"…they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return" (Jeremiah 8:5)
We live in a time of change. This is true of Northern Ireland in particular. Anyone with eyes to see cannot but notice the diminishing of Christian influence in the Province. Perhaps nowhere in the British Isles has wickedness been so openly and publicly rewarded in the political realm. Also, the justification, and even financial subsidising, of gross sexual immorality under the guise of the "equality agenda" continues apace with only weak resistance even from the professing church of Christ. A few traditions under the name of "Protestantism" continue, but appetite for the real Biblical Christianity of the Protestant Reformation is minimal. So where are we going?
As a nation, we are heading for the judgment of God unless the Lord is pleased to send forth the Holy Spirit and turn us back to himself. God judges nations in this world. "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" (Jeremiah 5:29). The claim that Northern Ireland is radically different from the rest of the United Kingdom is decreasing in credibility. We have eagerly sought to catch up on all the sins of mainland Britain. The façade of nominal Protestantism is visibly crumbling away at a very striking rate.
Most alarmingly, there is little awareness that anything very much is wrong. There is no humbling before God on account of sin or sense of need to turn to him. We have our family circles, homes, cars, sport and social lives, so surely all is well. The recession may have caused some to pause for thought, but for most people things are still going along, if not swimmingly, then at least reasonably enough. The "Troubles" have not softened hearts but made them harder as we slide rapidly into being part and parcel of a "modern" - in other words, thoroughly secular and typically ungodly - European country. But "he is a God that judgeth in the earth" (Psalm 58:11).
Important though the question is of where we are going nationally, there is also the question of where each one of us is going individually. We are certainly going somewhere – death and judgment await us all. "But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?" (Job 14:10). We shall all go to Heaven or Hell forever.
We all certainly deserve to go to Hell for our sins which, however trivial they may seem in our sinful eyes, are utterly obnoxious to the holy God of Heaven. Those who go to Heaven are those whom God, in undeserved mercy and grace, brings out of their natural love of sin and darkness to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners by bearing their guilt and punishment as their substitute. This is the real meaning of the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary. God promises forgiveness of sins to all who trust only in this Saviour to make them accepted with God. "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life" (John 6:40). So, where are you going? To death certainly, but then where?
This article is the text of a tract distributed at the annual demonstration in Scarva, Co Armagh, on 14th July 2009