The World’s Trouble: Introduction
You are in trouble. You may know that, or feel it. You may have come to this book sensing that something is wrong. The truth is: something is wrong with the world and something is wrong with you. You see things. You hear things. You know there is groaning and suffering. You are not the only one.
Maybe you came here thinking everything is fine. Sure you have had discomforts and inconveniences, but it all works out and it will be okay in the end. You have heard of some who have a hard time but they are in faraway places, and things will pick up for them. You are enjoying life. You are not the only one.
Whether you think you are in trouble or not, you are likely wrong on both counts. If you think you are in trouble, you do not know the half of it. If you think you are not in trouble, you are deceiving yourself into false security.
Those are strong, direct statements. You may think I am rude, harsh, or even unloving in making them. You may think I am arrogant and judgmental. I don’t even know you so how could I say such things about you? It would be unloving and judgmental if I were saying that about everyone else but me. The trouble I am talking about is the world’s trouble and I am in trouble as much as everyone else. At least, I was. There is one, and only one, way out of trouble and I am writing to tell you about it.
What is the trouble? Before I answer that question, let me ask another one. What is wrong with the world? You can offer several good answers to that question—crime, war, poverty, wealth, religion. All those things contribute in some way, but all the answers to that question can be bundled into one answer—sin. Sin is what is wrong with the world. You can look out around you today and see it. You can look back through history and see it. Sin is the problem.
You are probably thinking: Okay, here we go with the fundamentalist rant about cussin’, drinkin’, dancin’, and smokin’. It might surprise you to hear that those types of things are not the real problem. We could stop all that tomorrow and the world would not be out of trouble.
Sin is what is wrong with the world, but that is not the whole picture. You can point to sin to account for human atrocities and evil deeds in the past, present, and the future, but the world’s trouble is after that. The Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, wrote of a future time known as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). The trouble he referred to is a time of judgment on the nation of Israel. The world’s trouble I am referring to is the future, final judgment that all men will face.
The biblical record is clear that this life is not all there is. If this present life was all there is, then sin would still be a problem, but at least death would end it. Sympathies to all those dealt a losing hand, but at least it is over. But, this life is not all there is and the grave neither ends nor solves the problem.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment
– Hebrews 9:27
The judgment that is the world’s trouble is a judgment where every violation of God’s law will receive a just punishment (Hebrews 2:2). Jesus warned that everything will be judged, even the idle words we speak (Matthew 12:36). That’s the judgment the world is going to and that’s the trouble the entire world is in.
I did mention there is one way, and only one way, out of this trouble. I am writing to tell you about this way. No one is excluded from this way because of their gender, ethnicity, or social class. No one is excluded from this way because of the mountain of sins casting a shadow over their life and darkening their quiet times. This way is good news and our only hope.
I invite you now to think about sin, what it is and why it is a problem. You will see how, from the greatest to the smallest, the whole world is guilty before God. You will learn about the way of escape God has made and how to distinguish the one true way from all other ways that promise deliverance. By the end, you will know how this way was made in the wisdom, mercy, and grace of God. You will know what it cost and what it is worth.
If I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee, this is what I would want to say to you.
This is a portion of a book that I have been writing. I have decided to post it here in serial form. It is intended to be evangelistic. If the book has merit, I may seek to publish it in some form. Please feel free to share it and I welcome any feedback.