At this start of the new year, let our resolution be to reject sin and make 2024 the year when we once again, both individually and as a nation, seek after purity.
As a society, over the last hundred or so years, we have become progressively decadent and corrupt. When challenged on society’s manifest decline, some counter with the argument that things have always been this way and we’re just scaremongering. It’s just that things are out in the open now, they say, and we have better news coverage!
Really? Can this possibly be true?
Consider: since 1967 we have killed – without cause, beyond the justification of convenience – ten and a half million unborn babies. Sexually transmitted diseases (and I use the word ‘disease’ designedly, in preference to the now preferred and more innocuous sounding ‘infection’) have reached epidemic level rates of transmission. One in four of the population at any one time is classified as mentally ill. Between 2022-2023, 6.74 million crimes were recorded by the police in England and Wales, the highest figure since 2002. And last year there were 2,300 victims of knife crime aged under 18, with a staggering 50,833 police recorded incidents involving a knife or bladed instrument – reportedly, the highest rates since 1946. And this isn’t even beginning to look at the figures for substance and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and paedophilia, etc, etc.
No, things have not always been this way. The, to some, unpalatable truth is that things have only become so bad as we have rejected God, pursuing our own selfish and self-centred desires, and transferring our worship, as a nation, to the unholy and profane. Yes, we are all sinners, and without help we unquestionably remain in bondage to our lower animal instincts. This is the outworking and manifestation of sin. But God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to break that hold and release us into life, where we can be free to become fully who and what He has always intended us to be. Paradoxically, it is only obedience to Christ that gives us this freedom and genuine peace – that enables us to become fully ‘ourselves’.
As a nation, we have increasingly rejected God. As individuals, we wallow in sexual licence and consumer propelled greed, while our politicians are driven by self-interest and seemingly lack courage to do what is right. The Church, in its quest to remain ‘relevant’ and non-confrontational, has abandoned its call to protect and guide the flock. Our media spews out misinformation, and sometimes even outright lies. And, perhaps worst of all, we teach our young that immorality and promiscuity is ‘love’ and to be desired – that it is indeed ‘natural’, and the only way.
We are following a counterfeit gospel of distortion and lies, and in God’s eyes we are a people given over to sin; because of which, we are under judgment. Time after time He has called us to repent and turn back, reaching out to us in love – and time after time we have spurned Him, preferring our so-called ‘freedom’ to obedience, preferring darkness to light. But God does not wait forever, and He will not allow us to continue on our present trajectory, because it is a highroad leading straight to hell.
There are difficult times ahead. Because God loves us, He will no longer allow us to continue in sin, but, like a surgeon and in order to preserve life, He will intervene to cut out and remove evil. Judgment can only now be stayed by our repentance. At every level – individually, politically, socially, and ecclesiastically. We must no longer remain complicit and bound by the contagion of sin.
So let 2024 become the year when we once again pledge ourselves to hold onto what is good and seek after purity.