We have heard several people proclaiming lately that America is under God’s judgment. They tell us it is because of the level of moral decay and unjust laws that are present in our society. Now I don’t necessarily disagree with their assessment, however it seems that when they speak on the subject it is implied that the Christian is just as vulnerable to God’s soon coming wrath as all others. We must then ask the question; is the Christian also in the cross hairs when God judges a nation? Let’s look more closely at this subject.
The story of Sodom and Gomorra is an often referenced passage in the Bible concerning God’s judgment upon humanity. But it is also a passage that speaks of the mercy of God for those that walk uprightly. As the story goes (Genesis 18) Abraham while conversing with God regarding the fate of these two cities was asking whether He would destroy the righteous right along with the wicked. As the conversation progressed God eventually made it clear that He would not destroy the cities if He found ten righteous men. Well the number of righteous in the city was even less than that. In fact there was only one man and his family. So God sent His angels to Lot’s home and strongly urged him and his family to vacate the city.
In our own land and in the world in which we live there are many people that depend on Jesus (Yeshua) to be their source of hope. His salvation paid the price for our sin and made away for us to be embraced by God. This is all apart of a spiritual reality which can’t be earned by any amount of good works. Instead we can only believe that God provides us everything we need for life and godliness by faith in His power to save. But this salvation also provides for us a righteousness that comes from above. When we declare Jesus as our only way into God’s favor we are also being invited into His righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
For this reason it is logical to conclude that judgment does not have a right to come near our door, unless of course Jesus is once again under God’s judgment. However there are some circumstances in life that have the potential of at least singeing our whiskers and those undesirable consequences all depend on where we choose to dwell.Now initially when the Christian says yes to Jesus they find themselves forgiven and sealed by the blood of Jesus. This place of sanctification provides for us the greatest liberty within God’s kingdom. Paul the Apostle gives us some insight as to how this place of acceptance by God plays out for the Christian.
1 Corinthians 6:11-13 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
In Christ and in His righteous environment we learn that all things are lawful because Jesus paid the price for all of our lawlessness. Having paid for sins past, present and future it allows us to concentrate more on relationship with Him rather than in our attempts to clean up our act, which is by-the-way impossible for us to do. What makes the difference is simply having a heart towards God. By having a heart set on Him and desiring to embrace fellowship with God even if we stumble a hundred times over, we still dwell in ample waves of His grace. However stumbling should be treated as a temporary condition.
Grace is not a license to sin, so if our heart wants the world more than we want God then we do enter a grey area. Basically actions that were once covered by the blood of Jesus get re-categorized as “willful unrepentant sin”. Such sin engenders another biblical principle known as, “whatever a man sows is what he will reap”. This principle has the potential of leaving the Christian in a state of vulnerability and reaping a bumper crop of very unpleasant things. Certainly we may still want God in our lives but the things of this world begin to drag us further and further away from His hedge of protection. Maybe a visual example will help.
If a Christian’s improper choices take him into a building that contains all sorts of sinful acts (lust, pride and greed), and that building is slated for demolition, is it the Christian’s sin that is being judged once the building falls? Based on common sinful associations there is an overlap of reckoning (reaping).
Now God does raise up a standard of protection when we remain innocent in our intentions and sensitive to His beating heart. However we can fool ourselves into thinking that all is safe and secure when we view life through a religious veil. Let me explain;
Religion can best be defined as a pursuit of God but subject to our own definition of a savior. Another definition describes the difference between Christianity and religion in this way; “Religion is man seeking after God where as true faith depends on God seeking after man.” So what is the problem? Many believers have never stopped being in charge of their faith. They believe that once saved it is then up to them to make the Christian life work. Yet if that’s the case then who really needs a savior in the first place?
The Christian faith needs to be dependent on Jesus from start to finish. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t need Him to carry us on to completion in order to finally live a full and rich life made in His image. Dependence on Him is also required if we ever intend to produce fruit for God. Proof that it is all about Him and His strength lies in an often over looked aspect of the gospel message. Are you aware that you died with Christ? Look at this verse.
Romans 6:3-4 don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
This verse is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at all the verses that support the same message.
Romans 6:6…………….. The old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with.
Romans 6:7…………….. Anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:8…………….. Died with Christ… alive with him.
Romans 6:11…………… Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 7:4…………….. You also died to the law through the body of Christ.
Romans 7:6…………….. By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law.
1Corintians 5:14……… Christ died for all; therefore, all died.
Galatians 2:19………… I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Galatians 2:20………… I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
Colossians 2:20………. You died with Christ to the basic principles of this world.
Colossians 3:3………… You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God..
2Timothy 2:11…………. If we died with him, we will also live with him.
Colossians 1:22………. You were reconciled by Christ’s physical body through death.
Colossians 2:12………. You were buried with him in baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God
So we bring this to light in order to make a point; the believer needs to take their hands off of Christianity because it leaves them in a grey area. This objection to becoming a follower of Jesus shows itself in a number of ways; all of which reveal an unsettled heart.
- I’m not going
What would have happened if Lot said “no, I’m not leaving Sodom and Gomorra”? Well certainly a righteous man would have suffered the effects of a judgment; one not intended for him or his family.
