Gloom and Glory

By Hal Lindsey
Someone recently told a member of my team, “Tell Hal not to have so much gloom and doom.”
I’ve heard things like that before. The truth is, like most people, I don’t like gloom and doom. I prefer good news. In fact, a major emphasis of my ministry has been on the grace of God.  And, believe me, the news of grace is as good as news gets.
The person who told me to cool it with the gloom and doom was probably referring to my ministry as a “watchman.” (Isaiah 21:6) I look at world events in light of Bible morality and Bible prophecy.  I warn the world that God’s judgment is coming.  I give these warnings because they are God’s word, and they are true.  But, with the warnings, God’s word also presents the Answer.
Telling the truth to the world of our day will inevitably sound like gloom and doom.  The prophet Jeremiah warned the people of Jerusalem that their city was about to be overrun by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.  As a result, some powerful people petitioned Judah’s King Zedekiah to have Jeremiah executed.  They said the prophet was undermining morale.  But Jeremiah was only telling the truth.
Things are bad today, and they will get worse before they get better.  But when we see Bible prophecy being fulfilled, it doesn’t just mean the coming of judgment and Armageddon.  It means that Jesus will soon return.  And that’s wonderful news!  His rule will bring peace and plenty to Planet Earth.
Remember, too, that even with things looking bad for earth’s immediate future, God still wants to bless you.  He wants you to have abundant life now, and He wants that life to last forever!
But to receive eternal life, we have to recognize some bad news.  We are sinners.  1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (NASB)
Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Most people know intuitively that they fall short of God’s standards. But society fights that understanding as hard as it can. It starts by trying to define sin away. It teaches that our actions are purely the result of environment and genetics. It says we are only the products of our programming, and that for human beings, real choice doesn’t exist — or, if it does, it has no meaning.
Alternatively, society teaches that sin is a mere cultural construct — that it has no objective basis.  They teach that evil only exists in those who point out that right and wrong are real.  Irrationally, they see intolerance of sin as the only real sin.
Christian teacher and philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, was once asked, “What would you do if you met a really modern man on a train and you just had an hour to talk to him about the Gospel?”
Schaeffer answered, “I would spend 45-50 minutes on the negative, to really show him his dilemma — that he is morally dead — then I’d take 10-15 minutes to preach the Gospel.  I believe that much of our evangelistic and personal work today is not clear simply because we are too anxious to get to the answer without having a man realize the real cause of his sickness, which is true moral guilt (and not just psychological guilt feelings) in the presence of God.”
The Good News starts with bad news.  We are sinners.  We have nothing in us worthy of salvation.  We deserve hell, not heaven.  Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NASB)
God is not lucky to have you.  You are blessed if you know Him. 
Sin is a fact.  Death is a fact.  That sounds like gloom and doom, but here’s some good news. Romans 5:20-21 says, “Where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
We who know Christ have a lot of good news to tell.  That’s what “Gospel” means.  We aren’t going to please everyone with our message — not if we’re faithful to God’s word — but we should never be ashamed of the truth.  According to the Bible, the truth is glorious!  It surpasses imagination!
It starts with this.  God exists!  He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6 NASB)
God loves us so much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NASB)
The blessings from this gift go beyond our ability to imagine.  1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Earlier, I quoted Jesus saying, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NASB)
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) looks at the other side of the equation.  It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
That’s beyond gloom and doom.  That’s awesome!
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