“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).
As you listen to sermons and Bible classes, does it seem like the preaching and teaching is out of touch with the reality of everyday life? Does it seem as though the same issues are harped on too much? What are moral failings and false beliefs that most threaten God’s people today?
According to a Gallup Poll in May, over 70 percent of Americans see no moral issues with divorce, almost 70 percent see no moral issues with premarital sex, over 60 percent think it is just fine to have a baby even if you aren’t married, and nearly 60 percent accept doctor-assisted suicide.
Here are some other statistics: Over 50 percent of Christians now believe that Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same God. According to pollster George Barna, more than half of all adults in this country believe that if a person is generally good, he or she will earn a place in heaven. Over half of all Americans and about one third of conservative Christians believe that Jesus was a sinner. More than 50% of born again Christians do not believe the Holy Spirit really exists or that the devil really exists.
What’s the point? God’s people need constant reinforcement of the fundamentals of their faith! Of course, God wants his people to become familiar with everything that he has to say to them. He wants them to find in him the answer to their deepest individual needs.
But we can never take the core truths of the Christian faith for granted. The statistics above reveal that unbiblical views on what is right and what is wrong are espoused by a large percentage of the population. The Biblical view of morality seems to be losing ground in the hearts and minds of Americans. We would be foolish to assume that Christians, even conservative Lutheran ones, are immune to the forces of popular opinion and current trends.
The real danger is not that Christians will sometimes be guilty of various illicit sexual behaviors, broken marriages, or other selfish practices. We know they will. The real danger is that they will stop calling it sin, stop repenting of it, and start considering it acceptable.
If that happens, can a proper understanding of who God is and what he came to do for us long survive? The less we can see our sin and feel its guilt, the less we feel the need for a perfect Savior. The more the God of Christianity will look like the gods of all the other religions who expect their people to try hard and be nice. The more we will think that we deserve a place in heaven because we are nice people.
The Apostle Peter knew that he could never spend too much time talking about who Jesus is and what he has done to save us. He was convinced that there was nothing more important for people to know. He preached a God who was unique, a God who became man and lived with us, a God who did everything for our salvation. He was convinced that constant review of these things was the right thing to do.
God grant that we not only remember what the Bible says. God grant that we believe it, see its daily value, and gladly promote it against the current of popular opinion.