Having not lived in all times I dare not say that the confusion of these days is worse than they have ever been before, nor even that they are more confusing than any other time in my short life. Let it be enough for you to understand that you are living in confusing times. We might even say that these times only seem confusing, but really it’s only a different sort of confusion than that which was prevalent when I was a child in the 60’s. During those days, you see, the confusion may have been hidden because almost everyone in my community went to church somewhere. The standards of the church were the same as those of the community, so even those who didn’t even consider themselves Christians still lived according to the community’s standards. As long as the community standards and God’s standards were not in conflict in any great way one could easily go to church on Sundays and live a moral life without being born again and no one, perhaps not even the poor unsaved soul, knew any better.
The wickedness that has overtaken this land has changed all of that. Community life is different now because it is contrary to that which God teaches. When I was a child, the Bible verse “…the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” ( Matt 7:14) made no sense. Very few people openly rejected the Bible’s teaching then, and in fact most went to church on Sundays and professed Christianity. Now, while many still go to church on Sunday, many of those church attendees also reject what the Bible teaches, and they do not fear God. Research shows that about half of the preachers on some level reject what the Bible teaches.
In some ways, however, life is clearer now. When I was a child, a person made a pilgrimage up to the front of the church and prayed to ask Jesus in his heart, and was then considered “saved” from that point on regardless of how wicked his life became. I was one of those. This brought confusion because salvation was a man-made formula that was followed, after which you were pronounced Christian by the preacher and that was that. You could live and think any way you wanted and were assured that God loved you and was obliged to send you to heaven when you died because of what you did at taht church that day.
The community’s standards back then served to control how we acted so we generally lived outwardly in a way that was not that much different than what Jesus taught. Little did I know when I was a young one living in the country that I was actually living in a time when big social shifts were taking place; shifts in mindsets that the small town in which I grew up in was not spared. By the time I was a teenager my community’s standards had changed radically. Divorce was acceptable and rampant, killing babies became legal and shame was dead. It became clear to me by the time I was 20 that the increasingly unbiblical community standards had become my true guide in life, and not God or his laws. As the community drifted toward wickedness so did I and I finally admitted to myself that I really wasn’t a Christian. Had the community’s standards not changed, you see, I may have never realized that it was the community’s standardds that were my true guide and not God. See? Confusion.
I was not alone. As Jesus plainly said that most would not find the narrow gate, the vast majority of people followed the community into wickedness and not God into righteousness. Yet many who followed the community still sought to hold on to their religion. In time, entire denominations began to embrace what God clearly said was wrong reflecting the titantic shifts that were taken place below the surface.
But as a non-Christian, I thought following the world while still holding to the religion was a little hypocritical. There were the masses who would live like me Monday through Saturday, and they would go to church every Sunday and teach Sunday school classes and sing in the choir. I never paid much attention to them. But every once in a while I would meet someone who really believed, and it was obvious that they believed. They were different.
There is a good example of what I am talking about that took place during the time of your own childhoods. When President Obama was running for president he said that he was a Christian and that he considered marriage to be between one man and one woman. Nobody really him seriously. But when the owner of Chick-fil-A mentioned that he believed the exact same thing people who loved Obama were very upset. As it turns out, those who loved Obama were not at all confused about who he really was, nor who the owner of Chick-fil-A was.
Unlike the decisions that faced me when I was a little older than you, you must decide whether you are going to follow what society calls right and wrong, or whether you will follow what God calls right and wrong. The one way will lead you into a life in which God is your enemy, the other will lead you into a life in which you will be ridiculed and hated by your culture. One way will lead to life eternal, and the other to death.
With prayers for you my beloved children,