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Home Sermons Essential Reading for Grey Nomads #5 - Making Sense of the 2008 Financial Crisis

Essential Reading for Grey Nomads #5 - Making Sense of the 2008 Financial Crisis

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Making Sense of the Financial Crisis

A Christian Response to the 2008 Financial Crisis

 

That millions of people across the world have lost their homes, jobs and superannuation savings is nothing short of a world wide disaster. The personal, social, economic and political ramifications have been and are enormous.

If 9/11 changed the world forever in terms of national security from the treat of terrorism. Then this current crisis financial crisis will change forever the regulation of the international monetary system and domestic money markets.

What does Christianity say to these millions of people who are rightly asking why did this happen to me? Why is my life changed so I am suffering because of the obvious greed of others?

Did we cause the financial crisis?

Christianity answers in a number of ways. Firstly on a basic level it teaches that a person or persons reap what they sow. The Bible says; “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, he will also reap.”

Secondly, historically God repeated told His people Israel to worship Him and that if they worshiped idols He would punish them. We see that God did this many times with judgments throughout the Old Testament.

Today it could be argued is no different. God still desires people’s worship but they persist in pursing other Gods, like family, work, pleasure and sex. But these God’s don’t provide inner peace. They don’t give real satisfaction.

We shouldn't be surprised that the world has gone into crisis. It happened sixty years ago when through a world war millions died because of the injustice of a few. Today millions have lost everything because of the greed of a few. To sum up on a basic level Christianity answers as follows;

Did God cause the financial crisis?

Christianity would argue that although man caused the current financial God crisis through his greed. But did God cause this crisis and if he did why? Isn’t that not a very loving thing to do? After all what about the human suffering that has resulted.

The Bible says that because God is a powerful God his is in control of all events. God did ordain this crisis as He ordained 9/11. Does this horrify you? If God is not in control of all events as an all powerful God then who is in control? To believe in chance or fate is to have no belief in God or hope.

Let me illustrate. As a parent if you saw your child about to hurt themselves would you stand idly by and watch them hurt themselves. Any loving parent would immediately step in and stop them from possible serious injury. This current financial crisis is no different. God who is very loving has stepped in and said, “Enough is enough. He says, “They will reap what they sow so they may see they are trusting in false gods. They may see they are idolatrous towards wealth and possessions. Then maybe they may humble themselves and turn from their idolatry and trust my Son and seek the salvation He offers.

The consequences of not having this financial crisis would been catastrophic. This is a wake up, a warning of greater danger and crisis. That of a coming judgment where the stakes are not financial ruin but the loss of our souls forever in eternal separation from God. He calls this state hell. If we are honest we are all driven by greed, because he want to live independent from God. So we all by nature deserve hell. But God in his mercy and longsuffering and grace ordains such crisis’s so we may all turn from our idolatry and the savior of financial security. Instead we need to turn back in sorrow to worship God who promises to supply all our needs. To sum up;

The current financial crisis was motivated by greed as we reaped the loss of jobs, homes, and savings. But God who is sovereign in His mercy ordained this crisis as a judgment. He calls us now to repent of our idolatry and trust in wealth and return to trusting and worshipping Him through His son Jesus Christ.

Making sense of the crisis with the Message

The message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is that we cannot understand ourselves or what is happening in this world apart from its message and humbly submitting ourselves to the God of this Bible. This message begins by telling us that;

God made this world and us for relationship

The Apostle Paul in the book of Romans and the first chapter gives tell us that God is the creator of the world and that all that we see around us shouts his existence. It also tells us that we choose to ignore the evidence before us. In other words we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. That truth is that God will one day execute judgment to right all the wrongs we commit. Because He is holy and perfectly right to be true to who He is he must punish our rebellion. Just as a lovely father will punish his disobedient children.

Isn't it curious that whenever we see greed on such a grand scale we are quick to pass judgment. Surely, this is proof that we a made in God's image. For God seeks justice also.

