There is a phrase I like - "The World is Going to Hell in a Handbasket." It amuses me - I think the idea of going anywhere in a handbasket itself is amusing. And then the accuracy of the phrase describing the world - simply getting worse. And that's the simple fact, the world is always getting worse. If we make an "advancement" somewhere, somewhere else just gets worse. The world is always in decay -- and when you are in the handbasket, whatever time you are in, you know it's getting worse - and even more wondrous, if we could turn back the clock, it wouldn't feel any better. Only Romanticized views of the past think that it's better back in the "good old days".
So - how do we react to this persistent reality of the world? There are three response that arise:
1. The Antinomian
2. The Legalistic
3. The Christian
The Antinomian sees these changes in the world and decides that we must accomodate the culture. Get rid of anything that might offend so as to hope to save folks (because it's our actions and skill and power that save folks) - the bait and switch of theology - the welcome all to save all. But this destroys the Gospel, because if you do not see your sin, you will never have faith in your Savior, for you won't need Him.
The Legalist sees these changes in the world and desires to fix them - to stop the slide into depravity. And the solution - law. If we can just convince people to follow the rules, then things will be better. And there is movement, there is momentum, let's tighten the laws and rules beyond what Scripture says -- because that pesky freedom is being abused. This doesn't stop the slide of culture, and more over it gives more people simple reason to reject the faith in a bait and switch move -- because they reject what the Legalist says they end up assuming they should reject what Christ says as well.
The Christian though sees these changes in the world, shrugs, shakes his head, prays for his neighbor, and then says, "Well, y'all can do as you wish, but me and my house, we're going to follow the Lord." The Christian doesn't try to fix the world with his ideas, either way. He is content to focus upon the Word - and let the Word of God do what it does.
Or to think of it this way with an analogy - the Field Goal Post. 10 feet high, 18.5 feet wide. Now, imagine a man placekicker plying his trade.
The Antinomian thinks we should cheer and support a person even if someone misses field goals all the time - great job, you win, I support and validate you! Yea!
The Legalistic thinks, "Some of those kicks are really close to missing, if we don't do something, he's going to just miss more and more -- alright, now, unless you hit this target that is 20 feet high and only 9 feet wide, you haven't done well. And kicks that are still through the uprights are treated as failures because they are too close to missing.
The Christian simply says - oh, that one missed. No good. Oh, that kick is through - it's good! Now kicker, continue practicing, continuing kicking -- but as our Quarterback leads us to 60 point wins, well, you have the victory because of him, and it never comes down to you.