Through the Word in 2020 #102 – Aug. 24 / Why the surprise?

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I have to admit that I am amused at my fellow Believers and the shock they seem to register at the foolishness, violence and disarray of society. When we read the Scriptures and understand the nature of the Fall – what surprises me, is how humanity has survived this long. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised either – for that is the goodness of our God writ large on the page of human history. A bit more on that today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.

Before us today is the continuing saga of Job’s suffering and his antagonistic comforters in chapters 19-24. David’s consternation over the wicked in Psalm 119:49-56
. Jesus’ warning about blaspheming the Spirit, denying Him before men and coming persecution in Luke 12:8-12
. And Paul’s bracing words in 2 Timothy 3:1-9
A few decades back, theologian John Gerstner wrote a book titled: “The Problem of Pleasure”. It was sub-titled: “Why Good Things Happen to Bad People.” His thesis was simple; if man is really as fallen as Scripture says he is, and God is as holy as Scripture says He is – then the question isn’t “why do bad things happen to good people?” There are no “good people” in that sense. What is astounding is that God still gives us good things. That there is any pleasure granted to us at all given that the greater part of the race still stands in open rebellion against His divine rights over us. Why do good things happen to such bad people? To which there is but a one word answer: Grace. God, is a God of grace.

So, given the reality of Genesis 3
and the Fall, and passages like 2 Timothy 3:1-5
, why should any of the madness that we see exhibited in society around us surprise any of us in the least? It really shouldn’t. Except for this – that we are so used to God’s restraining goodness against letting sin have its full sway – even in un-Believers – that we’ve mistakenly thought that is because of decency in the creature, instead of grace in the Creator.

“Get this” Paul says in 3:1 – really wrap your head around this so you aren’t thrown for a loop when you see humanity’s gross inhumanity and insanity: In the last days – throughout the period between Christ’s ascension and His return – we are going to have a rough time of it.


Because people will be shown to be lovers of self above all else. Lovers of gain – whatever their currency might be. Proud. Arrogant. Abusive, in and outside of the home. Disobedient to parents. Ungrateful. Unholy. Heartless. Can you spell abortion, rape, mob violence, sex-trafficking, road-rage and government oppression? Impossible to please. Slanderous – can you spell social media? Without self-control – even my most deviant sexual urges MUST be accommodated no matter what. Brutal. Not loving good. Treacherous. Reckless. Swollen with conceit. Lovers of pleasure as their god replacing the true and living God. And having religious or vaguely spiritual trappings, without seeking to be ruled by the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Given all of that – are the headlines today any surprise? No. Nor is the answer to it all shocking either – the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nor is the coming end to it all – the return of Jesus to judge the wicked, reward the righteous and establish His eternal kingdom.

Be amazed at the long-suffering of God. At His mercy in still reaching out to the world with the Gospel. At the preservation of His Church and His Word. That He still redeems lost people like you and me. That we have room for abundant joy and pleasure even in the midst of this wicked and perverse generation. That none of His promises will fail. And that Heaven is just before us.

Be amazed at His glory and goodness. Not at sin.

God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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