AT CROSS-PURPOSES WITH GOD

By

GEORGE EVANS, B.A., B.D.

 

What has happened to our world? From much of its life one might infer that some devil is abroad. Men everywhere said "Good-bye" to the Old Year as to a nightmare. But what of the New Year? Disillusionment seems written over everything. Despair has eaten deeply into the hearts of millions. And the dread of some terrible imminent catastrophe lies heavily upon the mind and heart of many. Have Christian people any message for a world sick, visibly perishing? In the presence of calamities and suffering on a world scale, what can be said concerning the Divine Government of the world? Are the evils being endured and impending the "signs" of Godís presence within our, humanity, though in wrath? Or are they the tokens that "He hideth Himself"? The greatness of the prophets of Israel consisted in the immediacy of their experience of God; their awareness of His holiness; and the realization that the holiness of God and His righteousness are indissoluble. Because of this burning experience of God they know that man lives and moves and has his being within a moral order whose spiritual laws are inviolable. They therefore affirm, as men in whom the Divine voice finds utterance, that if men seek God and order their life in its individual and social expression (for the nature of man cannot be divided) they will experience beatitude.

 

But if men, whether in ignorance, or wilfully against the light, violate the laws of the moral order, disasters will inevitably ensue. And when standing forth in the nation, sensitive to all its life, they know their innermost nature lacerated by what their eyes see, they declare that these things are the consequences of disobedience, the symptoms of a disharmony with the nature of God. And at whatever cost to their own person they indict the wrongdoers, and call to repentance. History has confirmed the greatness of the prophets. And is it not just because of this vivid intuitive awareness of Godís moral order and manís life therein?

 

Has time in its passing modified or swept away that moral order? There is widespread in the world, and even within the Christian Church, an idea that the invincible sternness of that order has been somehow softened; that the God we acknowledge is an amiable Deity who no longer exacts the penalties of wilful transgression. The sentimental conception of God so prevalent in our period does not derive from Jesus. "Holy Father" is the recurring phrase on His lips; and "Hallowed be Thy Name" the first saying in the disciplesí prayer. Jesus knew that man lives and moves and has his being within a moral order. And He declared also, with a depth of meaning hidden from the prophets, what the consequences of disobedience are in human affairs, and to the souls of men, The consequences were inescapable. Jesus knows nothing of an amiable God.

 

This is not a time for the people of God to be silent and to wait upon events. The nations are at a moment of destiny. If because of fear or unbelief men persist in acting at cross-purposes with God, in face of the light, and the scourge of experience, the consequences will again ensue as surely as in the Great War. And it will be futile then to pray to God to avert the doom. The air about us trembles with the weighty issues of life and death. What shall the people of God do? Pray? Yes, and without ceasing. What for? Surely, first, that we may realize afresh the holiness of God and the sanctities of the moral order; then, that we may realize that the Church is God's prophet-voice to the nations; and finally, that it may be given to those who speak to the world in the name of the fellowship to sound forth again with conviction and power the first solemn word of our Lord and the prophets - "Repent! Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."

 

-The Christian World.