By Bruce Edwards, Jr.
When the apostle Paul arrived in Athens and beheld the city “full of idols,@ the record says that “his spirit was provoked within him.” The import of this statement is that when the apostle witnessed the outrageous and sinful presence of idolatry in the city, he could not sit idly by and allow sin and iniquity remain unchallenged. It was incredible to Paul that men could worship in such appalling ignorance, bereft of the knowledge of the true God. If Paul were to be true to Christ and to himself, he simply had to say something.
Our reaction should be the same as that of the apostle when we observe the presence of blatant sinfulness. Our “spirits should be provoked within us” when we encounter satanic influence round about us. It has been said that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for “good men” to remain silent. This is surely true of the Lord’s people. Our society countenances sin in every possible mode; crime, immorality, disrespect for civil authority, and corruption in government run rampant across the land. The Christian cannot afford to sit with smug piety “detached” from the evil of society. The Christian must take his stand with the prophets of old-assailing every form of evil, every affront to the Divine sovereignty of the Lord. This is no call to turn the church into a social reform society; instead it is a call for an individual mandate, standing for the inerrant and infallible standard of God.
A personal example may illustrate the point. A certain supermarket in our area readily displays and sells pornographic books and magazines. At the check-out counter we asked the clerk just why the store sold such trash. The answer was an incredible example of just how deep-seated our society’s immorality is. She replied, “We simply make it available for those who wish to buy it.” What feeble reasoning for one trying to justify sin! According to this logic, public demand determines right or wrong.Presumably the store would also offer narcotics, prostitution, and murder contracts, providing there were a public demand for such!
It is time for the righteous of God to stand up for the absolute authority of Him who made us, When our communities are replete with any kind of sin, we who claim to belong to Christ must speak out and voice complaints against its presence. It was apparent that the store clerk had never experienced a complaint about such trash before my brief repartee. Perhaps if more of us would speak out, the influence of Satan would not be quite as strong. It is apparent that our government’s policy for eradicating such sinful activity is to redefine it and legalize it! Hence, gambling is appropriated by the state in the form of “lotteries”; homosexuality becomes “an alternative life-style”; alcoholism is only a “disease”; and prostitution becomes a ” respectable manner of wage-earning.” It is inconceivable that the Christian could or should allow such redefinition and legalization “go by the board” without raising a voice in protest.
Remaining silent, refusing to identify sin as sin. is impossible for the true follower of Christ. Paul could not but speak when he witnessed iniquity; we also must speak for Christ every time the opportunity presents itself. To do less is to become a partaker in those sins.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:40, p. 13
August 15, 1975