I know that this will not be a very popular post. I’m not going to give the truth a positive “spin.” I am concerned that the phrase, “and they lived happily ever after,” probably doesn’t apply here.
Yet, while I want to be honest with the gravity of the truth, I want to end on a positive note. (The Gospel is “Good News”, right?)
I believe that there are some rough days ahead for those of us who live in America. Most American citizens seem to be oblivious to it … or simply choose not to think about it. Yet, a brief look at news events causes us to see that our country is in desperate trouble.
What is even more disheartening is that many (maybe most) American Christians seem to not give this reality a second thought. That is interesting given the fact that the Old Testament of our Bible gives us ample illustration of how God regularly moved against sinful nations. In the Old Testament, we can observe how God spoke through the prophets, how the nation of Israel (or other nations) typically ignored God’s warnings and refused to repent and then, because of that choice, willfully plummeted into a time of God’s judgment. Any reflective Christian will easily see the striking similarities of those Old Testament accounts with the present trajectory of America.
So, because of my love for my country, I have been motivated for quite some time to be a part of the growing cries of God’s present day prophets who are calling our nation (particularly Christians) to repent and return to God.
To explain the seriousness of the hour, I want to unpack 4 points: 1) God is not indifferent to our moral declension, 2) God is warning us to turn back, 3) The time of Judgment seems to be very close, and 4) Something can be done about it.
God is not indifferent to our moral declension
One theme that is found in the pages of Scripture is rarely talked about these days: God’s wrath. The topic of God’s indignation is abhorrent to a culture that only wants to think that God smiles on them in pleasure … including when they are indifferent to His presence and are willfully in violation of His commands.
Yet, when we look at Romans 1:18, we read: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven …” That language is not ambiguous. It is very clear. God gets angry and it is obvious to those who are watching. That’s not in the Old Testament, friend. That was written for the church era … the time period that we are in.
Fortunately, the writer of Romans, moved by the Holy Spirit, elaborated on God’s anger. As He continued to write, He explained what God’s anger looks like and what gets Him angry in the first place.
Let’s begin by discovering what God’s anger looks like.
Within the pages of Scripture, we often see God’s anger demonstrated through natural disaster, wars, and death among many other things. There are ample stories in the Bible that illustrate for us that God’s anger is often active and fierce. People rebel against Him so, after a period of time (allowing time for repentance), He moves against them.
Yet, in this text we see God’s anger demonstrated in a much more “passive” way. Here, we see that God’s anger is demonstrated by removing His protection and giving the persistent, unrepentant sinner (nation) the consequences of his (its) sin. The picture is that of God holding His hand around the sinner (or rebellious nation) protecting them from themselves and the consequences of their sin. Yet, as they persist in rebelling against Him and His laws, God removes His hand leaving the sinner open to the natural, negative consequences of their sinful choices.
The key phrase in Romans 1:18-32 is “God gave them up.” It occurs three times in verses 24, 26, and 28. Again, it simply means that a person or nation insisted on violating God’s commandments and refused to repent. So, God’s patience ran out and He allowed them to experience the fallout that they brought upon themselves as they continued farther down the road to moral degradation.
The perceptive reader cannot help but notice that there is a progression of sin in Romans 1:18-32. The severity of the sin seems to escalate at God gives the person/nation over to their sin choices. Do you see it?
- A person/nation rejects the One true God and replaces Him for other ‘gods.’ (Romans 1:19-23).
- Then, that person/nation engages in unrestrained lust and sex. (Romans 1:24-25).
- Then, that person/nation engages in homosexuality. (Romans 1:26-27).
- Then, that person/nation becomes so corrupt that their conscience no longer bothers them. They applaud sin of all kinds in themselves and others. (Romans 1:28-32).
- Finally, God will not remain indifferent to such sin. He will judge and condemn the unrepentant person/nation if thy don’t turn from their sin and turn to Him (Romans 2:1-5).
Now, I don’t know about you but when I see that list, I can’t help but think that it was written (if for no one else) for America. (Most people / nations who sin and fall into God’s judgment have not followed this pattern.) It is eerie to see how closely America has followed this trajectory.
