“Those were the good old days!”
Men speak that way sometimes and refer to various things which, in their opinion, were better than the things of today. Not infrequently however this sentiment is expressed also in regard to the conduct of men and particularly in regard to the conduct of children. Our age speaks much of juvenile delinquency and of a “teen age problem.” And in reference to the conduct and behavior of the youth of our day the thought is often expressed that it was much better in the olden times. Children were not so bold. They dared not perform those actions that today they practice without a blush or sign of remorse or shame. And many a parent has caught himself saying to his child, “When we were children, we did not dare to do such things.” Then again the remark will be made, “What is this generation coming to anyway? Back of all this is the undeniable belief of man that there is a development of sin and that each age is followed by a more evil age.
You say, It simply looks that way?”
Indeed we do forget so quickly the sins of our youth. And it is not at all difficult to treat our children as though they were adults. We can exact of them that which a child cannot do and then come to the conclusion that our children are not as self-reliant and resourceful as we were in our childhood, forgetting that we did these things at a much later age and by far more gradual steps. We do not have the same kinds of sins as those we had when we were children. Naughty tricks and evil works which we enjoyed in our childhood days no longer give us that same thrill; and we apply this change of pleasure to the days of our children and seem not to be able to remember that when we were young we DID do those things ourselves. We forget also that our children live in another age with different circumstances, when sins are much closer at hand and easier to reach than in our day. Therefore we quickly cry of a generation that is so much more evil than the age when we were children.
Well, far be it from us to say anything else. This age in which we live is far more evil than the age of our youth, and the present generation also has reached a degree of sin that the former age did not know. All the statistics that are released will show you that. Crime and vice have reached astounding proportions. Teenagers do dare to do things that adults would hesitate to do. Children do without a trace of shame or even of acknowledgement of wrong perpetrate the most terrible crimes. Not only is there a tremendous increase in the number of crimes and evil performed today, but the forms of wickedness also have multiplied.
Such has been the undeniable course of history. From that original sin of Adam the world rushed through the murder of Cain and of Lamech to all the wickedness that soon called for the judgment of the Flood. Soon enough the state of the world became such that we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Everyimagination . . . only evil continually. What an awful picture of that human race that had so shortly before stood in righteousness and holiness before God in Paradise! True, in that day men lived to be nine hundred years old before they died. They lived longer than we do, and they were able to develop in their sins to a very marked degree before they died. To many generations they had the opportunity to teach their devilishness. But do not forget that today we have much better means of transportation and communication. We have our magazines and newspapers, our radio and television to spread the evil works of men and to teach others ways of violence and wickedness. And the root of sin that was sown in Paradise must needs bring forth more and more fruit. For it is not dead but very much alive. The rotten spot in the apple does not stay confined to its little area but soon spreads and envelopes the whole apple. The disease germ in your body is either overcome by the white corpuscles in your blood or else multiplies and brings you low with disease. So it is with the corruption that entered into man when he fell in Paradise. Who would dare to deny that there is much more sin and many more types of sin in the world today than those Adam committed in Paradise or after being driven out because of his sin? Sin is not dying off. Sin is very much alive and growing at a tremendous speed.
Trace, if you will, the history of Israel. Trace it in the ten tribes who departed through the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin. Did it stop at the worshipping of golden calves which were said to represent Jehovah who brought them up out of the land of Egypt? Of course it did not. It developed into the worship of all the gods of the heathen round about them. It developed until God was ready to cast them out of the promised land and into captivity from which they never returned. No different was it with the two tribes who followed David and his sons. Soon enough the wickedness of the ten tribes spread over the border and was gladly received by the two tribes; and it went from bad to worse until this kingdom also was ready for exile into Babylon.
