Another Fourth of July is almost over. Sitting here watching Myth Busters, overstuffed with hamburger and bratwurst and listening to all of the fireworks being shot off outside. Got to thinking about a preacher I heard recently telling his television audience how God is about to judge America. It seems like every time there is a natural disaster, there are the “usual suspects” telling any camera they can find that it was God’s judgment on the hapless community. The wind hadn’t died down from hurricane Katrina, before some claimed that it was God’s judgment on the area for various reasons. The reasons cited for judgment ran from abortion to gambling to Mardi Gras to witchcraft. Billy Graham once said, “If God does not judge America, He is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."
Were these things God’s judgment? Will He judge America? I don’t know. It’s up to God to say. What will be the basis for God’s judgment? I guess that if you asked Christians, more than a few would say, “They will be judged for their sins.” The Old Testament has many stories of God passing judgment on Israel and others. There is also the story of God being willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of a few righteous people.
Since a city or a country is nothing more than a collection of people, I think that it is helpful to look at the individual and then try to apply whatever we come up with to the whole. What’s true of the individual? His sins have already been judged, the verdict was guilty, the sentence was death…spiritual death that is. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he took the penalty, the death sentence, upon Himself. He took the cause of our death (sin) upon Himself and became sin on our behalf. That was a wonderful thing, but unfortunately we were still dead. What does a dead man need? Well, he needs life. Jesus rose from the dead, so that He could give His life to us. When we ask Him to save us, we receive His life into us and are instantly transformed from death into life…spiritual life. Looking at it another way, our death sentence has been commuted into a “life sentence.”
What does that have to do with God’s judgment of America? Everything, or nothing! It seems to me that only thing that America can be judged for is sin and sin has already been judged. Every person that is born is born into that judgment and they all stand guilty. So where am I going with this? I don’t know, I am just kind of winging it. I guess what’s on my mind lately are Christians whose primary focus is making people behave through political action leading to legislation. Lord knows I hate a lot of the things that go on in America, but where some see a sin that needs to be controlled by passing a law, I see a lost person doing what lost people do. The same thing Christians would do apart from the power of God working in them.
The Bible tells us that the power of sin is in the law. Paul tells us in Romans 7 that the law rouses sinful passions within us. Human experience tells us the same thing. Try telling someone that they can’t have something; it just makes them want it all the more. The same thing happened during prohibition. So it seems that some Christian groups are trying to accomplish what the Bible they are thumping tells them won’t work. They are trying to make people behave by working to get laws passed.
I have a novel approach that they might consider. Instead of lobbying legislators and praying for laws to be passed or righteous candidates to be elected, how about trying this? Let’s pray for people to be saved. Instead of hitting lost people over the head with a bible, tell them about Jesus in your words and your actions. When people get saved, they no longer need the legislature to control their behavior; they will have the Spirit of God.
This rant has reached its terminus.
P.S. I just noticed the bible quote of the day:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)