Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sodom Had No Bible

Tuesday: 16 July, 2013 –– 15th Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 11:20–24
Sodom Had No Bible

In today’s Gospel Jesus proclaims some bad news about the Good News. We like to hear from the Jesus who talks about love and models mercy, but the same Jesus said some hard things which are not popular and do not get much attention in “popular” Christianity.

We would like to dismiss the holiness and judgment of God. There seems to be a disconnect, even among some Christians, so that when the cross of Christ is in view we do not think immediately of God’s attitude toward sin.

Woe to you.... It’s not that God doesn’t love, but rather that there are people who will not receive the love of God. There were communities that rejected Jesus when he came among them. Jesus says the same witness among pagan Gentiles would have brought repentance. 

Then Jesus raises the Old Testament story of Sodom, one of the cities that was wiped out by literal fire and brimstone because of its wickedness. Jesus says that if Sodom had been given the same witness it would not have been destroyed, and that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for those who have been given explicit Truth and rejected it.

When I was a teenager in my mostly fundamentalist childhood church, the British evangelist Leonard Ravenhill came for a 10-day “revival meeting.” I was spellbound by his wonderful accent and found it easy to listen to his 90-minute sermons. One thing he said has stayed with me for the past 50 years: Sodom had no Bible.... and the judgment of a holy God fell upon its wicked depravity. We live in a land where biblical truth has been proclaimed again and again, and yet our society is increasingly rejecting God’s truth and embracing selfish pleasures that mirror the immorality and disregard for the poor that Scripture attributes to the fiery judgment on Sodom (see Genesis 18:20 & 19:4–6; Ezekiel 16:49,50; Jude 7).

Sodom had no Bible––no special revelation from God––but we have been entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3:2). May God have mercy on us.

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