- First, we have placed so many other ‘gods’ above the one true God. (ourselves [pride], greed, pleasure, power, craving other’s applause, etc.). Just one instance of this is our national defiance of God’s command, “You shall not kill” as our nation has murdered over 58,000,000 unborn babies since Roe V. Wade … as we call it “women’s rights.” “Self” is clearly on the throne in our society as we continue to fight for our rights and determine our own moral code in the absence of a conscious awareness of the One True God.
- The next step in Romans 1 is unrestrained lust and sex (Romans 1:24-25). This makes sense, doesn’t it? When mankind gets to be his own ‘god’, there is no fear of God and no fear of the final day of Judgment. So, he will naturally demonstrate his newfound freedom in, among many other ways, sexual gratification. While America (and every other nation) has always experienced various forms of adultery in its culture, America had a very specific time in history that we call “the sexual revolution” in the 1960s and 1970s. While sexual promiscuity has always been a human problem in all of world history, these particular decades in American history began on college campuses and radically changed our culture as the Boomers grew older and took their influential places in society. Now, you cannot walk a mall, watch television or surf the net without being bombarded with sexually explicit images. Sex is not held as a sacred privilege between a husband and wife but as a leisurely activity between anyone and everyone at any time.
- The next step in Romans 1 is homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27). It makes sense that this is the next step, doesn’t it? When society becomes “oversexed” and bored with unfettered, adulterous heterosexual activity, something else must be sought to satisfy. (Sex within the confines of a monogamous, married relationship should never become boring. It is the natural and enjoyable expression of a husband and wife who love and delight to serve each other.) While homosexuality has been present throughout world history, America has only recently celebrated it. In fact, our country is quite possibly the one country in all of world history that has officially recognized gay marriage as a right. Our Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of gay marriage.
- The next (and final) step in Romans 1 is unfettered sin that is applauded by the masses (Romans 1:28-32). This makes sense, doesn’t it? When society has worked so diligently to ‘remove God’ from their consciousness and as they have sought pleasure and happiness in unfettered sexual expression outside the bounds of His commands, and when society insists on continuing down a road in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment (apart from the restraints God has given to us), God will abandon that nation. Friend, just take a look around you. Watch the news. When morality is abandoned and mankind gets to determine what he believes is right and wrong, what is wrong today will be right tomorrow. What we would find so utterly offensive today will be celebrated tomorrow. And everyone knows that “gay marriage” is not the final step in our nation’s moral freefall. It will not be long before “marriage” will include much, much more than it presently does. What is seen as utterly abhorrent and wicked today may be celebrated as normal tomorrow when all restraints are removed.
If you look at the above 4 step process, America is most certainly in step 3 and moving toward the fourth and final step. There is nothing after that except Romans 2:1-5 where we read of God’s judgment.
God is warning us to turn back
God is not indifferent to sin. He must judge it severely.
Yet, God is also not indifferent to humanity. We are the culmination and climax of His creation and He loves us. So, rather than immediately judge humanity for its sin, He warns us. He calls out for us to repent (turn away from our sin and turn to Him).
Over and over in the Bible, we read of prophets and preachers that God sent to speak against humanity’s sinfulness. Men such as Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, Peter, and so many more were God’s spokesmen.
The message was essentially this:
If sin is not repented of and abandoned, God will eventually judge with severity.
- Jesus said: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
God’s heart desires that mankind repent so that He will not have to move in judgment.
- “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)
- “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
While God’s heart desires repentance, He will not forego judgment if a person / nation insists on continuing in a lifestyle that rejects His rule over them. So, because of His great love, He has always had His spokesmen who He sent to warn a rebellious people of impending judgment.
Friend, as I look at America today, I see God’s “spokesmen” all around. They are calling out for our nation (beginning with Christians) to repent and return to God. Just a few of their names are: Billy Graham, Ronnie Floyd, Saeed Abedini, and so many more. Ministries like Onecry are laser-focused on calling God’s people to repent and experience revival. The Christian movie industry is pumping out movies that are calling God’s people to wake up and take their faith seriously (“War Room,” “Do You Believe,” etc.). In reality, there are thousands upon thousands of prophets / preachers who stand in their pulpits every Sunday and call God’s people to turn from sin and “self” and return to a passionate love and submission to God.
