Monday, November 19, 2012

The Spiritual Cliff

Out of an estimated 200+ Million eligible voters, our current gaggle of politicians plucked votes from about half of them. The President gained a second term thanks to around a quarter of eligible voters. Now, at least 20,000 people each in a large number of States have signed petitions to secede from the USA. Headlines declare that 'Religious' influence in politics is dead. Conservatives fear that liberal social issues are gaining momentum, to our country's demise. Cities, states and municipalities are going broke and facing financial distress. Our Federal government is running a trillion dollars deficit per year. Nobody likes that, but no one agrees on what should be cut. To say our country is divided is an understatement. Making matters worse, the world at large is facing financial, political and religious turmoil, too. 

But, times of crisis are times of growth. They're also times of pain, struggle and purging of dross. And, unfortunately, the dross has less to do with the fiscal cliff we face than the spiritual cliff that has been with us since Adam chose his wife over obedience to God. 

Like in 2008, the news is abuzz over the “Fiscal Cliff” and how dire things are. Funny how it wasn't dire enough to talk about it during the Presidential campaign. It wasn't dire enough to call into question what policies have brought us to the brink of economic collapse. No, it's just important now that we have our players on the board. Just like it was important in 2008 so we could have people rush legislation through with very questionable results. Bottom line? We haven't solved our fiscal problem. From one administration to the next, from one Congress to another, the economy sags under increasing debt, spending and pork. More hands go in, less cash goes through, more borrowing, more promises, more moving the shells around. And the problem persists. In fact, the problem will never be solved. We added 6 trillion in debt over 8 years under President Bush, then another 6 trillion in debt in 4 years under President Obama. Republican, then Democrat. With another 4 years, will we top it with 12 trillion? We'll find out. But we won't pay that off. Not with a “scalpel” to the budget. No, debt like that is even beyond the let's-cut-up-the-credit-cards kind of solution. 

Now we have the Republicans blaming talk radio hosts. Talk radio hosts claim Mitt Romney wasn't a true conservative. We have advocates for libertarian policies, and on and on. Conservatives are sounding the siren that we need to get out there and educate America's youth on the principles of freedom and our history. We need to awaken people to the dire need we have of conservative politics.
But I'm thinking … what if we were as worked up about this world's spiritual cliff? What if Christians looked out and saw the world so in debt to God in their rebellion against His Holiness, so hopelessly lost in the blackness of their hearts that even the good things they try to do are like attempting to bribe a mobster with a penny to keep him from fitting you with cement shoes. What if we took stock of the abject destitute condition of humanity and how, sooner or later, God will return and demand an account. 

No matter what anyone says, Dawkins or Hawking, God created the cosmos. He made mankind for His pleasure. We're His “train set” if you will. And the enemy, Satan, sought to steal that pleasure from God. He said, “I'll be like God to them.” And Satan tricked Eve into disobedience. Then, Adam, knowing exactly what Eve had done, made a fateful choice. He chose to die with his wife rather than live in obedience to God. 

From that point on, everyone born has a bent toward self. We want what we want. And we don't care how we will get it. And if we don't get it, we feel sorry for ourselves. We complain. We resent. We covet. We steal. We hate. We take God's name in vain, saying to Him what Satan has sown in our hearts, “You didn't give me everything I want to be happy!” 

From that moment of Adam's Fall, a doom, a spiritual cliff loomed ahead of us. One where we'd pay eternally for our offense against an Eternal God. The Creator is the only one who can claim He's been wronged because He has never wronged anyone. We've wronged Him. 

And here is where God shows His pure, excellent character. Instead of wiping the slate clean and starting over, God set in motion His plan, which He knew before He created time. He determined to pay the eternal punishment in the place of all who would turn away from the world and call to Him for salvation. 

So, just as Adam chose death to be with Eve, Jesus came, the second Adam, born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, lived a perfect life without sin and then had every believer, past, present and future's sin placed on His shoulders and died so that He could be with His bride, the Church. Like Adam, who was pierced in his side for Eve to be formed, Christ was pierced in His side so that the Church could be formed. 

There is a cliff coming. Most are running full tilt toward the chasm, blind to their doom. On that day, God will come down as Christ, the warrior. He'll look down and see one of two things: Those standing as righteous sons of God in Christ Jesus or open, rebels against the Creator God.
The ones that appear as sons of God in Christ are those who call out to God the Father, confessing their sinful state, admitting they cannot save themselves and asking for Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to be counted as payment for their sin. If this is done, that person will turn, redeemed from sin, given a new heart and a new nature. That new nature will war with the old nature. This will look like someone who hates their covetousness, hates their selfishness, hates their lust and pride. It will also look like one who wants to love sacrificially, speak in meekness with words of comfort and encouragement. It will look like one who loves the Lord and can't stop learning more in the Bible. It will look like one who sees the riches of this world fade before his eyes, while the riches of God's glory grow brighter. This person will put off the old ways of striving with other over meaningless things and selfish ambition. This person will want others to know the forgiveness they, too, can have in Jesus. 

No matter what happens in the world, whether economies crash or empires crumble, the Church will stand. And at the end of all things, God will judge this world along with the enemy, Satan. You don't have to try to solve this spiritual cliff crisis. You can't, even. Jesus already did. Will you accept His answer?