Maintaining Hope in the midst of Wickedness

What’s your reaction to the sinfulness of the world today?

Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. What else would you expect sinners to do, if not to sin?

Do you feel hopeless that this world is speeding towards hell and there is nothing anyone can do about it? Its understandable. After all, Jesus did say that the days preceding His Return would like the “days of Noah”, evil days. So, fasten your seatbelts. Things will get worse. Much worse.

I want you to know that you feel the way you do because you are a member of the “priesthood” of God in this world. You are not one of them (sinners). But because you live among them, their wickedness does not escape your eyes. It is natural, therefore, that it evokes some reactions in and from you. But you must be careful how you react. You must temper your reactions so that they do not cause you to sin against men and against God.

Imagine what a priests of Israel could have felt as he ministered daily before God at the Tabernacle. Every day, a long line of Israelites take turns to offer their sacrifices at the Altar of Sacrifice. Most of them have brought a Sin or Trespass Offering.

“What’s your sin?” asks the priest.

Then together, priest and worshipper, with the help of a Levite, they lift the sacrifice onto the Altar and watch the flames consume it completely. A while later, the priest turns to the worshipper and makes this pronouncement: “Your sins are forgiven”.

“Next!”

Another worshipper steps towards the Altar and confesses his sin.

“You did what?”

It is easy, as you can see, for a priest who hears the confessions of the people day after day to become judgmental. Worse still, he might become indifferent – the opposite of love.

You are a member of the Priesthood of Believers. So, how can you avoid becoming judgmental and/or indifferent? How can you maintain hope in the midst of utter wickedness in the world?

Here are 3 simple things you can do:

1. Realize you too have sinned; and are living by the mercy of God.
As a priest, you are also human. Therefore, you are capable of being tempted and have the propensity to sin just like anyone else. And you do sin. The priests in the Old Testament are human also. They sin in the same way – though hopefully not as frequent – as the common Israelites. And so, they need the provision of the Sin and Trespass Offering as much as any Israelite. In fact, God demands that the first and last offerings of the day would be by the priests (Ex 29:38-39). By these offerings, God will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting, the altar, and Aaron and his sons to minister to Him as priests (verse 44).

So, confess your sin, if any. And even if you have not sinned, humble yourself before God and do not let pride enter your heart.

2. Remember that Christ came to set us free from our sins, not to destroy the world.
Christians should not see themselves as Spiritual Policemen or policewomen. God does not have a “Gestapo”, or secret police, to catch people when they sin. Unfortunately, this is the idea of God many Christians have: that He is out to catch them doing wrong to punish them. If you are one of them, rid your mind and soul of this notion immediately. It is a lie from the devil.

Did God swoop down from heaven the second Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Did God banish them right away from the Garden? No. He came giving them a chance to admit their trespass and to repent. But instead of admission, they chose denial and blame.

Although God finally judged Adam and Eve, He was not judgmental. He is a Righteous Judge.

A judgmental spirit would want sinners to be punished for their sins. But who is qualified to judge sinners? Only Christ. And if He did not come to condemn the world but to save it who are we to prematurely condemn those who sin (John 3:17). We have been explicitly told not to judge anything before the appointed time (1 Cor 4:5). In the meantime, we are only to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).

The reason God instituted the Levitical Priesthood was so that all of Israel would be saved. And Israel, as a whole, was to be a priestly nation (a “kingdom of priests”) to a world that needed help to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is the first order of business for God, not judgment. He has reserved judgment for last.

3. Return to the ministry of reconciliation.
Hence, your priestly ministry includes the Ministry of Reconciliation. In fact, the ministry of reconciliation is your primary ministry as a “priest”. It is your duty to help men and women be reconciled to God.

Since the topic of the Ministry of Reconciliation is a big one, I have decided to write on it in a separate post. I hope you will look out for it.

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