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Life in a World of Sin

A European monk wrote just as the Protestant Reformation began, “The times are evil, and men are not inclined to righteousness. The whole world lies in wickedness. The Word of God is despised by the people, religion neglected…Everywhere avarice, evil lust, pride, discord, wrath, envy, and all other pestilences have assumed the upper hand.” He died in 1518. His words were cited in The British and Foreign Evangelical Review of 1884.

When sin takes hold in the world around us, we think the same thing. Evil is always present, but at times it is worse. Sometimes we are just more aware of it. Either way, there are times when we feel grieved and vexed because of the wickedness we see and hear every day.

But when has this old world been any different? Before the flood, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). In the time of the judges of Israel, “There was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 21:25).

David wrote about the condition of the people in his day: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one” (Psalm 14:1-3).

New Testament times were no different. Shortly before he left this world Paul said that “perilous times” would come and “evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse” (II Tim. 3:1, 13). And, the old monk who was distressed over the situation in his day was quoting what John wrote almost 1500 years before him: the whole world lies in wickedness (I John 5:19).

In every age, however, there are righteous souls. They are the salt of the earth that flavors and preserves a corrupt world (Matt. 5:13). They are lights who shine in darkness and give hope to the lost (Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:15). They are few in number but great in influence because the power of the gospel works through them.

It can be discouraging to think about the condition of the world, and we shouldn’t dwell on it too much. But we can’t avoid it. We can, however, use it to strengthen our faith. When the evil of this world torments our souls, it makes us long for that home where no sin will ever disturb us again.


West End church of Christ bulletin, April 14, 2024


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