Who Writes the Last Chapter?
Just when some of the “leading lights” of the international diplomatic community thought progress might be brewing in the quest to tame the Iranian mullocracy through UN sanctions, the lid came off.
The world’s insatiable conviction that talking softly and carrying no stick, big or small, will one day bring Tehran’s dictators to heel is a fantasy of futility. And while well-intentioned Western leaders talk peace, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad keeps telling the world he is not interested.
Strategy summits are answered by smoke-trailing missiles; boasts of genocide against the State of Israel; and, most recently, a posted notice that Iran will soon have a three-stage ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States. To top it off, the mullahs recently staged a spectacular weapons parade that brought back memories of the Nazis’ colossal military extravaganzas of the 1930s.
Common sense, now in extremely short supply in most nations’ capitals, would suspect this elaborate preparation of weapons is a prelude to the first excuse to use them. With time on Iran’s side, its road to nuclear capability is all but assured as Western diplomats dither away the months and years with fruitless consultations. Eventually their conversations will turn to reactions as mushroom clouds appear over their cities.
Squarely on the table these days for all to see are the problems that grow out of a faulty concept of the nature of man and a failure to recognize evil in the world and that people and regimes are out to kill us. This wickedness did not develop because people were deprived of material baubles or were spanked as children or were reared in socially deprived situations. The all but universally denied fact these days is that sin is real, all people are sinners, and no divine thread flows through the offspring of Adam. In the vernacular of another time, we are sinners by nature, practice, and choice.
A prominent preacher who moves in the sphere of the positive thinkers was quoted recently as saying his mission is to be positive. “I don’t deal with the sin stuff,” he said. How then do you confront the issue where the remedy for the universal human need actually begins? Transformation of life, character, and conduct are a direct consequence of what the Bible refers to as the new birth. And for all of the present prejudice against any such notion, 2,000 years of testimonials tell the story of the gospel’s efficacy when internalized by the new birth.
Recognizing its substance affords us three positive choices:
- Develop national security based on strength and the willingness to deal with evil forces with unremittingly unified commitment.
- Turn back to God both personally and corporately. It’s called repentance in the words of the Book. The biblical record is replete with instances of Israel, God’s Chosen People, drifting out of the orbit of God’s will, only to encounter dire circumstances that called for repentance and a return to its roots.
- It’s rather striking that in a time when it is unquestionably needed most, national revival is rarely thought of or spoken of, and little effort is made to pray for it. Most noteworthy is the fact that many evangelicals have given up on the mandate and turned in other directions to address community needs.
The question is often asked whether it is possible for God to move in transformational ways in the current climate of militant rejection of everything associated with God, the Bible, Christianity and our churches. The answer is to examine the record—biblical and postbiblical.
Nineveh, a mecca of godlessness in ancient days, was about to experience the fiery wrath of an offended God. The reluctant prophet Jonah was sent to spread the news of impending destruction. That’s not merely Bible lore. It’s fact. When all was said and done, the nation turned en masse to God and was spared. Nor can it be denied that in the history of decadent Europe and the United States, revivals at strategic times swept the land and brought new hope and life to the nations.
Revival, of course, originates with God, not with us. But when He decides to step in, whatever the mechanism, things change; and individuals find the “abundant life” Jesus promised.
Yes, evil is what it is. But the last chapter will be written by the Creator of the universe, with whom all things are possible.