Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our Doomsday Clock

On July 16, 1945 humankind entered a new era of terror when the Manhattan Project detonated the first atomic weapon. Two years later and directly connected to this new found power, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists publicly announced the creation of the Doomsday Clock. Scientists wanted the world to have a clear picture of how close the entire globe is to complete annihilation of all human life due to a nuclear holocaust. The first clock setting was seven minutes till midnight with midnight being the end of the world as we know it. Through the decades, the time has been altered from as far away as seventeen minutes till midnight in 1991 to as close as two minutes till midnight in 1953 when we decided to make a more powerful H-Bomb. Based on all threat levels, including global warming, we are currently sitting at six minutes till twelve.
The Doomsday Clock is certainly an ominous picture of what could be, but more importantly it makes me ponder at what time my personal Doomsday Clock is sitting. The Bible teaches that we all have a self-defeating Doomsday Clock ticking inside each of us. I am not referring to the day-to-day sin of speeding, hateful thoughts and the like, but instead, the Doomsday Clock sin that if left unchecked will drastically alter your known world. If someone walks along a precipice long enough eventually they will misstep and enter the abyss.
Even with our new nature there is a sin nature we will struggle against the rest of our days on earth. The Apostle Paul gives a brilliant picture of our sinful nature when he wrote in the book of Romans “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it” (vv.18-20).
Sadly, I have found there are times we openly invite this sin or sins into our lives, moving the hands closer to midnight. The writer of Hebrews penned, “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us”.
The author encourages the individual to run away from their personal desires and then includes himself in having his own struggles. That is, what tempts and hinders one runner may do nothing to another but each person has their own weight that must be removed in order to win the race God has set before them.
The truth is, we often toy with sin as if it is as harmless as a stuffed animal. We neglect the overt fact that sin is a loaded weapon awaiting a hair-trigger pull. One only need enter the right circumstance on the right day and the clock will strike midnight. How many men and women that you know personally allowed their Doomsday Clock to resound a deafening clang? No one is immune from such deviance. We have all witnessed the demise of great leaders from atheists to pastors, from poor to rich and from sinners to saints. Unlike the majestic sound of an elegant grandfather clock, theirs was like nails on a chalkboard alerting the sinner to their life-altering consequence arising out of their poor choice. For once the bell has been rung it cannot be unheard and the consequences will inevitably follow. Certainly, Jesus can and will forgive those who believe in Him, but there are always consequences for our sin.
“Don't be misled--you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant” (Galatians 6:7).
My prayer is that we would be ever diligent to keep our Doomsday Clock as far away from midnight as possible. This is only possible via the power of the Holy Spirit, for we are deviant souls often seeking momentary pleasure over glorifying Jesus and His eternal blessings. For whom the bell tolls brings on a whole new meaning when held to the light of our propensity for sin leading to death.
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  Romans 8:13-14