W R Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
A degenerate society is one that deviates from the norms of yesteryear; from a high moral state, into a progressive cultural drift of immorality. King Solomon stated: Whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy (pleasure); for my heart rejoiced in all my labor (Ecclesiastes 2:10).
He seemed pleased with all his accomplishments until what is revealed in the next statement: Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity (futility) and vexation of spirit (a grasping for the wind), and there was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
We live in an electronic age that leaves little to be withheld from one's eyes; or whatsoever one's heart desires. Is there not a need for the those participating in such a manner to be opened to the truth; rather than relish in that which is unprofitable to the soul?
Scripture reveals: Let us (mankind) hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear (reverence) God, and keep the commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work under judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
It was noted that God has commanded man to live joyfully, responsibility, and wisely. The controlling factor of life should be the fear (reverence) of God; with submission to God and His commandments. The certainty of divine judgment, to those that do otherwise, demands it. There are many who take the Word of God lightly; or are deceived by others, to countermand the severity for doing so, as the serpent did to Eve, in the Garden of Eden.
Eve, along with her husband Adam, partook of the forbidden fruit; with God's judgment coming upon them, upon the serpent who swayed them from the Word of God, and mankind as a whole. A degenerate society would never have come into focus had God's Word been tampered with, bringing disobedience, at the beginning of mankind.
Scripture reveals: I have planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then are you turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me (Jeremiah 2:21). This was speaking of the nation of Israel which God had prepared as a choice vine; which had become degenerate, a vine in which there was no fruit or profit.
This condition is also declared in the Parable of the Vineyard recorded in the Book of Isaiah. Scripture reveals: God planted a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. He fenced it, and gathered out the stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes (Isaiah 5:2).
Many once godly nations, having been carefully nurtured by the hand of God, have caved into the desires of the ungodly, thus producing wild grapes (a degenerate society), not what God intended.
Scripture reveals: What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes (a degenerate society) (Isaiah 5:4)?
Many nations have seen great spiritual revivals, with the outpouring of God's Spirit; as God nurtured His vineyard, fenced it, taking out the stones thereof, planting it with the choicest vine, reaching out to the soul of man, to bear good fruit.
Man after having tasted of the forbidden fruit, became a degenerate society, taking on the features of Solomon's declaration: Whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy (pleasure) (Ecclesiastes 2:10). God's intended grapes of value had turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine to Him.
The Parable of the Vineyard became a Parable of Judgment. It need not have; neither do once godly nations have to experience God's wrath, unless they fail to restore their first love to the God of all Creation, after having fallen from His Grace.
God made a promise to King Solomon regarding the people of Israel; that is applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways (that of a degenerate society); then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
A wonderful promise of restoration towards what God originally intended for mankind; rather than the wild grapes being produced through the ungodliness of man.
In the same breath of restoration; come words of warning for having failed to do so: If you turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them (a degenerate society); then will I pluck you up by the roots out of my land which I have given you.
And this house, which I have sanctified (set apart) for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all nations (2 Chronicles 7:19-20). Again the words of King Solomon: God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
The conclusion of the Parable of the Vineyard issued a similar warning: I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard (after bringing forth wild grapes): I will break down the hedge thereof (God's protective shield), and it shall be eaten up (consumed); and will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden (trampled down): and I will lay it wasted; it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers, and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it (Isaiah 5:5-6).
Has the hedge been lowered to allow God's judgment to be experienced rather than His continued blessings? Are many once godly nations now experiencing woes instead of blessings? Is it because of a degenerate society that has allowed wild grapes to be produced? Is it due to failure to return to the God of one's youth; when good grapes were produced?
Scripture reveals: For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment (justice), and behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry (Isaiah 5:7). God had chosen the nation of Israel to be as a beacon to others; having separated them from the influence of the heathen (ungodly) nations.
However, just as a plague of leprosy separates, so does unrighteousness separate one from God, making it a degenerate society. We are seeing the evilness of man prevailing in these latter days; many having been blinded into acceptability, advocating its continuation, thus allowing even worse evils to come forth.
Scripture reveals: When the unclean spirit is come out of a man, he walks (goes) through dry places, seeking rest (a resting place), and finds none. Then he says, I will return into my house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished (ready for occupation) (Matthew 12:43-44).
Scripture reveals: Then he (the unclean spirit) goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the state of that man (or nation) is worse than the first! Even so shall it be also to this wicked generation (a degenerate society) (Matthew 12:45).
We are witnessing an abundance of evilness invade many once godly nations, as a degenerate society grows by leaps and bounds, rather than being repulsed. This has allowed the spiritual condition of many once godly nations to weaken, through ungodliness raising its ugly head, rather than godly deportment that previously existed.
The church, in many cases, has allowed the seed of deception to rule the day rather than stand in opposition to such. A legendary evangelist of the first Great Awakening, Charles G. Finney, stated: Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours to a great degree.
If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of Justice, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact; but let us lay it to heart, and awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.
There are many voices of the past who give warning against allowing a degenerate society; of the need to resist such an effort, rather than be poured into a mode of acceptance. Scripture reveals: Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).
Scripture reveals the denunciation of the wicked: In heart you work wickedness; you weigh the violence of your hands on earth (Psalm 58:2). It was noted that the heart of man is wickedness; it is desperately wicked performing sinful acts committed with both the tongue and hand.
This represents a degenerate society that is allowed to manifest itself; and increase its influence, through unrighteous rulings and laws made to increase its influence. It is a failure on the part of the righteous to open the eyes of those blinded to such an influence, by revealing the truths of God's Word.
Scripture reveals: Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly (wicked), nor stands (walks) in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1).
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