When an alien army marches on a country’s borders or its navy blockades the harbors, the danger is immediate and recognizable. When the CDC announces some new strain of virus and publishes the numbers of people who have contracted it or succumbed to it, the danger is immediate and recognizable. When the rain stops falling or the well dries up, the danger is immediate and recognizable. But the greatest dangers are those of a spiritual nature, which can result in eternal loss and even damnation. And these often are not so readily recognizable as those of a natural kind. But in love and mercy, the Lord provides a list of spiritual pitfalls to guard against among which is the following.
“Men shall be . . . without natural affection” (II Tim. 3:3). The Greek word rendered “without natural affection” has been translated in numerous ways, among them: “unloving,” “without feeling,” “heartless.” The key element in all of these translations is the recognition that what is being described is not a lack of “spiritual love,” “Christian charity,” or agape love, a quality that only a believer might be expected to manifest. What is lacking is something at once more universal and basic, a human affection that is so intrinsic as to be almost instinctive. Vine explains it as an affection that pertains “especially with reference to parents and children.” Yet so debased have many in these perilous times become that they are devoid of natural affection.
We see the evidence of this on every hand. It begins (and immediately reaches its most shameful depths?) with mothers murdering their unborn children. History recites examples of abortion from time to time. But only in the last several decades has abortion been committed by the millions annually in a society. And only in the same period has it been hallowed as lawful and lauded as a moral choice. Heretofore, on the rare occasions when it occurred, it was considered to be a shameful act at best and often recognized as the sinful murderous act it truly is. A society that kills its most innocent and helpless under the color of law is truly a society in the gravest of peril. Children are the heritage of the Lord; He will not view such murder lightly.
This peril continues in the break up of marriages. “No-fault divorce” laws have made the dissolution of marriages legally easy. Many couples flock to take advantage of these relatively painless escape routes. But God has not changed: marriage is still a till-death-us-do-part holy contract. And those who violate His holy laws bring peril on themselves and society as a whole.
Finally, homosexuality (apparently soon to share the same privileged position under the law as do the sins of abortion and divorce) is equally an example of the peril of lacking natural affection. Despite the great push for acceptance by ungodly supporters, this sin bears the anathema of God. Paul explains that “even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly [“indecent”]” (Rom. 1:26, 27).
Abortion is not just a matter of a woman’s choice. Divorce is not just a matter of getting out of an inconvenient legal contract. Homosexuality is not just an alternate lifestyle. All are heinous sins, evidence of the depravity of the human heart and the depths to which human beings will sink in their rebellion against God. When such sins prevail, society has reached perilous times. And God’s judgment is at the door.
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