What's Behind Rising Crime, Violence and Immorality?
A Standard for Living in Today's World
What's behind the dramatic increase in violent crime in our society? A major U.S. magazine described the USA as "America the Violent." Another article tragically stated that 23,700 people were murdered in the United States in a recent year. The average American 18-year old has witnessed 200,000 violent acts on television, including 40,000 murders.
Murder, robbery, rape, school violence, drugs, terrorism-what's gone wrong? Why is the moral fabric of society disintegrating? Is there an answer? Our society appears to be drifting on an uncharted sea without a moral compass. We seem to be wandering in confusion, desperately looking for some "North Star" to guide us. In our lesson today we will discover the truth about what's gone wrong with our society and God's solution to crime and violence in the twenty-first century.
01. What urgent call does God give to a society living on the verge of social collapse and moral decay?
saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
To "fear God" means to respect or reverence God. It is a call to obedience. God's call to judgment implies accountability and moral choices. It is a call to a higher standard: a standard outside of ourselves.
02. How do we "fear" and "respect" God?
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
03. Is our own heart or mind an adequate judge of what is right or wrong?
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Since our natures are fallen, our hearts deceive us at times. It is easy to justify our behavior based on our own personal desires. We need a higher standard outside of ourselves.
04. How does the Bible describe those who trust in their own minds to guide them in making moral decisions?
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
05. In Revelation, the Bible's last book, what did John see in God's temple in heaven?
Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
When God commanded the Israelites in the Old Testament to build a sanctuary, He commanded them to make the ark of the covenant to contain the tables of stone or the ten-commandment law. The temple in heaven containing the ark of the covenant contains God's law, the foundation of His character. Revelation's answer to lawlessness is found in heaven at God's throne in His eternal standard of righteousness - His law. The law of God is a transcript of His character, a description of His will. Without the law there is no sin. The apostle Paul states, "For where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15).
06. What is the function of God's law?
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
07. What is the eternal, unchangeable standard of God's government?
07. The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure.
08. They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness.
34. My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
God's law is the basis of His government. It was established to ensure the peace, order, harmony, and unity of the universe. A broken law brings sorrow, suffering, bondage, and death (Proverbs 5:22, Romans 6:16, 23).
08. To what does the Bible compare God's law?
23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24. for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
25. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
The law is a mirror that enables us to see ourselves and recognize our need of saving grace. The law reveals what sin is. It provides a moral standard outside of ourselves.
09. What is the role of Grace?
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Grace is God's unmerited favor to bring us back into harmony with Him. The sole basis of our salvation is grace. Grace has always existed. It means pardon, mercy, love, and kindness (Genesis 6:8, Romans 4:1-4, Ephesians 2:4-8). Grace frees us from the condemnation of the law. By grace we pass from death to life (Romans 5:8-10; 8:1, 2). By faith we accept the grace of God (Romans 3128).
10. How are we justified or made right with God? Does keeping the law form the basis of our salvation?
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
11. Does faith give us freedom to break God's law?
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
12. What is the converted person's relationship to God's law?
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
Question to Billy Graham: "Some religious people I know tell me that the Ten Commandments are part of the 'law' and do not apply to us today. They say that as Christians we are 'free from the law.' Is that right?
Answer: "No, it is not right, and I hope you will not be misled by these false opinions. It is very important to understand what the New Testament means when it says that Christians are 'free from the law.' It certainly does not mean that they are free from the obligations of the moral law of God and are at liberty to sin."
Conversion always leads us to "delight" to do God's will. When Christ changes our hearts or converts us, we have one supreme desire-to obey Him. He has done SO much for us that we gladly serve Him. Obedience is not a legalistic requirement. It is part of a loving heart's response to God.
13. What did Jesus teach His disciples about the importance of keeping His law?
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
14. Did Jesus teach that He came to do away with God's law?
17. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled."
15. What is the genuine test of knowing God?
1 John 2:3–5
03. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
04. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
05. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
The evidence of the internal change called conversion is a changed life. Grace always leads to obedience. The more we love God, the more we desire to obey Him.
16. In Revelation's final call to a planet rapidly disintegrating into lawlessness, how does God describe His people?
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
A genuine commitment to God leads to loving obedience. At the end-time God will have a group of people who reveal to the whole universe the joy of living obediently. They have been saved by grace. They love God so much that they enthusiastically obey Him. They accept His standards of conduct. They are convinced His way is best.
In view of the Bible's clear revelation of Gods law and how it is described as representing the eternal character of God, would you like by His grace to choose to live your live in obedience to God's law?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
The law of God is:
PERFECT (Psalm I9:7).
A DELIGHT (Psalm 119:70, 77).
TRUTH (Psalm 119:142).
LIGHT (Proverbs 6:23).
HOLY, JUST, AND GOOD (Romans 7:12).
FAITHFUL (Psalm 119:86).
PURE (Psalm 19:8).
EXCEEDING BROAD (Psalm 119:96).
MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD (Psalm 119:127).
A LAW OF LIBERTY (James 1:25).
A ROYAL LAW (James 2:8).
When we are converted, we:
DELIGHT IN GOD'S LAW (Psalm 119:92).
LOVE GOD'S LAW (Psalm 119:97).
KEEP GOD'S LAW (Revelation 14:12).
MEDITATE ON GOD'S LAW (Psalm 1:2).
God promises to:
PLACE HIS LAW IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS (Hebrews 10:16).
REDEEM US FROM EVERY LOVELESS DEED (Titus 2:14).
GIVE US GRACE FOR OBEDIENCE (Romans 5:5).