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The Glad Tidings

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    “This Present Evil World.”

    Christ gave Himself for our sins, “that He might deliver us from this present evil world.” He will take from us that which He bought, which is our sinfulness. In so doing, He delivers us from this “present evil world.” That shows us that “this present evil world” is nothing but our own sinful selves. It is “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” 1 John 2:16. We ourselves make all the evil there is in the world. It is man that has made the world evil. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12. We need not try to throw the blame upon somebody else; we ourselves provide all the evil that can possibly injure us.GTI 19.1

    The story is told of a man whose besetting sin was a violent temper. He would frequently become very angry, but he laid all the blame upon the people with whom he lived, who were so exasperating. Nobody, he declared, could do right among such people. So he resolved, as many others have done, to “leave the world,” and become a hermit. He chose a cave in the forest for his dwelling-place, far from any other human habitation. In the morning he took his jug to a spring near by to get water for his morning meal. The rock was moss-grown, and the continual flow of water had made it very slippery. As he set his jug down under the stream, it slid away. He put it back, and again it was driven away. Two or three times was this repeated, and each time the replacing of the jug was done with increasing energy. Finally the hermit’s patience was utterly exhausted, and exclaiming, “I’ll see if you’ll not stay!” he picked the vessel up and set it down with such vehemence that it was broken to pieces. There was nobody to blame but himself, and he had the good sense to see that it was not the world around him but the world inside of him that made him sin. Doubtless very many can recognize some experience of their own in this little story.GTI 20.1

    Luther, in his monk’s cell, whither he had gone to escape from the world, found his sins more grievous than ever. Wherever we go, we carry the world with us; we have it in our hearts and on our backs,—a heavy, crushing load. We find that when we would do good, “evil is present” with us. Romans 7:21. It is present, always, “this present evil world,” until, goaded to despair, we cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Even Christ found His greatest temptations in the desert, far away from human habitations. All these things teach us that hermits and monks are not in God’s plan. God’s people are the salt of the earth; and salt, no matter how good it is, is of no use if shut up in a box; it must be mingled with that which is to be preserved.GTI 20.2

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