Charles R. Brown, head of the Department of History at Roanoke College, answered the question this way:
Practically everyone admits that the world is sick, but just what ails it continues to baffle all the doctors. In fact, no one up to the moment has offered any genuinely intelligent diagnosis, yet there are thousands of remedies being urged and tried. Of course, many people have attempted to tell us what ails the world, but their suggestions are usually prejudiced by their own personal interests and for that reason fail even to approach a good diagnosis.
Man alone of all creation is considered capable of devising and improving standards of living. Every generation since the advent of man has been charged with the responsibility of maintaining a high standard of morals and history testifies strongly that whenever man has neglected his morals, his civilization has suffered accordingly. Loose morals have undoubtedly contributed much to the downfall of all civilizations previous to ours and loose moral living if not corrected will most certainly wreck our world.
What is wrong with the world? It is morally and spiritually sick and no one seems to have the courage to administer the cure. Therefore the challenge to all people must be to get ready to stand on their own feet in simple, rugged and honest living if our civilization is to survive.
These are eloquent words and in many respects, they speak truth while in others they manifest a sad lack of a real understanding of the issues that confront the world today. The world is “morally and spiritually sick.” The symptoms of violence, drug addiction, greed, lawlessness, lack of morality, abortion (and others) all prove we are in the last days of grace—days like those of Noah when violence and corruption filled the earth and brought forth the judgment of God. Sin is the root cause of all these dreadful symptoms that plague the world today, and there is only one remedy for that root cause. It is found in the once crucified, now risen and glorified Son of God, Jesus Christ.
A mere return to morality and outward change will not solve this world’s problems—nor is it even possible while the underlying cause of sin remains untreated. There must be, on man’s part, repentance of his sin to God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Until that point is reached, there can be no remedy for the devastating ills of the world. God has commanded all men everywhere to repent, and He has appointed the day when He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus—a fact that He gave assurance of when He raised Him from the dead (Acts 17:30,31). The crux of the whole matter is man’s treatment of the Son of God. No matter how lofty the moral standards or how spiritual the principles adopted until men have made the Son of God their Savior, they are lost!
Dear reader, what about you? Are you concerned about what ails the world? Do you search for an answer to its symptoms? If you’re concerned, that’s good! But what about your own soul? No matter what level of morality you pursue or what level of spirituality you have obtained, if you haven’t repented of your sins to God and trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have not addressed the great need of your soul! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). We urge you to get right with God through Jesus Christ: He died on the Cross at Calvary to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. There He shed His precious blood by which redemption was accomplished (I Peter 1:18,19). Our eternal destiny depends on whether or not we receive Him as our personal Savior.
May each of us concerned by the events of the day search our hearts in the presence of God and be led to repentance and faith in that Blessed One whom God gave. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).