Yet, this message of repentance seems to be falling upon deaf ears as it did with Israel. Over and over, God called out to Israel but they ignored His message and His messengers and ran blindly toward His judgment. Typically, it was only after Israel experienced the unspeakable horrors of God’s Judgment did they eventually turn back to Him. (However, sometimes, even judgment didn’t bring them back.)
I am desperately concerned that God is not indifferent to our sin. In fact, I am concerned that His judgment is just around the corner. It may have already started.
The time of Judgment seems to be very close
Any perceptive American who is not intentionally blinding himself or herself to what is going on around them readily sees that we are in uncharted waters. In a moment’s notice, life as we know it in America could collapse.
- Are you watching what is happening to Greece? Well, I think you may be looking at the wrong side of the world. Keep an eye on China (the world’s second largest economy). What happens there will certainly have a huge impact on our own nation’s economy.
- Our nation has over 18 trillion dollars in debt (that’s $18,000,000,000,000!). One source puts this into perspective by saying if you took a dollar bill, stacked another dollar on top of it and just kept going until you reached the amount of our national debt, you would have a stack that reaches well over 1 million miles into space. This is unsustainable and it will eventually crush us.
- We are kidding ourselves if we think ISIS can’t get across our nation’s borders. With their trail of death and their threats against America, those maniacs aren’t to be trifled with. Yet, our nation continues to have thousands upon thousands of people illegally, secretly cross our boarders each year. To believe that ISIS has not taken advantage of such an opportunity is to show the extent of our naivety.
- There is a growing anger and willingness to riot in America that has not been the case for a few decades. It’s like we are going backwards in time to the racism of the 50’s.
- On and on we could go. Any one of these and more possibilities could send our nation into a tailspin that we would not be able to break free from. We really are teetering on the precipice of danger that could radically change life as we know it and it could happen very, very quickly.
So, what can be done?
If what we are experiencing is the beginning of God’s Judgment upon our nation (and I believe it is), then repentance is the only answer. Falling down on our knees in brokenness over our sin, turning from that sin, turning to Jesus for forgiveness and submitting to God’s authority over us is the only answer.
Friend, you may think that you aren’t part of the problem – that it is “those” people who are the problem. However, you need to realize that we are all in this together. On a very few occasions, God carefully judged the sinner while rescuing those who found grace in God’s site (think Noah). But the general pattern found in Scripture is that God treats people as groups. When Achan sinned, God allowed His disfavor to fall on the nation of Israel.
Fortunately, God has given a “plan” when a sinner or sinful nation comes to their senses, repent of their sin and return to Him. He gave it in 2 Chronicles 7.
In 2 Chronicles 7:1-10, we read that King Solomon of Israel was leading in a time of incredible excitement. The temple of Almighty God in all of its splendor had been completed and there was much celebration. But God knew that the people would soon stray. He knew that they would sin and would not return until He brought discipline and judgment upon them. So, He spoke to Solomon in a night’s vision (2 Chronicles 7:11-12).
In that vision, He told Solomon that the people would eventually stray and would experience God’s judgment. That judgment would come upon Israel in the form of droughts, crop-devouring bugs, and disease (2 Chronicles 7:13). (They relied heavily upon their crops so this would be a judgment that quickly got their attention.)
But there was a way that they could work to end God’s judgment. There was something the people could do that would catch the attention of Heaven’s ear, get their sins forgiven and work to remedy what their sins had caused. It’s found in the very next verse:
2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people who are called by my 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.”
It required a sincere, passionate change of mind and heart by the people. They needed to “humble themselves,” (get off the throne of their hearts), pray and seek God’s face (call upon and seek a love relationship with God) and turn from their sin with the intention never to do it again. The result of that would be Heaven’s favor.
I believe that America is either on the precipice of God’s judgment or maybe already experiencing the beginning of it. Yet, He has made it clear how a person and nation can forego that discipline. God is sending sufficient warnings to America. But, it is yet to be seen how American Christians will respond. It can only be hoped that we drop to our knees, cry out to God in repentance and experience God’s favor once again.