But how can we reconcile the fact that if God is a God of love how can He allow so much suffering as a result of people’s greed?

The Bible tells us that from beginning to end we are not neutral beings. The reason is rather shocking to us humans and very sobering. We are greedy because our natures and corrupt as evidenced by all the evil deeds committed every second all over the world. But there are answers.

To deny that God exists is foolish in the extreme. The Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God."

The record of the creation of the world and man as a perfect moral being made for relationship with God fill the early chapters of the Bible. Here we find the basis of true reality. This world was by God and for God. We are the crown of His creation and made to for relationship, first with this God then with each other. This is the basis of true happiness. The truly happy person the Bible says is the one who is in relationship and submission to this creator God.

The Bad News is we rebel against God

The Bible gives the answer to why there are wars, fighting with families and crime. It also tells us why their are accidents and sickness and death. The answer is that this world is no longer perfect because of our rebellion to this Creator God. Only a fool would be blind to the fact this world is in a terrible mess.

Every one of us is in rebellion to God because of what happened not long after creation. Two historical people; Adam and eve chose to ignore God and rebelled against His rule over their lives. The result was they chose to ignore God and live independent of Him. We have been reaping the consequences ever since. Death and a world that is out of sink are the sad results. God said that if we went our own way, He would punish us and so life is not easy. How does this show itself?

Kierkegaard in his book; The Sickness Unto Death and defines our rebellion as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. That is, every one of us are idolaters. It’s not as much ‘doing bad things’ but on us ‘making good things into ultimate things.’ Are you looking to your career, financial wealth or romances or relationships to justify and save you to give you the feels of happiness and self worth instead of looking for them in a relationship with God. The fruit of our idolatry leads to anxiety, obsessive ness, envy, and resentment. But the good news is that God sent Jesus Christ to offer us forgiveness form our idolatry. Because one day against this Holy God will judge all who have persisted in their rebellion. But there is more to the story;

The good news is Jesus Christ makes everything right again

In the person of Jesus--God emptied himself of his glory. Jesus, the promised Messianic King and the divine Son of God was born into the world in a stable, as a poor, humble, and mortal man. He took upon himself a human nature and the life of a servant. He spent his entire life serving others—feeding the hungry, healing the sick, raising the dead, preaching and teaching.

Through the work of Jesus--God substituted himself for us. Sin is we human beings Substituting ourselves for God, serving as our own Saviors and Lords, putting ourselves were only God deserved to be. In Jesus, God substituted himself for us. He made full atonement and absorbed the punishment our sins deserve, putting himself where we deserved to be. This secured justification and acceptance freely by grace.

At the return of Jesus--God will make a new world. At the beginning the Triune God created the world to be a place of community, peace and joy. Sin brought evil and suffering into the world. But at the end of history, God will restore this material creation, destroying death, disease, injustice, and suffering of all kinds. It will be a world in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.

How am I to respond to this amazing news?

Let me urge you if you are not sure your a Christian that you will never get into heaven going to Church or by having a reputation as a nice person. Instead I urge you to see that Christ’s judgment is imminent and absolute. The only way to get your name into God’s book of life is by recognizing your own inability to get to heaven by your own efforts, by embracing Jesus as your only hope of heaven and by living a new life in worship of him by the power of His Spirit can you know you are going to a new heaven. Otherwise you are simply a dead man walking. You might live and breath, but you are under God’s condemnation and as good as dead. To recap;

The current financial crisis was motivated by greed as we reaped the loss of jobs, homes, and savings. But God who is sovereign in His mercy ordained this crisis as a judgment. He calls us now to repent of our idolatry and trust in wealth and return to trusting and worshipping Him through His son Jesus Christ.

But God who is holy is calling you to turn from your idolatry and to back to Him. Trust in His Son’s life, death and resurrection for you. Only then can you know forgiveness, new life and a future in a new world of righteousness and peace.

Paul Thompson - I am indebted to Mark Driscoll & Tim Keller for material in this article.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 21:31  

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