Is 37:21-38. 2 Tim 2:20- 3:9
Paul is telling us we are living in terrible times.We feel it as we watch our TV and papers and see a shift away from Christian values. The attributes of godless people are exhibited in relationships within families, social networks and culture, and in their response to God. They are no more evil now, in our time of cultural change and redefinition , than in previous generations. People love self, money and pleasure, but know neither real love nor God.
Isaiah’s prophecy of King Sennacherib’s fall is due to the Assyrian’s pride before God, and his blasphemy and insults. This was indeed a powerful, conquering king, but God’s promised protection of Jerusalem comes about in a miraculous, unforseen rescue (v36).
Our thoughts may take us to those we know; at work, friends, families, that may fit Paul’s description. However as Miles reminded us Sunday night, our capacity for self-deception is great. While very aware of others’ failings, we may not actually see the sin , the hypocrisy that exists in our lives. This may lead us to think we are better than we are, which causes us to minimize our reliance on God’s redeeming Grace in our lives. It may also create an ‘us and them’ mentality, and make us take the decision to ‘have nothing to do with them ‘(v5) leading to little contact or interest in them, rather than not being like them.
But aren’t we? We are more like Paul’s description at times than we would like to admit, and this blindness leads us to not name our sin as sin and to devalue Grace acting in our lives. Grace is our only hope. Alternatively, too much focus on our sin without Grace leads to self-loathing and paralyzing guilt. Grace is the only hope.
Although we are in Christ, sin is still present in our lives, and we need His Spirit each day, and we need to hold out His Grace to others, who need it too.