Consider these things: a movie theater gets shot up, 26 are killed and 58 wounded; a Sikh temple is shot up, killing six and wounding others; wars here and there; corruption uncovered here and there; protests of this company and that company, and protests for this cause or that one; hating and fighting, killing and destroying. People are living in fear and frustration.
You may ask, “What is happening to us?” “What is going on?” In the following excerpt, I believe the good doctor, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, offers a reason, a cause:
…Have we ever faced the fact that we are completely lost, that we have lost ourselves and lost our souls? We can have great knowledge of science, we may know a great deal about the atom, but we do not know the truth about ourselves, and our knowledge of science does not help us here at all. We are like persons groping about in the dark. The Bible talks about those who “sit in darkness” (Luke 1:79)—they cannot move; they are paralyzed, helpless. That is the condition of the whole world. And do you not see that this is the only adequate explanation of the present state of the world? Why are people behaving as they are? It is because they are lost. They have lost their way. They do not know where they are. They are baffled, bewildered, straying helplessly, like sheep without a shepherd. That is what our Lord tells us.
But then our Lord goes further—He tells us that we are not only lost but that we are also hopeless. Have you ever listened to this blessed person? Do you know what He says? “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We must be “born again.” What does this mean? It means that we all by nature are in such a terrible state and condition that we cannot be improved. That which we call civilization is simply human beings putting paint and varnish on the rottenness that is beneath. It is like a man whose house is suffering from woodworm or dry rot and who says, “I can’t stand seeing this.” So he buys some paint, paints over what is there, and puts varnish on top of that. “Now, look,” he says, “isn’t this marvelous?” That is civilization! That is what people get so excited about. All the music and the literature and the art and the national laws—“look at the world, look at what we have discovered, look at what we are doing, see how we can entertain you!” But put a knife into it, scrape off the paint, and what do you find? You find woodworm, dry rot.
This is the difference between civilization and Christianity. This is the difference between modern faith in educational and cultural movements and the Christian message. It is the gospel message, and this alone, that faces the real cause of the trouble and says, “That is so rotten that nothing can be done with it. It is beyond hope. It is no use painting it and varnishing it; it is no use patching it up—it is rotten. And it is a disease that will spread.”
And that is a summary of the last 2,000 years and more of human history, is it not? In spite of all the efforts and endeavors of humanity at its best and at its most brilliant and intelligent, the rottenness is still there. It seems to be covered for a while in certain periods and epochs. The Victorian era was such a period. The Victorians put on the paint and the varnish, and they really thought that the world was going on to perfection. “The Parliament of Man!” “The Federation of the World!” the poets sang. Oh, what blind prophets they were! False prophets.
We are living in a time when rottenness is breaking out again, and the dry rot is manifesting itself. Our Lord said it from the beginning. That is why we should listen to Him and listen to Him exclusively. He alone tells us the truth—“Except a man be born again”! We cannot be improved. We must be regenerated. We need to be created anew. Unless something new is put into us, we are hopelessly, irretrievably lost. That is what our Lord said; …
Taken from Triumphant Christianity by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, © 2006, pp. 159-160. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.