Chesterton says somewhere that the modern world has insisted on exiling the Savior, but has done so from the midst of the story of the Gadarene demoniac. The upshot of this means that our naked public square has been purged of any reference to Jesus, but we are now left with the devils and with the swine.
Too many times Christians have placed the consequences of not believing in Jesus too far off in the eschatological distance. The things we say about that placement are quite true, as far as it goes — to be admitted into the presence of God we must be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and if we are banished from the presence of God on that great day, it will be because we never knew Him.
But not knowing Him does not just result in Hell later. It also means that when we refuse to acknowledge Him here and now, the end result is that we start building little prototypes of Hell in order to test drive them. And that is why the public square rapidly becomes a haunt for owls and jackals.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the devils know how to work us in two ways. Too many conservative Christians tend to think that the devil simply wants to tempt us with variations on the orgy porgy debauch. But the devil is actually parsimonious — he hates pleasure and only uses it to bait the hook. If he can get us to take the naked hook, so much the better. The Gadarene demoniac was not living in luxury, remember, and the legion of demons was not feeding him grapes. Never forget that the devil at heart is a prohibitionist.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:1-5).
Doctrines of devils? Sounds interesting. What might they teach? Well, the devils want you to have sex issues along with a bunch of food issues, and that pretty much describes our generation down to a t. And many professing Christians — who are too embarrassed to name Jesus in the public square — are not too embarrassed to stampede along with all the food phobias that are dictated to us, not to mention being slowly affected by the gay pride parades that gyrate slowly past, and they do not put these two realities together. As Dylan taught us, you gotta serve somebody. It might be the devil, or it might be the Lord, but neutrality is no option at all.
Chesterton hammered those pinched souls who were well on their way to banning salt and pepper, along with mustard, as a most “unnatural stimulant.” Those pinched souls don’t know that they are pinched, and they don’t know that they have been outmaneuvered, and that the only alternative to the path they are on is a good confession of the crown rights of Jesus Christ.
If Jesus is Lord, then this means that our lower intestine has been dethroned from its place of privilege and power. If the lordship of Jesus is denied, then the only alternative, since our god is now our belly (Phil. 3:19), will be to confess the crown rights of the lower reaches of that belly, and to begin to leave bizarre and unnatural offerings on that altar. Those offerings might include the sexual organ of another, or it might be fecal transplants. Whatever.
Regardless, the solution is to turn back to Jesus — not simply in our hearts, although it must begin there — but to do so on the steps of the county courthouse. Come down to it, there is fundamentally a basic choice. Either we will have a nativity set there, with Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, two cows, a goat, and a drummer boy, or will have two (or more) homosexuals holding up their marriage license for the photographers.