For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I Woke Up In Bizarro World- Again!

Last fall I penned a little piece bemoaning the upside down nature of our society: how we seem to celebrate evil and persecute good on so many levels.  I likened it to a song called Escher's World and to the DC comics concept of Bizarro World.  Well, it's just getting worse. 

The latest, although I think we all knew it was coming, is that a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing in the selling of baby body parts; but instead chose to file charges against the person who brought the heinous crimes to light.   If you are a right thinking individual, you may have to read that again:  Selling baby parts on the black market = ok.  Faking an ID in order to reveal such atrocity = felony charge.  It even made front page above the fold at the New York Times.  "Hurray for baby killers and for the punishment coming for those who oppose them."

Let me remind you again of the villainous motto of DC's Bizarro World.  "Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!"  Hating beauty and loving ugliness.  Yep, that about sums up this grand jury's attitude.  We hate the beauty of small children and love the ugliness of seeing them chopped up into spare parts.  Meanwhile, if anyone calls attention to that ugliness, they are the real criminal. 

Now, let me say that as a general rule lying and deceiving are also bad things.  And yet, law enforcement does this all the time to get to criminals.  Undercover stings are built on this kind of misdirection, getting "in" to get confessions, etc.  In this case, since it's just well meaning citizens showing the world what reprehensible things are being done with tax payer dollars, I guess it's not so ok after all. 

Oh, wait, maybe that's the rub.  That tax payer dollar thing.  It's because this involves government stuff.  Because it involves a practice supported, no applauded, by our current administration.  Maybe that's why baby killing is good while a little misdirection to reveal it is bad.  Because this is part of the Bizzaro World government which currently holds power in this nation.   Well, go back to that previous post for the rest of that rant. 

For now, while my mind is boggled and my heart breaks over the idiocy of this nation (I mean come on: Trump or Hillary?? That's our best effort?? But that's another post),  I rest in the calm assurance that this world is not my home. And in the end, God will make all things right.  

We're not the first to struggle with this: the evil winning, the good losing.  Psalm 73 is a wonderful reminder of that struggle, seeing the wicked prosper and wondering why.  Then verses 16-17 - "But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end." (Psalm 73:16-17, ESV)

So, persevere, brethren (and sisteren? to be politically correct?).  None of this changes the end our Sovereign God is working towards.  None of it is new, even.  Indeed, this world is not our home, and our Righteous Judge will someday return and put things right.  In those days, I pity our Bizarro cousins.  As the next couple verses of Psalm 73 say, "Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!" (Psalm 73:18-19, ESV)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rest in Peace? A reflection on the passing of David Bowie

The music world mourned as the announcement came out that David Bowie succumbed to cancer at the age of 69.  Regardless of whether you liked him or not, one can hardly argue the influence he had over pop music for the last 40+ years.  In fact, one of my favorite artists, Steve Taylor, tweeted this: 
It's the I.O.U. part that shows Bowie's influence, but it's the R.I.P. part I want to talk about.  We all know the standard response of "Rest in Peace" when someone dies.  It actually comes from the Latin phrase "requiescat in pace", which of course means the same thing.  It's found on tombstones, etc.  It expresses a desire that the recently departed would actually find peace in the life to come. 

But is it legitimate for Christian people to offer the epitaph to those who by their lives demonstrate no relationship with Christ at all?  I mean, according to Scripture, there is no rest apart from Christ.  God has made it quite clear that all are by nature objects of His wrath, that our inborn sin will literally keep us from entering His rest, and will earn for us nothing but judgment in the world to come...unless we come to Christ. 

God has promised His wrath on sinful men, but in His mercy and grace He has also sent His Son to experience that wrath in our place, to suffer judgment in our place, to give us instead forgiveness, and salvation, and yes, peace in His rest.  But that only comes through Christ.  It only comes through faith.  It only comes through a new birth by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone. 

So then, if we see someone leave this world and enter into eternity, someone who has lived a life which gives no evidence of any faith in Christ; a life that has actually been anti-Christ in so many ways; a life bereft of any fruit that would lead us to believe a new birth has happened; is it legitimate to offer the epitaph "R.I.P."?  Knowing that apart from Christ, there is no rest or peace, can we just smile and say "R.I.P" to those whose future contains nothing of the sort?

I guess we could say we're offering it in hope.  We are hoping and praying that somehow maybe this person did find that faith in Christ.  We are hoping and praying that they truly will rest in peace.  Or I guess that we could just say "it's just a saying" and let it go.  R.I.P. is just the standard response to death, and it has no meaning at all. Maybe.

I'm probably making way too big a deal about this, but the idea of hoping for someone to truly rest in peace is a serious one.  It should make us consider the eternal. Facing mortality should cause us to consider immortality.  The end of this flesh should cause us to consider what comes after.  Because there is an "after."  And that "after" will include either resting in peace, or suffering in wrath.  Only Christ can make the difference. So please, if you've considered these things before, you need to now.  When it comes time to offer epitaphs, it's too late.  Seek Christ today. 

It's not my place, ultimately, to judge David Bowie's eternal state, or anyone else's.  In fact, the following video brings up some very interesting questions regarding some possible late life changes in Mr. Bowie's life.  Regardless, you and I should be concerned with our own destiny.  If you have questions, follow the link at the end of the video, or feel free to contact me through the comments.