One hundred years ago, pundits dubbed the second decade of the century “the roaring twenties.” World War I was over, and America entered a decade of unparalleled expansion in everything from industry and technology to culture and crime. Prohibition reflected our desire to promote morality; bootlegging and a huge rise in organized crime exposed our depravity. Optimism was high, but it was misplaced. In the end, the ‘roaring twenties’ ushered in the Great Depression, and paved the way for a charismatic leader named Adolph Hitler to take control in Germany, leading to World War II and the Holocaust.
With the election finally behind us, it is wise to take stock of where we are now, a century on. Optimism is not high: Our nation is as divided as ever in its history – even during the Civil War. COVID-19 has split families and churches. News networks and social media are virulently partisan, and have disenfranchised millions who feel they can no longer trust what they are told. Our economy has been decimated by politicians mandating the shut-down of businesses. The incoming president and his political party have signaled a massive increase in taxes and spending. More concerning are their moral values, based in more government control and socialism, and opposing policies that are pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family, and pro-God.
Winston Churchill wrote, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” He had a ‘front row seat’ to see this: Just 20 years after “the war to end all wars,” the world was plunged into another global conflict. It isn’t only that that generation didn’t learn from history, however; a correct (and biblical) assessment of our human condition is found in Romans 3.10-12:
…as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”
Mankind is inherently evil – we are ‘desperately wicked,’ as the prophet put it (Jeremiah 17.9), and because of this we are justly condemned by God (Romans 5.12-18). The only escape from God’s condemnation is through faith in His Son Jesus Christ:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3.17-18).
So what about the 2020s? The coming weeks and months will reveal whether this decade will be ‘roaring’ or not…but there are signs pointing to a different king of roaring: Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, and was introduced by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God” (John 1.29), because He had come as a sacrificial lamb to give His own life for our sins – so that we could be saved. But when He returns, He will come as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5.5), not to give His life, but to ‘roar’ in judgment, pouring out His wrath on a wicked world.
The increasing wickedness we see today is leading to an end of one age, ‘the age of grace’ in which God’s salvation is offered to all, and a coming time of judgment. I envision, in the words of James 5.9, the Judge – our Lord – standing right at the door. We don’t know when that day will come, but we do know this: Today it is one day closer than yesterday.
Do you know where you will be tomorrow if Jesus returns today? Don’t put it off before it’s too late! Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Acts 16.31).