Over and over in the Old Testament, we see how nations rose and nations fell. If we had lived in those cities/nations, we may have suspected (like we do today) that they declined because of poor leadership, or an inferior military, or bad fiscal policies, etc. Yet, through the vantage point that the Old Testament provides us, we realize that there is always a spiritual aspect to it. God tended to bless nations that complied with His commands and tear down nations that did not.
As we approach the New Testament, we come to a text that is incredible in regard to this topic. God essentially gives us the step-by-step process that nations take as they fall into anarchy (and thus their own demise). The four step process (that seems to be a ‘general’ rule) is as follows.
Ingredient 1: They serve other gods (Romans 1:18-23)
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
Simply put, people and nations who act as if there is no God who rules supremely cannot claim ignorance. Creation itself testifies to the fact that there must be a God. Yet, people/nations willfully choose to act as if He doesn’t exist. Rather than have God as the One they enjoy and serve, they live their lives for themselves and go after other things (i.e. power, possessions, prestige, entertainment, gluttony, drunkenness, etc.)
But, once we throw off the restraints of God’s commands, we begin to slide down the slippery slope of immorality that leads to our own destruction.
Ingredient 2: They participate in sexual immorality (Romans 1:24-25)
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
In search of fulfillment and enjoyment, a society who has thrown off the restraints of God’s Word will find itself in a sexual revolution (think 1920’s and 1960’s in America). Rather than valuing the human body, it becomes an object capable of satisfying one’s selfish desires outside the confines of marriage.
Ingredient 3: They approve and practice homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27)
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
Since in a deteriorating society, norms for what constitutes a right sexual relationship are increasingly non-existent, its citizens will continue to push the envelope. Homosexuality is approved and practiced by a growing number of people in that society. (Think America in the 1990’s and beyond.)
Finally, Ingredient 4: They obtain worthless minds (Romans 1:28-32)
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
The end result of this whole process is what one would expect. If truth and righteousness are abandoned, who makes up the rules? Society? Well, we’ve seen in American society that our rules/norms keep changing. What wasn’t approved in the last decade is embraced in this one.
So, as society continues sliding down the slippery slope of immorality, anarchy becomes a very real possibility. Governments will need to take serious measures to maintain control. Does that sound far fetched? Then why does it seem that as our country has clearly made it to step 3 (embraced homosexuality) that we are also hearing that our country is talking about stricter gun laws for its citizens, drone flyovers of American cities, collection of citizen data from places like Google, etc.?
If we don’t turn back as a nation soon, we will run full steam into the wall of God’s wrath. The question remains as to whether enough of God’s children are willing to apply the truths of 2 Chronicles 7:14 in time. “If my people who are called by name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Only then is there any possibility of hope!