christ in the ‘churches’!
And what little effect the testimony of such apostate churches seems to have in turning the tide of the times.
Yet, whilst it may well appear that the wicked prosper on every side and the righteous man faileth…. The truth is anything but!
God has an answer and His answer has never changed. Having granted the people freedom to turn aside to their own ways, having given them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28), God patiently sits upon His throne and watches as the world moves according to His eternal decrees and purposes. As time rolls incessantly towards that great day of the Lord when He will judge the world in righteousness, towards that day “when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” Romans 2:16. That day, when, without respect to persons God will…
“Render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil”
Perhaps that day is not far off, perhaps it is many years away. But whether near, or whether far off, and whether the people continue to rage against the truth, or whether they receive the truth, the fact remains that nothing occurs in heaven or on earth which is outside of God’s will, not one of his purposes is thwarted, and not one of those for whom He gave His own Son as a sacrifice for sin in order to save them from death, and the deceits and delusions of this present world, will ever be lost. For God continues to declare the same glorious message of Salvation which He has done from the beginning of time. The message of Christ Crucified, the Gospel of God. The message of His grace towards sinners – the power of God unto salvation.
So, is there really a cause for the Christian to be discouraged or dismayed?
Not at all – his victory is assured – assured – in Christ. For God reigns in righteousness by Jesus Christ over all His creation. May God give His people grace to rest in Him and His salvation. As we look upon our changing times and hear the empty cries and celebrations of those who vainly set their wills against God, rightly may we ask, with the words of the 2nd Psalm:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2)
By Ian Potts