Deceptive Prosperity

December 11, 2006

It can be true of us as individuals.  It can be true of our churches.  It is the danger of deception, deception which comes with evident prosperity.  What if there is prosperity in our life, but also sin?  What if there is prosperity in our life right now, but sin God hates?  What if there is prosperity in our life, but the sin–hateful to God–is practically invisible to us?  We’ve become accustomed to it.  We don’t want to "see" it. 

And yet sin’s invisibility to us only increases its danger for us.  As Edmund Calamy said to his congregation in his final sermon, when some of them may have been pitying Calamy for his ejection from his pastorate, Calamy, acting even as a shepherd in his last sermon to his flock, was alerting them to the dangers inherent in their own prosperity.  A timely word for us.

"May be some will say, I have committed many . . . sins, but am not brought into any strait. Remember, it was nine months after David had numbered the people before he was in this strait; but as sure as God is in heaven, sin will bring straits sooner or later; though one sin a hundred years, yet shall he be accursed; may be thy prosperity makes way for thy damnation; and this is thy greatest distress, that thou goest on in sin and prosperity."
Edmund Calamy in his "Farewell Sermon," [Farewell Sermons, p. 11].