As we teeter on the brink of anarchy, a half-hidden headline (tucked away on page 26 of the Daily Mail) highlighted the real problem or our society – idolatry.
We have broken the first commandment by worshipping ‘gods’ we have made to replace the true source of life. Our lives have become focused on ourselves – I, me and mine – and one of the ways in which this is starkly reflected is the abortion industry.
According to the Mail, a record 207,384 abortions were carried out last year, apparently driven by growing numbers of women in their 30s choosing to terminate pregnancies – or breaking yet another commandment (You shall not kill) to use less euphemistic language.
It was the highest figure for England and Wales since abortion was legalised in 1967. Pro-life campaigners blame the instability of cohabiting relationships and the pressure on women to earn the highest possible income.
So the idol which involves throwing your baby into the fire of hospital incinerators for the sake of personal convenience is linked with another idol: the desire for money to spend on what you probably don’t need. For the same paper reported that the average family has been saving £182 per week on non-essentials due to lockdown.
But such extra ‘luxuries’ come at great cost, as evidenced by a 63-year-old retired midwife who has spoken on film of the horror of seeing aborted babies gasping for breath after being left to die on kidney dishes.
Lynn was particularly struck by the shocking contrast of medics fighting to save premature babies in one ward while leaving them to die in the next!
Though deeply regretting her own abortion at the age of 20 (she knew he was a boy, who would have been her oldest son), she is able to live with herself because she became a Christian and has received forgiveness and healing from the Lord.
She faced up to what was wrong in her life and had it dealt with through the source of all life – Jesus. What a stark contrast to the self-righteous virtu-signalling of those who blame everyone but themselves for the world’s troubles.
The answer is that sin, not politics, is the problem. Prince Charles and others would have us focus on nature, worshipping created things rather than the Creator himself in order to re-create the paradise of Eden. But it was the sin of rebellion against God that led to exile from Eden in the first place.
The ancient Israelites were later given two options – to follow God’s commandments or to wilfully disobey them, which would lead either to blessing or cursing (Deuteronomy 11.26-28). And the end result of the latter choice would be exile from their promised land lasting 1,900 years.
The problem of sin is as old as life on earth, and Jesus came as an eternal remedy, paying the penalty for our wrongdoing, suffering the judgment we deserve. Once we have dealt with that, we can change society.
John Newton was a slave-ship captain who indulged in grievous sin and debauchery. But in the midst of a terrifying storm which threatened to sink his vessel, he cried out for God to save him. He later testified of his experience through the words of a hymn: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”
Newton subsequently joined the abolition campaign of fellow Christian William Wilberforce and became a blessing – especially to black people – instead of a curse.
But we have turned our backs on the legacy of Newton and Wilberforce, and of William Tyndale and Robert Raikes – towering figures who brought the Bible to Britain. We have despised the commands of God and chosen death, not life. No wonder we’re descending into anarchy – we’re under a curse!
Who would have thought that, just six months after the Tories swept to power with an 80-seat majority, we would feel as though we were living in a left-wing dictatorship?
As a friend put it the other day, whatever you rely on in place of God is an idol. In recent years we have idolised the economy; now, during the COVID pandemic, it seems we are genuflecting to the god of science.
One also needs to ask the question of whether the NHS has become our golden calf – something we worship in place of God, as the Israelites did when Moses delayed coming down the mountain?
I appreciate most doctors and nurses are doing a wonderful job, but should we have been applauding an institution that has morphed into death camps for unwanted children? Perhaps we should have been kneeling in repentance before God for the sins of the nation?
When the Israelites became aware of the glory of God, “they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord…” (2 Chron 7.3) We must return to the Lord, and worship him only.
As Elijah challenged the people of Israel in his great contest with the false prophets of Baal, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18.21) That is also the question for us today.
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; and A Nation Reborn, available from Christian Publications International