Sunday, November 24, 2013

Corruption's Curse

I was going into a shop in Newcastle some years ago. Next door was a pub. As I went into the shop I noticed a man trying to talk a pretty young woman into joining him in the hotel. I hoped she refused. After a short time purchasing some gifts I was again on the street. The same man was there talking to another woman. She was not very much older the the previous one I'd seen but very weather worn, dishevelled and uncouth. Before my eyes it seemed as if I had seen the years of a woman compressed into minutes. A type of before and after on the theme of corruption’s devastation!

In the case above the destroying power was alcohol. The young imagine they can handle the effects, the atmosphere and the company. The future history of the many is a corrupted body and an addicted soul. Ultimately the result is a wasted life. Sure, the Lord Jesus can rescue such people. He can not return the wasted years, money or health. To me the case of the two women was a story about corruption's curse regardless of its source.

Across the globe well meaning men and women are calling for Justice on behalf of the exploited and abused. Nations, especially those with a Christian influence rise up to offer aid to victims of Nature’s ferocity. What do we ultimately discover? Some ‘vultures’ in positions of power siphon off material, goods and money for their own use. They don’t show any compassion for their own country men, women or children. Years of corruption had hardened their hearts. In reality it made them traitors to humanity. The idol they worship has turned them into fiends not friends of their countrymen.

The idol of the corrupt has many names. I wonder if they even realise they are devotees to such a spiritual identity. Jesus called it Mammon or money. (Matthew 6:24) This foul fiend is the greatest rival to the person and claims of Jesus Christ. Why? In part because its appeal is to selfish security rather than faith in Christ’s grace.It is the appeal of 'now' rather than accountability 'tomorrow'. Yet money and materialism are so fickle. A global financial crisis or tsunami can so easily destroy such gain. Death has no ‘pockets’ for a corpse’s spirit to take things beyond the grave.

In a parable of a rich man Jesus said he was a ‘fool’. Why? Because the man had amassed wealth but was poverty stricken towards the Lord God. The man was a fool because at the heights of his success he was to die. He had no treasure in heaven, no faith in a Saviour, no authority to be accepted into heaven. (Luke 12:13-21. 16:19-31)

Lest Christians think they are immune to this idol’s corrupting influence the bible offers strong warnings. ‘The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.’ (1 Timothy 6:10)

Idolatry’s corruptive power is best combated and controlled by obedient devotion to Jesus Christ. The quote ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ is true whether or not a person is a Christian. Why? Because by such behaviour you are the master of mammon, not its slave. In giving you bless others and experience responses money cannot buy. In so doing men, women and children will honour your name. For Christians however there is an even higher motive. No, it isn’t to win favour with God. It is an opportunity to honour Him by stewardship of resources to others in Jesus Name. In doing that mammon crumbles into powerlessness in our lives.

The corrupt who prey on others may gain the whole world but at what cost. To be a lost soul cut off from the presence of God forever. Corruption will impede justice and truth but will ultimately be self destroying. The best defence against mammon’s corrupting disguises is personal righteousness flowing from a relationship with the righteous Christ Jesus.

The bible promises a time to come wherein the world will be governed by righteousness, justice and truth. To enjoy it then with Christ Jesus requires us to practices it now.

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