By Andy Coticchio
There is much that is joyous in Scripture which makes the heart of the child of God leap up and sing. There is also much sadness in the disobedience to the Lord, with lives wasted and opportunities missed which are chronicled in God’s Word. And more than a few passages of Scripture which make one pause in sober reflection of God’s sovereignty, His patience and His grace. Here are a couple I have reflected on often.
“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).
It is sobering to think that a people, holy and righteous in the eyes of God can be a generation away from falling away from the Lord. The generation of children who grew up during Israel’s desert wandering, who learned of the consequences of faithlessness or disobedience to the Lord from their parent’s dying off in the desert, raised a generation that did the same. Joshua and the leaders of the generation to enter the Promised Land died off and look what happened.
The sad truth is that any nation, no matter how diligent in following after God is only a generation away from falling away from the Lord. Without godly parenting and biblical teaching, without a love for the Lord instilled in the upcoming generations, a nation can easily and quickly fall from the grace of God.
As I look at America, and what has happened in the past few years, as I read of the concerns in the books of earlier preachers and teachers of the Bible, it may be that generation by generation, we have, as a nation, been slowly but steadily falling away from the Lord. Our fear is that we have reached a tipping point, an inflection point, and a point of no return. It may be that there is no coming back for us, and all we await is God’s judgment upon our nation as He has judged many nations before us.
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:24-25).
It is sobering to think that an individual, or possibly even a society or culture as a whole, can be so enamored of self, so lustful and desirous of fulfilling personal cravings and sinful urges that a point can be reached whereby God gives us over to our own sinfulness. A sinfulness becoming so self-absorbed as to reach that point of no return. A worship of self so deeply rooted within a person that God hardens the heart which is in sinful defiance and disobedience. A hardened heart and eyes blind and ears deaf to sin, insensate to the call of the Lord and the prompting of His Spirit.
The frightening prospect is that there is no border fence we can see approaching, no cliff we see dropping off in the (not so far) distance, and no warning or hazard signs. It happens when God, with a grievous heart has had enough. When a loving, merciful, gracious God will tolerate no more. For many it could be tomorrow, for many it could be now, for our nation it may have already passed. Dead for eternity, but unaware of the catastrophic loss of God’s grace.
These thoughts should make those of us who have Jesus as our Lord and Savior tremble in fear for the lost. It should give us renewed energy and urgency to proclaim the gospel to a fallen world. For Jesus is coming soon! It may not be today nor tomorrow, but for any one person’s lost soul, today or tomorrow may be the last chance to turn to Him.
Nothing, outside of tears shed for our own sins which caused our Lord to have to die upon the Cross, should cause us to cry like the thought of another soul being separated eternally from the creator God of the universe. Nothing should make tears well up knowing it may well be happening today to someone we know and love. This should encourage and exhort us to preach Christ, and Him crucified—to all, whether they will listen or not.
Jesus is coming soon! Yet for many, it may already be too late.