What Do You Proclaim?

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For Jerusalem has stumbled,

and Judah has fallen,

because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,

defying his glorious presence.

For the look on their faces bears witness against them;

they proclaim their sin like Sodom;

they do not hide it.

Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.

Isaiah 3:8-9

It could not be clearer. God’s people fall because their speech and deeds are against the Lord.

As Christians, we are taught that we are grafted in among the natural branches so that we might share in the nourishing root of God (Romans 11:17) and we are to be set apart so that others may accurately see God making His appeal through us (2 Cor. 5:20). This means (partially) that morality is not about self-control, self-image, or self-improvement. It is about using our speech and deeds to continually align with and “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)

But people do not only proclaim the goodness of God.

People also proclaim their sins. They do not hide it.

And in doing so they bring judgment and wrath upon themselves. They have no shame for their words or deeds because they have told themselves that they have done no wrong. They are proud of their choices and say in their heart (and with their mouth) “There is no God!” This makes them a law unto themselves. Any attempt to tell them they are wrong is an affront to them for it challenges both their love of individualism and autonomy and exposes their unconscious desire to be their god.

They proclaim their sin because all gods desire to receive worship. All gods desire praise for their holiness and perfection. And all gods want others to know their ways and follow them. Sinners, therefore, are not only proud but also shameless. In their eyes, they do not need to change. There is no Moral Authority to whom they must yield. They are the ones to whom the knee must be bowed. They are the ones who must receive approval. They are the ones whose actions must be tolerated. They are the ones who must be loved. And they are the ones who act without moral impunity because they have defined Right and Wrong to conveniently fit their words and deeds.

But woe to them! The result of their choices is a perverse, depraved, twisted, unrecognizable, and dysfunctional version of what God designed them to be. And unless redeemed, unless they are made whole and made new by God Himself through the work of Jesus Christ, the consequences of their choices will continue to contort their lives in turbulence and turmoil, making it impossible for them to unravel this Gordian knot of a soul.

They do not realize that although they make themselves out to be gods they have unknowingly yielded themselves to the cosmic powers over this present darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) They have chosen which side of the war to fight for and when God shows Himself victorious, they will suffer the fate of the fallen and the defeated. Cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the worm does not die and the fire is never quenched (Matt. 13:41-42; Mark 9:48)

Examine your words and deeds. Who do they exalt? Whose glory do they defy?

“For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:37) And “‘As you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matt. 25:45-46)

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