From: Bob Williams
Cities around the country, and around the world, receive a lot of negative press. Chicago continues as a murder capital, with Baltimore recently having a rash of homicides. We all know about crime in nearby Minneapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. In fact, no city has been, is and will be immune from the evils that abound where people congregate.
These and other truly great cities have a lot going for them. As a result, some say you have to take the bad with the good. To help our understanding, it is instructive to look at the doctrines pertaining to the city which are found in the Bible. In one simple phrase, the prophet Isaiah succinctly states the inevitable problems which would be associated with the city when he writes, “Woe to them that join house to house ...” (Isa. 5:8). As people congregate, and as the population of a city increases, the greater will be the propensity for evil, typically manifesting itself in increased crime, violence and murder.
The very first city ever established was founded by Cain, as described in Genesis 4. Having just committed the first murder in history of his brother Abel in Genesis 4:8, the Lord consigned Cain to a life of being a vagabond and fugitive. In direct rebellion to God, Cain established the city of Enoch in Genesis 4:16-17. The verses which follow describe the development of music, the arts, entertainment and commerce – all associated with any great city. Since that first city, there has consistently been a characteristic spirit associated with the city, a spirit which is an extension of Cain’s rebellious attitude against God’s Word. Even those who are not into God’s Word know about the evils of Sodom, Gomorrah, Jericho, Babylon, Nineveh, and Alexandria.
Several thousand years later, in the days of the Apostle Paul, that same spirit was seen in the great city of Athens. The Acts 17:16 account describes how that great city had been completely given over to idolatry. Athens was the place where the great thinkers including Socrates, Aristotle and Plato originated philosophies of human viewpoint and human wisdom. These philosophies stand in direct contradiction to the things God said and continue to influence the thinking of people to this day, demonstrating the spirit of rebellion against God’s Word. That is the spirit which permeates cities wherever you go on this planet.
This is the spirit Paul addresses in Ephesians 2:2 when he speaks of people walking “... according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience.” The Bible speaks of the god who is responsible for the evil we see around us as the “god of this world,” who blinds the eyes of men to the truth. In 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, Paul tells Christians: “... Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God ... But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him...”
There are consequences to the choices we make as individuals and as a nation. While God is not judging the world today, He will hold us responsible for our decisions, most importantly, what we did with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Moses implored Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 to “choose life,” you can overcome the spirit of the world by choosing to have the “Spirit of God” through life in Christ. The consequence of continued disobedience is eternal separation from God.