“In a world where anything goes…eventually everything will.” – Dr. James Merritt
I had forgotten about that quote until I saw it today in a friend’s Facebook post. To be honest, it is a fitting quote to describe this week. Of course, here in Alabama the week began with court battles over the definition of marriage. I have addressed that issue in earlier posts. The work week is ending with the debut of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey which appears set to become a hit with millions flocking to see it this weekend. The book series that inspired the movies has already sold millions of copies. I was blissfully unaware of either the books or the movie until recent days. Thanks to several Christian bloggers that I follow, suffice it to say that I very quickly learned far more than I cared to know about the background and subject matter of that series of books and movie. It is the big movie on multiple screens in the area where I live and all over the country today.
Yes, I can already hear the voices of those who say, “OK, if you don’t like it, then don’t go to that movie.” I assure you that I will not. In fact, I will go so far as to say that anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ has no business going to see that movie (and many others for that matter). The issue of Christian standards isn’t what is on my mind today. The issue on my mind today is a culture that is almost daily casting aside moral boundary after moral boundary. This issue isn’t just seen in the battle over the definition of marriage. When a film like Fifty Shades of Grey can be celebrated as a mainstream film fit for consumption at the local theater alongside kids going to see Paddington Bear, then what is next? Can someone please tell me where the moral boundaries are for almost anything? In America now anything goes….and everything is.
As a preacher/pastor for many years now, I have frequently preached that America needed to wake up or we would face the judgment of God. When we think of the judgment of God, we tend to think in terms of the fire and brimstone that reigned down on the Old Testament cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. There are certainly biblical examples of the judgment of God coming loudly, quickly, and with devastating effect. However, there is another way God’s judgment is expressed which is often overlooked. I call it the “silent judgment of God.” No fire. No brimstone. No voice from heaven proclaiming judgment. No particular day when it begins. Yet, the silent judgment of God also brings devastating effects. The silent judgment of God comes when He allows a group people to totally go their own way and reap the consequences. The silent judgment of God comes when God does nothing and lets a people go in their sin. The book of Romans begins with a description of this silent judgment of God. Several times in Romans 1, the Bible says that God delivered the people over to their own desires. That’s the silent judgment of God.
“For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die —they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.” (Romans 1:18–32, HCSB)
Some will say the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey is an indication that America had better repent before the judgment of God comes. Personally, I wonder if it is an indication that the silent judgment of God is already here.