Sowing and Reaping

The survival of monogamous relationships and families as we now know it is under duress from the ungodly conditions around us with a surge in extra marital affairs, cohabitation common place nowadays, the explosion of pornography over the internet, and sexual perversion being systematically taught to school children. Conservative educationalists trace the influence of the sexual revolution to both the student rebellion along with the radical feminism of the 60’s. Perhaps, but it started long before that with the Fall. Let us now consider the decision to leave God out of our lives.

I think we have all heard that “what goes around comes around.” The Bible clearly teaches that we will reap whatever we sow. Do we truly realize the far-reaching implications of our choices on our lives and the lives of others — children, family members, co-workers, friends, society at large? The teaching of Scripture on being an example to others stresses this very point (2 Chron. 17:3; John 13:15; 1 Thess. 1:7; 2 Thess. 3:7-9; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7). Being a good model is a form of sowing that can result in reaping Christlike changes in the lives of others. Trouble is that when God does not factor into our thinking our choices do have an opposing affect on others.

The Negative Side: reaping the wrong others have sown

We not only enter into the blessings God has bestowed, but we also reap the results of wrong others have sown both before us and around us.

    (1) We reap a certain amount of wrong inherited from our parents (Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Gen. 5:3; Ex. 20:6; 34:6-7; Num. 14:18).
    (2) We all reap the sin of Adam and we pass that along to our children. This means not only a sinful nature, but wrong behavior that children can learn from their parents such as indifference and lack of commitment to the Gospel.
    (3) We reap the consequences of bad decisions from corrupt leaders on a decaying society (see Isa. 2:5-3:15). This often includes the judgment of God on society.

We may learn vital lessons from past cultures when God was largely forsaken. I am quoting directly from a book written in 1787 by Edward Gibbon who, after 20 years of labour, completed his book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In it he attributed the fall of the Empire as being:

    (1) The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
    (2) Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
    (3) The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
    (4) The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
    (5) The decay of religion—faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

Society needs the Gospel and Christians need to be eager to give it. Our labour is never in vain (1 Cor. 15:10, 58). It has consequential implications on others. The mass-media do what they can to make any kind of sin seem acceptable, so people lose the spirit of discernment between good and evil. In the Bible we read: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” (Deut. 30:19). Christians should be living so that others will see the difference between a life lived in vain, and a life that is preparing for eternity. What kind of influence are you having in this world over others? May God help you to see the kind of effect you should be having on others.

The Only True God

That societies are pursuing their own vision of the divine is proof positive that paganism is emerging once again. On a global scale, we are seeing how nature is venerated and how diversity and pluralism are shaped and accepted. Monotheists are exclusive in their worship of one Supreme Being while henotheisms are not opposed to the idea of the existence of other gods besides their own. A monotheist acknowledges that only one true deity can exist and recognizes all others to be false. In our modern world, what some have termed neo-paganism is on the increase. In Europe especially, many seek a return to ancestral influences that originated in Greece and even Iceland in search of numerous deities. Let us consider what God said in Isaiah 45:5 “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God.”

As to the Christian’s response to henotheistic philosophy, the narrative in chapter 17 of Acts should be of some help. Paul was greatly distressed by the many idols he saw when he entered Athens. Instead of going on a city wide tour and take in the culture, he chose to reason in their synagogues and later in the Council building to demonstrate to them how futile their philosophy really was, and teach them about the one true God. From his philosophical exchange, we would do well to learn more about the different strands of thought undergirding today’s religions. Paul was able to discuss matters intelligently due to his understanding of their position and knew something about their culture as well. Paul made mention about their altar dedicated to the “unknown god”. It was erected to offset the possibility of any deities that they may have failed to acknowledge. Pagans nurture open acceptance of other deities and practises, with little or no hesitation. The exception is where moral absolutes are insisted upon. Then, God’s Truth becomes an issue for the pagan.

Since Christians insist on moral absolutes it is not surprising then that they have come under attack. Recently, the law association wished to prevent a Christian law University from accreditation, not because its academia came under question, for it met the province’s standards, but because it expects its students to abstain from immoral conduct while in school. It is because of this that they are threatened with being shut down. I guess the idea is for students to become sexually active and morally irresponsible which might be less of an issue for the law society of Upper Canada. While this is outright discrimination, it is hypocritical how pagans voice no objection regarding those who operate within their own circle, no matter what they may think or do.

Plurality, the refusal to judge other ways of life as wrong because they are different from one’s own, is not something new at all. Pagans accepted all forms of deities as legitimate. Today, a similar notion is held. No matter how different beliefs are to each other all are seen as equally true. Yet, monotheists recognize true and false expressions of faith, and what beliefs are based on does matter! Paul does not attempt to interface pagan deities with Christianity but sets God apart from their stone idols. He describes God as personal and sovereign over all of life. Certainly no one pagan deity could claim this for themselves! Paul called the gathering to believe and repent, and he does so in light of Christ’s resurrection. Typically, this is not something that would go over well in today’s Religion 101 class where the goal is to find agreement within the various sects. Since dogmatism is forbidden, lines of thought about God are blurred by the insistence that even though each is to pursue their own vision about the supernatural none are seen as wrong. So at best God is understood in the abstract. Nowadays, traditional monotheism once dominant in the West is surrendering ground to neo-paganism. This is probably due to the fact that many traditional non-pagan religions have either capitulated to polytheism (many gods) or have simply not voiced their opposition strong enough. On the other hand, Paul did and the crowd around him either believed, sneered, or wanted to hear more at a later time.

Today, ask yourself what you really believe? You may think that it matters little what you believe since all faiths are thought to lead toward a common supreme being, no matter how jumbled and inconsistent each religion may appear from the other. This way of thinking has found wide appeal among the masses. In this sense, men fashion the divine being after their own way of thinking. We are told in Romans that once men squelch the knowledge of God from their minds, than indeed their thoughts become futile and their foolish hearts darkened wherein they exchanged the Glory of God for deities of their own making (see Romans 1:21-22).

It would be unwise to attach your hopes to something that does not exist. Idols are a poor substitute for the Living God. He is unchanging and powerful. He is Creator and there is none like Him. He can deliver us from the judgment to come. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to demonstrate that we too will be raised bodily in the last day, either to damnation or to eternal life. Christ died on Calvary for our sins. Will you trust in Him alone today?

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).