The world we live in is tossed with sorrow and confusion. Homes and families are being torn apart. Morals have degenerated. Children struggle to know their identity, and young people commit suicide or use mind-abusing drugs in a vain effort to escape the pain. Crime and war and instability plague the nations. People have tried one solution after another and one relationship after another only to be disappointed. They have lost, one by one, their last frail strands of hope, and are left with an overwhelming despair. Education has not fixed the problem. Governments have not fixed the problem. Social reforms, with all their good intent, have tried to patch relationships and improve things in a surface way, but have never gotten to the root of the issue. What causes the desolation? What breaks the heart and spirit of man? What causes creation itself to groan for deliverance?
The problem of the world is SIN. Behind the drug problems, behind the teenage pregnancies, behind the crime and the abortion, and behind the monster of racism, is the same basic issue– sin. Marriages fall apart and homes are destroyed because of sin. Groups of people hate and envy and fight and oppress one another because of sin. Every day, sin ruins lives. Every day, sin loads its victims with pain. Sin destroys bodies as well as souls. It takes away man’s God-given dignity and makes him a prisoner of his beastly passions. Sin– oh, destroyer of peace, destroyer of innocence! —how sin offers heartache and woe and a horror of lifetime regrets!
It is impossible to overestimate the destruction sin has caused. One sin–the mere partaking of a forbidden fruit–cursed creation and brought death into the world. It drove man from the Garden of Eden and put a gulf of separation between him and his God. Every sin ever committed has hurt someone in one way or another. Achan’s sin cost the people of Israel a defeat in battle. It destroyed Achan’s own family and left as many as thirty-six other homes fatherless. Ahab sinned, and a nation suffered more than three years without rain. The sin of the world sent God’s own Son to suffer agony upon the cruel cross. Sin caused men to tear His back and mock His name–to lay stripes upon their own Creator. Sin has always been extremely selfish. A person cannot sin and be innocent.
What fails to make sense is that sin is so excused and overlooked in our day. False preachers refuse to attack sin because it is too uncomfortable for their hearers or because they are victims to it themselves. Rather than telling people to “Go and sin no more,” they instruct them to go sin more or less every day. They desensitize people to sin’s wickedness and offer them no escape from the sin problem. They tell people Jesus’ blood will cover them at the Judgment, but they let the poison of sin go on working its deadly work in the people’s lives. No wonder our nations are in trouble! No one is stopping the problem at its source.
God has always taken sin very seriously. Under Moses’ law, a man found gathering sticks on the Sabbath Day had to pay for this transgression of God’s law with his life! Whenever a soul sinned ignorantly, he had to bring a sacrifice. If he sinned presumptuously, he was cut off from the camp. Sin is so offensive to God that it took the death of His beloved and only begotten Son on Calvary to pay the debt of justice and to bring man into peace with God again. That same sacrifice opened a fountain that could cleanse the wicked heart and give men power to live without sinning, and that same God is overwhelmed with anger when men knowingly reject His sacrifice and go on living in their sin and selfishness.
Our mission is to stop sin’s oppression. It is to stop people from being abused and robbed, to stop the deceit and the trickery, to identify the enemy in his true colors, and to identify the true source of help.
People are desperate, but they are looking for help in all the wrong places. Sin is the culprit, and until we expose sin, the problem goes on.
Our leaders seek to bring about world peace by dealing with ISIS or by threatening North Korea, but these are only temporary solutions. As long as there are sinners in the world they will go on hating and killing one another. Attacking sinners will do nothing until we attack the sin that enchains them, and the problems of the world cannot effectively be dealt with until sin is dealt with.
Sin is a problem deeply rooted in the heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). It cannot be dealt with by covering the issue, by reforming the habits, or even by outlawing the expression of sinful actions because rules and consequences cannot keep the wicked heart from producing wickedness. Sin is deceptive, creeping in by subtle degrees and strengthening its chains until they are too strong for a human to break. It is entangling–a quicksand that pulls the sinner deeper in the more he struggles.
The only solution is a change of heart, and praise the Lord, such a change is possible through the blood of Jesus! Scripture tells us of a fountain opened “for sin and for uncleanness” (Zech. 13:1). It tells us of a power which will change the heart and make it new (Ezk. 36:26; 2 Cor. 5:17). The blood that was shed on Calvary is strong enough to cleanse the deepest stain. It is the only lasting answer to the world’s problems.