Leaders know something drastic is wrong with our world. If they only knew the causes they could correct the problems.
WHAT a paradox! We live in a world filled with breathtaking, technological marvels. Science and learning is at an all-time high. Knowledge in all fields is increasing at a rate almost beyond comprehension. Yet, at the same time, miseries and unhappy problems abound. We're plagued with crime. Venereal diseases are epidemic. Families are torn apart by divorce. Hate, violence, murder and civil wars exist worldwide. Why such a contradiction?
Life Could Be Different
This world has great potential. Picture for a moment the way things could be. A world free of crime, free of family problems, hate and violence. Imagine — if you can — a world without theft. Think of the peace of mind that eliminating just this one aspect of crime would bring. We wouldn't have to lock up or chain down everything we own. Iron gates, bars, guard dogs, burglar alarm systems and sophisticated, costly security networks, often making us prisoners in our own homes and places of work, would be things of the past. We could trust our neighbor, even a stranger, knowing our valuables and possessions are safe. Secret, under-the-counter deals, payoffs and graft, exorbitant added on costs to goods and services; out and out bribes; employee theft of time and materials — these, too, would be eliminated. There would be complete trust between employer and employee if theft were no longer a problem. Employees would trust employers, realizing they would receive honest, fair earnings for their work, knowing they wouldn't be cheated. These changes only scratch the surface. But think how life could be in a world without any kind of crime. What about a world with no hate and no violence? How wonderful it would be to be able to walk down any city street or country road, anywhere in the world, at anytime, day or night, without fear of being mugged — beaten and robbed or raped. And if there were no war? It's staggering to consider. What a beautiful, peaceful earth this could be. Untold sufferings and bitterness would be eliminated. Such peace could mean concentrating efforts to build and improve our world. What productivity and abundance this earth could enjoy. Our earth could be a veritable utopia. But that's not the way it is — is it? The opposite exists today. Why? Why do we suffer such unhappy conditions? Why has mankind suffered from crime and war throughout history? There is a reason!
Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge
It's indeed a paradox. We live in a world filled with astounding knowledge. We can produce electronic gadgetry and create fantastic mechanical wonders that ancient peoples never dreamed could exist. Yet, we can't solve basic human problems. We're no closer to ending crime and war than people thousands of years ago. In a modern world filled with knowledge we're being destroyed because we lack the right kind of knowledge! What is this missing knowledge? It is the knowledge of God and his law. It was available at the beginning of history, but it was rejected by the first humans. That's why mankind has suffered — and is suffering now! That's why crime is rampant, why mankind is on the verge of nuclear annihilation! We lack needed, vital, spiritual knowledge about God — knowledge that God reveals in his law. It is knowledge that leads to the way of peace and happiness we all want! Read what God says: "... for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1). There should be knowledge of God! Creation itself is a witness! "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20). But God has been rejected! And the knowledge of how to live and get along with others and specifically spelled out in his law — the Ten Commandments — has been rejected. That's why the world suffers from crime, violence, hate and war! Note what God says in the Bible: "By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood" (Hosea 4:2). What an apt description of our world today. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," says God, and why? "... because thou hast rejected knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). We have rejected God's commandments, which define the way to peace, the way to crime-free societies! That is the reason why this world is in the sad condition we find it today! The problems in our world began in the beginning with the first human beings. They were given freedom to choose between God's way of life — represented by the "tree of life" — or a way of life of their own making — represented by "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:9). God instructed them to choose life. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17). The first humans rejected God and his way of life. They took to themselves a way of life of doing what they thought best. Humans have been guilty of rejecting God by taking to themselves the authority to invent knowledge apart from God. So we've had' crime and war, unhappiness and miseries ever since.
Time to Learn the Lesson
God established at the beginning a way of life that would produce the results humans desire. Man, having rejected that way, lost the knowledge of how to bring peace and happiness. But God did not leave man without witness. He called an entire people out of abject slavery to teach them his way of life and give them opportunity to live it and be an example to other nations. That nation was ancient Israel, composed of 12 separate tribes Judah, or the Jews, being only one of the tribes. God instructed the nation to keep his law, not only for their good but to show all the other nations who had forgotten God how to live in a crime-free, happy, abundant society. "Keep therefore and do them," God admonished ancient Israel, "for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people" (Deut. 4:6). But ancient Israel rejected God and. God's law. They, too, turned their back on true wisdom and knowledge. They went the way of human reason that led to crime, war and national destruction.
The Way of Peace
God's Ten Commandments are sensible! They are beneficial! They are good! They constitute the most sound law that ever existed! Not having the attitude of mind of wanting to obey them is what is wrong with our world! This is the world's problem! If the Ten Commandments were kept by mankind according to the spirit and intent of the law, there would be utopia! God's righteous law is the way to happiness. It is the only way to peace. That law is as sound, wise and full of understanding today as it was in the beginning and when God instructed ancient Israel to obey it. All ten of the Ten Commandments are as much in force now as then! And breaking them is the cause of all human problems. Why have so few religious leaders told us that? Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring a message of peace and the way to peace. Jesus himself kept the commandments and taught his followers to obey them also. That is why Jesus had peace of mind. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill," he said. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:17-18). Not one dotting of an i or crossing of a t has changed in that spiritual law. What a plain statement! Could it be any clearer than that? Heaven and earth are still here! God's law is still in force and viable. It's time the world listened! A young man once came to Jesus and asked what to do to have eternal life: "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt. 19:16-17). The young man said to him, "Which?" "Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and," — summing up — "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' (verses 18-19). Not only is Jesus telling us to keep the Ten Commandments, he is telling us that keeping the Ten Commandments is loving one's neighbor and prerequisite to receiving eternal life! "If thou wilt enter into life [eternal life — how to receive it was the question asked], keep the commandments," Jesus said. But what do we find today? "This people honoureth me with their lips," — oh, they talk about peace among nations — "but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men ..." said Jesus. "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition" (Mark 7:6-9). What commandments was Jesus talking about? The Ten Commandments. In the very next statement, verse 10, he mentions one of the commandments being broken — "Honour thy father and thy mother." If that commandment were kept there would be no street gangs terrorizing our cities.
Be a Doer
Even the apostle Paul, who is often misquoted when speaking of law, said, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12). It is by God's revealed spiritual law that we know what is and is not sin. "I had not known sin, but by the law", said Paul (Rom. 7:7). Sin is the breaking of God's law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law," wrote John (I John 3:4). And, "the wages of sin is death," said Paul (Rom. 6:23). Death reigns in the world today because the nations are sinning. They are, in general, not motivated by concern for others but by selfishness and self-concern at the expense of others.
It Is Time to Repent
All have broken God's law! All are guilty. All of us have sinned! "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," says your Bible (Rom. 3:23). It is time to stop sinning! It is time to change, to stop breaking God's Ten Commandments (II Pet. 3:9). The penalty for disobeying is death, national and individual" For the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). No matter who you are or what position in life you hold, you can change, even if others will not. You can repent from breaking God's law. God is willing to forgive and forget what you've done in the past if your attitude now is to change and do what is right — sincerely and determinedly. "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die ...?" asks God in Ezekiel 33:11. God wants you to turn away from breaking his law. It's this attitude of mind and heart, a willingness to see mistakes and realize God's law is right and best, that God desires. That's the way to peace and true harmony on earth. And it begins with each of you. "Come now... saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient... "(Isa. 1:18-19). What peace of mind that would bring to the whole world. This is the missing ingredient in world affairs.