There are two worlds. The world of the Spirit, that manifests in this life as truth, light, peace, and love. And the world of chaos, that manifests as lies, darkness, division, hatred, self-justification and aggrandisement. It is the difference between good and evil, between God and the devil, and there can be no peaceful co-existence, because the devil is fighting to usurp God and seize control – just as he tried way back in Eden when he whispered to Eve, ‘You can have it all!’
Why does this matter? The answer is simple, God created men and women as spiritual beings in physical bodies – in His own image – to live in union with Himself. Which means that life is infinitely more than mere physical existence, and we are infinitely more than we appear, or even understand. But the devil would have us believe that we exist only at a physical level – he will allow a ‘spiritual’ dimension, certainly, but only so long as it reinforces our focus on self, which cements us to him. This is the effect of sin.
From the moment Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, mankind became separated from God, which opened us up to self-obsession, ambition, anger, greed … death. Yet it is as true now as it was then that our true happiness can be found only in that union – that relationship – with God for which we were created. So now – to find genuine happiness and fulfilment – we need to rediscover the spiritual dimension of our being, which entails obedience to God. Which paradoxically means freedom, because sin blinds us to the ‘real’ and enslaves us. It was precisely to free us from this bondage that Christ came into the world and went head-to-head with Satan. It was for this that He died – to restore us to truth and direct relationship with God.
This life remains a training ground, and we are all in process of becoming. But though Christ has broken Satan’s hold, and the devil’s final defeat is assured, it is self-evidently true that Satan still roams the earth like a ravening beast looking for those he can destroy. And he still drips poison into the ears of those who will hear, enslaving them with his lies. The biggest lie of all is still that there is no God, and that this life is all there is. That we are the sum total of our desires – sexual and self-defined – and our every whim must be indulged. ‘You have the power of control,’ the devil whispers. ‘You can make life what you want, do what you want, have what you want … you can recreate the world in your own image.’
In recent years, the lies have become increasingly dominant, as the intensity of the devil’s attack has grown and men and women have listened, taken in by the rhetoric of ‘Self’. Thus, we have sacrificed literally millions of unborn on the altar of death – their only crime that they were ‘unwanted’. We have denied the reality of biology, attempting to redesign and restructure the template of humanity – telling people they can be whatever they want. We have redefined marriage and family, rejecting the Bible’s model of what activists disparagingly call ‘heteronormativity’ … And all of this we determinedly teach to children, brainwashing them into the belief that there is nothing constant – except desire – and that ‘truth is relative’.
But perhaps even more shocking than all of this is that the Church has become complicit in the lies. In order to stay ‘relevant’ and keep its standing in the world, it has sold truth for a place at the devil’s table. It is no longer the Church militant, but has become instead the Church compliant, reinterpreting the Bible almost annually in its effort to fall into line with cultural change. True, it still nominally upholds the doctrinal position that God created male and female in His own image, and that marriage is between one man and one woman. But, in reality, Protestant denominations no longer add or seriously believe that such union is for life, while the Archbishop of Canterbury has personally apologised profusely to the LGBT community for the hurt inflicted by what he labels judgmental attitudes towards homosexuality (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/justin-welby-gay-bishop-husband-lgbt-anglican-church-summit-a8821236.html; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35326324).
Instead, the Church makes endless pronouncements on human rights, climate change, racism etc, etc. But when it comes to defending the fundamentals of our faith, so as to make disciples of all nations and guard the flock from attack … there is resounding silence.
Where is the voice of the Church?
The commission of the Church is to uphold Truth and take Christ’s message of repentance and salvation to the lost. It is called to be salt and light, ‘in’ but not ‘of’ the world. It is called to protect the weak and vulnerable, and defend them against all attack. In this, there can be no compromise.
Over the last months the whole world has been caught up in battle with an unseen, but deadly, foe. Covid 19. We still don’t know whether the virus emerged naturally or was genetically enhanced and escaped from a Wuhan lab – but what we do know is that it kills and that at the moment we have little defence. Millions across the globe have been infected, and there is talk now of a deadly second wave emerging – that will be worse than the first.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Now, as ever, God stands ready to help, but only in repentance and turning from the evil we have so wilfully and readily embraced can we be saved. In this, the Church has a vital role to play – and a momentous opportunity to demonstrate its purpose in and to society. It must regain its vision and its voice. It must repent its alliance with evil, and once again take its proper place to lead humanity into the ways of truth – of life.
If it fails in this call, unimaginable horror lies ahead. Not just from Covid, but from the breakdown of society, from nation pitted against nation in war, from the agony of a diseased planet fighting the contagion of pollution, both man-made and spiritual. The truth is, humanity is caught in a maelstrom of sin, which is sucking us inexorably into hell. As in the days of Noah, we are under judgment. Yet God, in His love, is giving us a chance to turn back to Him and repent … before the axe falls. It is vital the Church recovers its voice.