As I go through life these days, I am constantly bombarded by a certain skepticism. People are talking about how hard life is and how the world is becoming a worse place in which to live.
It is interesting that this skepticism seems to be most prevalent among the Christian community. Sin seems to be dominant, and there is a certain sense that all is going to fall apart.
These sentiments worry me for several reasons. One secular reason is that they seem to lack a historical perspective. To say the world is a worse place today than at other points in history is, I believe, impossible to determine because it is all dependent on what moment in time you choose to compare and what your relative position is.
To give a simple example: When my parents bought the home I grew up in, in 1952, that was a pretty good moment for them. But when they signed those documents, they signed what was then a common codicil saying that they would never sell to a person of color. So while 1952 was a great year for my parents, for a person of color, that was not the case.
The argument over whether things are worse now or in the past is, in a sense, unimportant. Lacking a time machine, we live when we live, and we must deal with the reality of the world in which we live.
This brings me to the more significant theological argument. I am concerned that, particularly in the Christian community, in our concern for the state of the world and the future that is to come, we sometimes lose sight of the grace of God.
I think of what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 5:20-21: “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NIV)
The world today is full of sin, that is without question. We, as Christians, have had our eyes opened to that, and we often see the world in all its brokenness.
But we must never lose sight of the reality of the grace that is made available to us through our Lord Jesus Christ a grace that is not only sufficient, but abundant to face anything that the world may throw at us. We need not live in fear and anger, but rather, we may live in the peace and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ because his grace is sufficient to each of us as we live in this world.
The grace Christ has shown to his people throughout history is available to us today, and will be available to our children, and our children’s children. It is a grace without end and it is sufficient nay, even abundant to meet all of our needs.
Thanks be to God.