Ashley Madison and the Apostle Paul's "gospel"...

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...on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.  - Romans 2:16

They say pornography has been the engine driving technological advances the past few decades, starting with the VCR and DVD, but continuing to the present with the latest video codecs of pornography sites. Add to this the superficiality of tweets (esp. from Christians) and the extreme narcissism, vanity, and deception at the heart of FB, and it's easy to understand why believers would view technology as only evil.

But yes, there are good things about the internet, and one that may not be mentioned very often. Among the infinite number of Scripture's warnings, that one about "every idle word" makes me tremble. You too?

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

Incomprehensible, isn't it; that our Lord keeps track, not just of every hair on our head (comforting), but every thoughtless word? And this is where the internet is helpful...

All of us have been choke-chained by realizing that the NSA is eavesdropping on our phone conversations and filtering our text messages for anti-American activity. Also that they have a perfect log of every keystroke we've ever made on the web. (And let's not miss the forest for the trees by arguing over the details of Big Brother's spying. Since 9/11 the world has changed and we have George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to thank for what Rand Paul failed to oppose very effectively in his exchange with Chris Christie.)

But I suppose a certain type of Christian specializing in being asleep at the wheel can convince himself that the U.S. government is mostly benevolent when it comes to spying on its citizens, and therefore his internet sin is safe with the NSA. Now comes the Ashley Madison hack:

"I may be overestimating how far things will unfold, but this feels like a momentous event,” he wrote … It’s easy to kid about the fact that these people were using a site intended to help them cheat. But if understood in more abstract terms, this hack has the potential to alter anyone’s relationship with the devices and apps and services they use every day,” Herrman argued.

“Here were tens of millions of people expecting the highest level of privacy that the commercial web could offer as they conducted business they likely wanted to keep between two people. This hack could be ruinous — personally, professionally, financially — for them and their families. But for everyone else, it could haunt every email, private message, text and transaction across an internet where privacy has been taken for granted.”

If so, not with hackers, and that's a good thing.

Take the hackers' exposure of the e-mail addresses, credit card addresses, and names of all the adulterers who subscribed to the Ashley Madison adultery site. They thought their wickedness would never be exposed, but the internet never forgets anything and it turns out Family Research Council didn't just have a problem with its founder, Gary Bauer, but also its recent executive director, Josh Duggar. And not just his very long-ago crimes against minor girls, but very present crimes against his parents, his brothers and sisters, his children, and his wife.

So it turns out the internet is a very helpful warning of the coming judgment when God's book will be opened and the Righteous Judge of All the Earth will speak. This is what Scripture says about that judgment. And note this warning from the Holy Spirit comes directly after God's condemnation of the pagan's sodomy and lesbianism. In other words, these words of warning concerning the coming judgment are aimed at the very "nice Christians" who were just "amening" the judgment of God falling upon the sins of unbelievers in the text of Romans chapter one.

Christians will face judgment, too, although not without the precious obedience and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:1-16)

So, dear brothers and sisters, be on guard—not just over your tongue, but also over your keyboard. Think of the coming judgment as starting with a keystroke recording of everything you've ever typed in the address bar or search engine or FB page of your computer, tablet, and smartphone.

With love,

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!