When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, he pleaded with the people to be “saved from the corrupt generation” (Acts 2:40). This seems odd. Isn’t every generation corrupted by sin? No doubt, yet there seems to be certain generations so corrupted by sin that they can be comparatively worse than previous or future ones. Certain generations, due to the influence of the church and historical/cultural changes, conform more to truth and goodness; others, in reaction to those generations, swing in the opposite direction. It would seem that we are presently in the latter.
Our current generation is so godless it staggers the mind. Their sin isn’t hidden, but defiantly blatant. The promise of progress and technology hide the rotten core of our present American culture, but make no mistake, we are a corrupt generation. Because of this, many Christians are concerned about the influence that society might have on them and their children (justifiably so).
The Psalmist shared similar concerns about the corrupting influence of an evil society. In Psalm 12 he writes:
“Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.”—Psalm 12:1-2
Notice the grand generalizations he makes about his generation: the faithful have vanished, everyone utters lies, flatters with their lips, and speak with deceitful intent. That’s a pretty dark outlook on his day; Yet, don’t we all feel that way at times? Even though we know not everyone is “evil,” when we see the prevalence of wickedness it appears hopeless. How can we hope for preservation from a generation like this?
“You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man” (7-8).
The Lord will keep and preserve his people, guarding them from this generation. This reminds us of 1 Peter 1:5: “Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that our personal faith or perseverance doesn’t matter, but it does mean that we aren’t in this alone. God is just as concerned—in fact, more concerned—with you maintaining your salvation and holiness throughout this life. This is why we pray that he will “lead us not into temptation” (Matt. 6:13). It isn’t that we believe God will lead us into sin, but we ask for his aid in helping us avoid it.
We may not know all the ins and outs of God’s working in our lives to preserve his faithful people, but we do know that, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, he works within us (Phil. 2:12-13). So, take heart Christian! God is on your side. He hasn’t simply worked in your past to save you, but is also working in your present to sanctify you from this evil generation.