We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that it is any otherwise today. Paul warns Timothy and us that perilous times are coming when men shall manifest themselves clearly as lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. II Timothy 3:1-5. Paul sees no restraining grace of God in the hearts of the reprobate world, nor does he therefore see a withdrawal of such a restraining grace in the latter days which accounts for these perilous times and the rising up of the antichrist. The Antichrist has been coming ever since the Fall. He does not suddenly begin to come. The awful form which he assumes in the days just before Christ’s return will be a most powerful manifestation of sin and be the highest development of sin. For he is called in Scripture the man of sin, the man sin produces, II Thessalonians 2:1-4. And this is not something that comes all of a sudden out of a clear sky but rather by a steady, continuous development of sin. That is why John could say that now today and in his day—a time when according to some a certain restraining grace of God was upon the hearts of the reprobate without renewing them—there were many antichrists, I John 2:18. Nay, that Antichrist can come at the end of time only because throughout history sin has been developing in the hearts of men and in the works of their hands. No sooner had God destroyed the first world with the flood and purified it, and sin reappears. And if you please, we may even see a development of sin in the Church, for as we wrote last time, our flesh also is part of that ungodly world and not simply like unto it. According to our flesh we are that world and develop with that world in sin. Noah advanced into sin and Ham took over where he left off to establish it once again firmly on the new earth. Look about you today! Have these sins of Noah and of Ham been contained to the relatively small area of Noah’s nakedness and Ham’s filthy delight? Do we see more than such sins in the world today? Are our newspapers today merely filled with accounts of drunken men who expose themselves naked before the eyes of others? And are men hailed in court and fined for laughing at such shameful things? Is the world of today no more wicked than that? Come, come! Look again and explain all this harlotry, adultery, fornication, sexual freedom and corruption that you see every where today and even in the eyes of the world is a plague upon our land. The wild parties of not simply drunken men but of men and women, the immoral literature and photography, the lewd speech and filthy entertainment of the world of today all is the product of the development of sin that began with the sins of those who peopled the earth after the Flood. No, no grace of God has been restraining that sin in the hearts of the reprobate world. Sin develops, and as man invents new tools and means, he multiplies and magnifies the sins he is able to commit. There is one steady line of development of sin from the family of Noah till it culminates in the Antichrist.
And grasp the significance of that fact! All the corruption in the world, all the sins of today which have developed out of the sins of the past, all the sinners of today as they stand on the shoulders of the sinners in ages past and are able to reach new heights of deviltry and perversion, all these developed out of the flesh of those who were the Church saved by the water of the Flood. We may wish to label Ham as an reprobate, and many do for several reasons. Some do because they wish to retain the symbolic number seven and wish to see only that symbolic number of seven souls saved in the ark. Others who read the text to declare that Ham was cursed rather than his son Canaan insist that therefore he could not be an elect child of God. Still others point to his sin, overlooking, of course, the fact that Noah sinned first and just as grievously as Ham, and in fact by his sin caused Ham to stumble—and on the basis of this sin insist that he was a reprobate. It really makes no difference, all this filth and corruption, all this drunkenness and sexual perversion of today comes not simply out of Ham’s deed but out of Noah’s. He introduced such filth and evil back into the new world. That Ham later on would expose the evil of his heart in some other way even if his father had not here given him the occasion so soon after the Flood, does not change the matter at all. The fact still remains that Noah was the one who introduced these sins back into the new world. Noah was the one who carried in his flesh all its lusts even while being saved by the flood and in the ark. And he still had them when he came forth from the ark.
Anyone still wish to argue the point that as far as our flesh is concerned we are not simply like the world but indeed are part of that world? Jesus once said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Indeed, and to see the matter correctly, let us also remember drunken Noah. Let us do so to understand what filthy damnable sinners we are as far as our flesh is concerned. Let us do so in order to learn well our misery and need of the blood of Christ. Let us do so in order that we may fully appreciate the salvation in Christ. Let us do so in order that we may hold fast to the truth hat it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth—for Noah willed sin and ran in the way of sin—but of God Who showeth mercy. We, as far as our flesh is concerned, are children of the age in which we live, and the sins that the world commits, we commit, if not openly then surely in our hearts. The evil that we would not, that we do. And it is only because God sent His Son who was conceived by the Holy Ghost and Whose flesh was not tainted by our sin and gave the pure life as a sacrifice for our sins that we have salvation.
Let us then work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God Who worketh in us both to will and to do. That our flesh is part of the world and that it develops in sin with the world is not reason for complacency. We have also another life within us. We are children of our age, but by God’s grace we are also children of God, children of the light. Let us so walk in His fear.