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THE LIKENESS OF THIS GENERATION


William Andrew Dillard

Someone once said the more things change, the more they stay the same. It appears contradictory, nevertheless true. Vaunted progress in most every field of endeavor characterizes the present time, but the universal plight, and the persistent actions of men remain unchanged. Nowadays, good is called evil and evil is called good. Selfishness largely rules, and the unchanging principles of time and eternity are pushed aside for what men want right now.
It was to a similar generation of Jesus’ day that he explained the ministry of John the Baptist, and the subsequent kingdom of heaven. There were those who heard him, and they with the publicans justified God being baptized with the baptism of John. On the other hand, there were many of the lawyers and Pharisees who rejected the counsel of God against themselves by rejecting the baptism of John. Luke 7.
They wanted to pit the ministry of John against the ministry of Jesus. They criticized the person of John as aloft, stoic, antisocial because he was not given to eating bread, nor drinking wine with them. Then they criticized Jesus because He did those things, calling Him a gluttonous man, a winebibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners. In short, nothing could be right in the eyes of these critics but their own twisted formula of life. How that remains. Times have changed, but the more they change, the more they stay the same.
Jesus summarized the generation of His earthly ministry. “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you and you have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. This is an unchanged status quo, having multiplied exponentially.
Men do not have the qualifications, nor any ability to call upon the substance or perimeters of eternity. God does! Moreover, the true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ are in covenant relationship with Him, so they have been given the knowledge of eternity by the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. They have visited that dimension vicariously, and proven their understanding by the eternal, unchanging Word. It is they who justify God, not only being baptized with the baptism of John, but offering the same to such as bring forth fruit meet for repentance. With them, by God’s grace, I stand! Trusting one’s pompous, but powerless formulations is silly. Trusting the eternal creator of the universe is wise.

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