United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Humanity has had thousands of years to build societies and civilizations and experiment with governments, administrations and lifestyles. So why haven't we been able to solve our problems? Why does suffering still exist?

We have not succeeded in finding solutions to our pervasive problems because, in the final analysis, humanity simply does not know how to live. Solomon, king of ancient Israel, put it bluntly:

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

Sadly, mankind has proved the truth of those words for generations. Under man's rule the world has never seen a time that was free of war, strife, turmoil and suffering. Conditions are so grave that we have the ability to erase human life from earth many times over

Why should this be?

Our world is threatened by overwhelming problems because we have rejected God. God Himself made this clear over the centuries through his prophets. Under God's inspiration, King David wrote of mankind: "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one" (Psalm 14:1-3).

The prophet Jeremiah also noted that people are largely blinded by the deceit of their own evil motives and intents. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9, New International Version).

Left to ourselves, we would eventually annihilate life from earth. Does this sound shocking? It is. But Jesus Christ Himself said it is true. Describing the time immediately before His return to earth, He said:

"It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen it will be cut short" (Matthew 24:41-22, Revised English Bible, emphasis added).

Jesus Christ tells us He must intervene to save us from ourselves. The danger from the dark side of human thoughts and actions is real indeed.

None of us is immune to this dark side of human nature. Even the apostle Paul, years after his conversion to Christianity, struggled against such downward pulls; Notice how he describes this battle within himself:

"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . .It is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me . . . I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do . . . Wretched man that l am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:15-24, New Revised Standard Version).

For most of the world, deliverance from the dark side of human nature will come only when Jesus Christ returns to save us from ourselves. But there is a way for you to overcome those dark downward pulls now. Read the mini-study on May The Force-God's Power-Be With You.