"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Problem with the Future

This post was supposed to be about eschatology, i.e. the study of last things. In particular, about the end of the world, not about our individual ends. Millennial views were going to be discussed, perhaps over more than one post.

Then I saw a link to an article on Medium that starts "Every age has a story it tells about the end of the world." The article is not exactly about traditional eschatology. The author's religious beliefs are not shared. But the article is worth a read. Here's a brief portion:

The future isn't the steady, forward march of human advancement anymore. What is “declining”? Constitutional democracy, opportunity, mobility, material prosperity, law, equity, fairness, a sense of meaning in life…hope for the future. Rupture.

The Rupture, a play on "the rapture", a concept which would have figured prominently into this post as originally intended, is the title of the piece. While it is talking about the future, and how the secular hope of a shining future now has a rupture, the thing that sticks with me is the end. The author's conclusion is that the problem isn't with future, it's with us; with our hearts.

Again, the author's religious beliefs are unknown, but what he states is a basic tenet of historic Christian doctrine. The prophet Jeremiah puts it this way:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)

To fix the future, our hearts must first be fixed. Many throughout history have recognized and taught this fact. The question is, how can our hearts be fixed?

Many have suggested that we must strive to do better. We unlock some inner strength or wisdom or courage through effort. We just have to do better to be better.

But if our hearts are broken, if they are deceitful and desperately sick, this will not work. If we can't understand our heart, we can't fix our heart. We need a physician. The problem is that every human physician is plagued with the same blindness that we are.

We need a savior. We need God to reach into our hearts and do what we cannot, change them. We have to see that we are so sick that we will not get better on our own, but that we need Jesus, the Great Physician, to make us well.

Even then we will struggle. Even then we will have to daily fix our eyes upon Him and trust Him to continue the work of changing us. Positionally, once He redeems us we are righteous, but our sanctification continues. The road will not always, and perhaps not even frequently, be easy. But we have a hope, "that he who began ha good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

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