ASK Newsletter 4th Quarter, 1995


What Lies Ahead?

John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.

As we conclude another year, and look ahead to the coming one, not knowing what lies in the future, how do we envision the next year? If one reflects on the past, with all the problems personally and in the world, the future does not portend much to become excited about. The forecasters don't seem to be overly optimistic either. Neither do those whose job it is to evaluate trends and project ahead.

One need not be a professional forecaster to realize that there is tremendous declension in the world today, in almost every aspect. Uncertainty abounds, people are looking for non-existent security, and when faced with the choice between freedom and safety, they have chosen safety. Our country was founded upon desirable place to live for many people. But, alas, our nation is fast losing its freedom because of a spiritual, moral, ethical, and principled decline. There is little to say for integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness in life. The conclusion is that we are becoming a nation where crime is rampant, and people's freedom is limited, so that safety is more of a factor than freedom we have so cherished.

For one who follows Biblical principles, there shouldn't be amazement as to what is transpiring, since the Bible declared this to be in the last days before God concludes all in judgment. In I Corinthians 14:8, it state, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle?" In other words, what is said is that there are so many various ideas of life, with each one doing his own things, and no standard of conduct common to all, that there cannot be a unity in working toward the common good of all.

Not only do we have a pluralistic society, we have a polarizing of many segments of society based on humanistic selfishness. This has produced a fracturing of society in general. When mankind now calls good evil, and evil good, then we stand principle on its head, and invoke the wrath of God (see Isaiah 5:20). Mankind is rapidly bringing the judgment of God upon himself by his selfish nature. Since humanistic philosophy says there is no absolute truth, what is left then is for each person to decide for himself where the truth lies, and this produces ultimate confusion.

Who sets the standard for society: Hollywood, Washington, Labor, Management, Men Women, etc.? No one seems to have the right answer, and all clamor to be heard. It is no wonder that our younger generation is confused, and growing up their own thing, which usually is contrary to previously accepted standards of conduct.

Everyone follows certain basic assumptions in life that become a guiding pattern for development. God, who created us, has given us a revelation of Himself, in order that we might have a model after which we pattern our spiritual/emotional/mental and physical development. It is found in Jesus Christ, who came into the world to be that model. In Luke 2:52 it says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom (i.e. physical maturity) and stature (i.e. physical maturity), and in favor with God (i.e. mental maturity) and man (i.e. social maturity)." He showed mankind the right objective way of life. We have an absolute model.

The principles of the Bible are to mankind, like the automobile handbook is to the car. We have two options, either read the "manual" and follow its principles, or not read it and do our own thing. If one follows Biblical principles, then God is the guarantor that we will have fullness of life (see John 10:10). If one does not follow the principles then God lets each to their own destruction (see Romans 1:24, 32). And, generally speaking, the latter course is that which mankind has chosen.

To the person who has opted to follow God's model there is not only absolute truth, there is security in knowing four basic truths upon which one can depend, in the midst of a convoluted world.

The first is the absolute sovereignty of god. Regardless of what one sees in the world, God is still in control, and He does rule over all. Everything that goes on in the world is by His allowance. Though we may not understand what He is doing, our responsibility is to TRUST Him, and be faithful followers of His Word (I Cor. 4:1, 2, 5). There are many passages of Scripture that speak to this point of which one might note: Psalm 10:16, 33:11, 103:19; Isaiah 46:9, 11.

The second basic truth is found in the absolute truthfulness of Scripture. God's principles are absolute, regardless of the fact that many say there is no such thing as absolute truth. From mankind's limited scope that may be true, but with God, who sees and knows all, there is final and absolute truth. See Psalm 119:89, 97, 98, 105.

Third, for the Christian there are the boundless resources of God to His children, upon which one can draw. There are the riches of His GOODNESS (Romans 2:4); the riches of His WISDOM (Romans 11:33); the riches of His GLORY (i.e. His moral attributes reflected in us---Ephesians 1:7). What more assurance and help does the child of God need, in order to walk through life to the full?

Finally, the ultimate basic truth is found in the final judgment of God upon the wickedness in the world. Though it may seem today that "right is on the scaffold and wrong is on the throne," it will not always be that way. God's purpose in the world today is to "take out of the world a people for His name---that the residue of mankind might seek after the Lord, and all the nations of the world" (Acts 15:14, 17). In other words, God's purpose is not to judge mankind and wickedness today, but to bring Salvation to all who will hear Him (II Peter 3:9; I Timothy 2:4). Someday, the Grace of God will conclude, and the judgment of God will commence. Not the following verses: Isaiah 40:15, 17; Romans 3:19; John 5:22-27; Hebrews 9:27, 12:23; II Corinthians 5:10.

As one looks ahead to a new year, there are three basic elements of truth by which a person may live, as well as pass on to others, so they too may enjoy the fullness of life. These are: 1.)A pattern of authority found in the Bible to provide direction through life; 2.)A sense of responsibility to provide accountability that is the mandate for every person; and 3.)A realization that there is final and absolute truth from God Himself

God alone stands at the end of life.