- I’m not listening
What if we chose to tune God out? I can think of times in my own life were I dismissed the counsel of God who was trying to steer me away from trouble. I chose to not acknowledge His counsel and sure enough I suffered for it down the road.
- I don’t want to grow up!
Growth in God is a personal journey, but all too often we place more hope in others to complete us. This removes us from the safety of God’s house and makes us vulnerable to what ever goes on in man’s religion.
- I don’t want to learn anything new…I like things just as they are.
On a similar note we should add that God gave us a book that has the ability to keep us tuned in and informed regarding His will and His counsel. Yet if we never read the bible, or gain a glimpse of its contractual mandates then we will suffer defeat. As the book of Hosea 4:6 conveys, God’s people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
I think that as our nation falls from grace we will see believers experience different degrees of tempering. Those that have stayed close to the heart of God will be able to view this time of upheaval as if it is merely a light discipline from the Lord. On the other hand, there will be those overwhelmed by how close destruction has come near to them due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They won’t lose salvation; they themselves will be saved, but only as those who pass through the flames. However why suffer needlessly at all?
There is a way to avoid the pain of living with one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world. It goes back to that matter of the Cross and our death with Christ.
When we got saved we heard the message and then believed God. As a result the Spirit of God came to dwell in our hearts. That exchange was based on a supernatural event that changed our lives forever. This pattern of trust and hope in God’s outstretched hand should never leave us. It is the basis for how we move away from the dangers of a fallen world and are then able to live out the Christian life in peace. Hence we need to depend on Jesus to be supernatural not just once, but for the whole course of our lives.
This one event; the Cross and our death with Christ, can also be called upon to clean up much of the mess we have made for ourselves. Let’s look at a valuable verse showing us the way in which we gain the mercy of God and a clean slate.
Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
This verse is distinguishing between what we are accustomed to doing in religion and what now needs to be done by the power of God’s Spirit.
So how do we take an issue to God?
We resolve our human issues by recognizing our sinful frailties and agreeing that the Holy Spirit is the only one that can transform our lives. Only He can apply the power of the Cross to our circumstance and supernaturally release us from compromise.
Application Jesus by your Holy Spirit please take both my good and evil attempts at managing life and faith into your death so that I can know your resurrection life.
Let God show you what improper choices and misdeeds stand in the way of the peace of God in your life. Consider that this is now a life long systematic journey of “out with the old and in with the new”. However I do want to point out that God’s Word can help you spot many of your current inconsistencies. But there is one major inconsistency that might need our attention sooner rather than later.
There is a city that has been slated for destruction for some time now; it’s a city that is close to our part of the world. This city contains all the best that the world has to offer but it also contains all the worst. Now it doesn’t reside on a geographical plane but rather it resides in the motives and actions present in fallen man’s heart. Those that have sought to make the most of life apart from the salvation of God have been building a city that currently covers the earth. It reaches into physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual realms and makes those that enter its gates a slave to its agenda. Basically man’s attempts at take dominion apart from Jesus makes him subject to the god of this world. The combination of wrong human motivation and dark spiritual support reveals “Babylon” as the haunt of every demon.
Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
Now if Babylon’s spirit covers the earth then how can the Christian escape its judgment? For the record, there is no way for us to physically or naturally save ourselves from Babylon. Its fallen world system has been woven into the fabric of our lives in political, economic and religious ways; so we need God to intervene. But I must point out that Jesus is still leaving the choice to vacate up to us. He is giving us a choice but strongly suggesting that we now leave Babylon and avoid any potential fallout as it crumbles.
What will happen in our lives once we choose to leave?
First we discover that it pays to trust God with the journey. Secondly we will find that a large portion of our struggle with lust, pride and greed was simply the result of being in the Babylonian box. Once out of the box we can know greater freedom from worldly pressures because we have stopped playing the game. And thirdly Jesus (Yeshua) extends his hand towards us and introduces us to a new level security and safety. Does that change our current form of vocation, education or lifestyle? Not necessarily; but it does change our heart and what we believe are the most important things in life. So all those in favor humbly ask God by faith to severe the effects of this corrupt world empire that has permeated our lives for too long.
- Jesus, even as you saved me from eternal separation from you when I asked you into my heart. I’m asking that you save me from a physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual Babylonian system.
- Even as you forgave me my sin in salvation I asked that you forgive me and save me from the many sins that I have committed while a slave to Babylonian rule.
- Even as you removed my feet from the effects of fallen mankind I ask that you remove my body, soul and spirit from the judgments you intend to bring against political, economic and religious Babylon.
The judgments of God are not just coming to America; they are coming upon the whole world. Whether you believe that the fall of a city, a nation, or a country is due to the hand of God or not, I encourage you to trust Him as the one that preserves you and no longer associates you with matters of worldly judgment. In fact make it a habit of refusing to be counted as a child of Babylon and begin to delight in Jesus a shield for you. This might be a challenge for some since we are so accustomed to living the Babylonian dream. However the Holy Spirit is able to renew our attitudes and actions, and bring about transformation for where ever we still dwell in compromise. All that is required of us is a heart towards God and a willingness to let Him facilitate change within us.