(I wanted to give you another wonderful message from my good friend, W. F. Bell. Hope you like it).
After our Lord had healed the paralytic, and forgiven him, “Immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” Then, we have this unusual verse: “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen STRANGE THINGS today” (Luke 5:25-26). The people (rightly so) were filled with amazement, astonishment, and were awestruck by this healing, stating that they had seen “strange” or “incredible” things!
We live in a “strange” day, and often ourselves hear and see “strange things.” Let’s look at some things that maybe we forget are “strange,” which include:
(1) The GOSPEL is indeed strange to many people.
What the “gospel” actually is cannot be defined by many. Simply put, it is: God justifies sinners through Christ’s redemption (Romans 3:24; 4:5). How can this be? The answer lies in “propitiation,” the appeasing of God’s wrath by the death of Christ. The root word for “gospel” simply means “glad tidings,” and indeed free and full justification is good news, and this is what we are commanded to proclaim (Isaiah 40:9; 52:7). God Himself is glorified in the gospel, and He reveals His sovereignty therein. Again, here is the plainly-worded gospel: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). Also, Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; Romans 6:23. Christ came to die for His people only, and has saved every single one of them in His vicarious death, burial, and glorious resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Is this strange to you? The average person could never define justification, redemption, propitiation, vicarious, or even gospel.
(2) The GOD OF THE BIBLE is strange to many, even to the professing Church.
The true God has become “a stranger in the land” (Jeremiah 14:8). Even Paul said the ancient Greeks did not know this living God, but said, “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:23). God’s glorious attributes of sovereignty, absolute holiness, holy wrath, justice, goodness, truth, mercy, grace, love, and longsuffering, etc., need to be constantly taught, because people are still “ignorant” of who God really is (and we are all spiritually ignorant of God in our fallen nature). Sadly, many preachers and Bible teachers have failed in this. This is easily proved by observing the infidelity of our schools, colleges, universities, the media, our Christ-less homes, and often even Bible-denying churches. How we need a spiritual awakening in our unholy land.
(3) The hiding of GOD’S FACE is strange. Strangely, the true God does often “hide” Himself (Isaiah 45:15). The Psalmist questions God as to “why” He seems to be standing “afar off,” and “hiding” Himself “in times of trouble” (Psalm 10:1). But, and note this carefully, the infinite God is not obligated to reveal Himself to us. He is righteous in letting us go on in our sins, never quickening us to spiritual life, or converting us to Christ. Salvation from sin lies totally within the discriminating grace of God. If He is not pleased to reveal to us that we are sinners, needing Christ, we will definitely perish, and God’s great wrath will forever be satisfied. Our Lord Jesus Christ even thanks His Father for this, clearly saying, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight” (Matthew 11:25-26). And even after we are born again, God may at times be pleased to “hide His face” from us, giving us no light or the comfort of His presence, as He chastens us (Lamentations 3:7-9; Hebrews 12:11).
(4) We live in a strange, GODLESS world.
Our society is so sick; words fail to accurately describe the horrific condition. Look for yourself at what we do in America now:
We exploit the poor, and call it the lottery.
We reward our laziness, calling it welfare.
We kill our unborn, and call it choice.
We abuse power, and call it politics.
We pollute the land with profanity and pornography, calling it freedom of expression.
We ridicule the values of our forefathers, calling it enlightenment.
We “call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
How strange AND UNGODLY is our modern society!
A teenager has written this about our strange time:
Now I sit me down in school,
Where praying is against the rule.
For this great nation under God,
Finds mention of Him very odd.
If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow,
Becomes a Federal matter now.
We can get our condoms & birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires, & totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed –
No word of God must reach this crowd!
“The hearts of the children of men are subject, not only to God’s view, but to His judgment. ‘The LORD trieth the hearts’ (Proverbs 17:3). He searches whether they are standard or no, and those that are, He refines and makes them purer (Jeremiah 17:10). God tries the heart by affliction (Psalm 66:10-11), and often chooses His people in that furnace (Isaiah 48:10), and makes them choice. Men may try their silver and gold, but they have no way of trying one another’s hearts. God only does that, who is both the Searcher and the Sovereign of the heart” (Matthew Henry).