Can America be saved?

us-flag-star-of-davidIn a recent message on Psalm 2, I pointed out that, while 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a promise only for Israel and does not apply to America, there is another passage that does:

“There are times, Jeremiah, when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, I will cancel the destruction I intended to do to it. And there are times when I promise to build up and establish a nation or kingdom. But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it.” — Jeremiah 18:7-10

Now, God has not made any specific promises to America like he did to Israel. However, I think there are at least three things we are dealing with in our nation today that fit under this concept of God’s building up or destroying a nation based on some of his general commands.

How we treat Israel

God told Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, but those who look down on you with contempt I will curse.” This applies across every generation for all time.

I believe that one of the things that has helped make America the global superpower we have been for over 100 years is our friendship with Israel. God has promised to bless those who bless Israel.

However, the nation that stands against the welfare of Israel cannot be blessed by God and instead has chosen to stand against him as well.

How we value life

After the Flood, God told Noah that humans were now civilly responsible to protect the lives of other humans (Genesis 9:5-6). Before the Flood, there was no sanctity of life. Genesis 6 shows a world full of corruption and destruction. It was so bad that God described it this way: “The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” (Genesis 6:5, NLT)

After cleansing the Earth with the Flood, God established an infant version of human government. The new rule was that if a person was murdered, society (not personal revenge) was commanded by God to destroy the murderer, whether that was a wild animal or another human. The reason was because God made people in his personal image, and he sees murder as a personal insult to him.

There are at least three reasons why capital punishment should still be in force today:

  1. People are still created in God’s personal image. This has not changed.
  2. This command was given to the entire human population and was not limited to Israel’s law code given through Moses centuries later.
  3. This command was never rescinded in the New Testament. In fact, Paul supports the continuation of government’s role in executing criminals in Romans 13:1-7.

God demands capital punishment, and the nation that does not carry it out values the life of the murderer more than the life of the victim and cannot be blessed by God.

I believe that this applies not just to what most people consider murder but also to abortion. Several times in the Old Testament God referred to those who slaughtered children as shedding “innocent blood” (see, for example, Psalm 106:38 and Jeremiah 19:4). The prophets also mentioned orphans as some of those that God pointed out as especially important to him.

Since we believe that life begins at conception, those still-developing infants are also created in God’s image, and those who murder them should be punished. The same principle applies to the elderly. It is not the government’s job to take care of each person, but our laws should protect them, not create ways to kill them.

The nation that does not value and protect the lives of its citizens – especially the infants and elderly – cannot be blessed by God.

How we celebrate gender and marriage

In both the Old and New Testaments, God has stated that homosexuality is an abomination to him. Those who wish to link this only to Israel’s Old Testament Law could not be more wrong. It is true that Leviticus 18:22 is part of the Law code. However, that verse is not a law in itself. It simply states God’s stance on the matter of homosexuality: “You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.” We do not advocate killing homosexuals as in the Mosaic Law, but that does not change God’s attitude about the act itself.

Paul repeated this concept in Romans 1:26-27, when he wrote, “For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

It is important to note that the arguments by advocates of homosexuality always focus on how people feel about each other. “You can’t stop people from loving each other. Paul didn’t know anything about loving, committed homosexual relationships.” Even if that were true (which it’s not), that’s not what Moses and Paul addressed.

The issue is not whether two people love each other. In both the Old and New Testament, God speaks against homosexual acts; those actions are despicable to him, because they go against his design and plan. This, by the way, is no different than heterosexual acts that also go against his design and plan – adultery, incest, polygamy, polyandry, and others.

Homosexuality goes against God’s design in gender and his design for marriage, and the nation that not only allows but celebrates and promotes something that God despises cannot be blessed by God.

So can America be saved? Yes and no.

No – God has promised that this world is going to get worse, not better, as the end gets closer (2 Timothy 3:1-9). The Church will never make America into a “good” or “Christian” nation.

Yes – There are things we can do to hold off on our premature destruction in the meantime:

  1. Politics – A Christian can affect American politics in three ways: vote based on biblical principles; help in campaigns for solid Christian politicians who will lead from biblical principles; be the candidate who will lead from biblical principles
  2. Pray – For our leaders at all levels of government. For those who are Christians, pray for God’s wisdom in leading God’s way. Pray also for the salvation of those government officials who are not saved.
  3. Make disciples – This is actually the best and most effective option. Because we vote for our leaders, the best voters are Christians who understand the Scriptures well and take our responsibilities in this world seriously. The more Americans who believe in Jesus and grow in their knowledge of the Scriptures, the better chance America has.

At this time a majority of Americans say they believe in God and consider themselves Christians. But that’s not as good as it sounds on the surface. Someone asked me a question recently, “Is there a difference in believing in God and believing God?” Yes, there absolutely is a difference.

I would say that most of the Americans who claim to believe in God and claim to be Christians, in reality have no idea what biblical Christianity is and, in fact, believe in a false god and a false gospel. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble in fear.” I dare say that a lot of people who “believe in God” have never truly believed him – what he has revealed about himself in the Scriptures, especially in regard to who Jesus is and what Jesus did.

The best thing we can do – our real only option for “saving” America – is to see people saved, growing in the Scriptures, and fulfilling their responsibilities of building up the Church and evangelizing the world.

Proverbs 31

The last chapter of Proverbs is best-known for its section on the “virtuous wife” – that ideal woman of dreams. But she is actually the third of three sections in chapter 31.

Like in chapter 30, we know nothing of Lemuel or his mother, except that he was a king and that God’s people recognized him/them as speaking God’s truth here and kept this together with the rest of God’s Word.

Lemuel’s mother taught him three things that he would find necessary when he became king (and we find necessary in our lives, too):

1 – Keep your mind strong (31:3-7)

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to crave strong drink, lest they drink and forget what is decreed,and remove from all the poor their legal rights. (31:3-4)

Whether they will admit it or not, everyone knows that alcohol is a mind-altering drug. No doubt it affects people in different ways – some more, some less. But those who say, “It doesn’t affect me” don’t realize the power that it has. Just ask the guy who’s 24 years sober, yet still going to AA meetings religiously.

Lemuel’s mother’s advice is right on – drink affects your mind, so don’t drink when you’re going to be needing your mind. In a king’s case (or president, governor, etc.), that could be at any time, so he shouldn’t drink at all.

Who should drink according to Lemuel’s mom? “The one who is perishing…those who are bitterly distressed” specifically for the purpose of forgetting their current troubles.

But before you go get drunk to forget your troubles, ask the guy in AA why he stopped 24 years ago.

 

2 – Stick up for the little guy (31:8-9)

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak, for the legal rights of all the dying. Open your mouth, judge in righteousness, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

This is a recurring theme in God’s Word. In the Old Testament Law, he set up very specific guidelines for taking care of “the poor and needy” (Leviticus 19:9-10) and the prophets took up the cause as well (Isaiah 1:17). The apostles practiced it in the early days of the church (Acts 4:34-35), and Paul commanded that it continue to be done through the church (1 Timothy 5:3-16). James even went so far to say that is the true meaning and purpose of religion as far as God is concerned (James 1:27).

What are you doing to stick up for the little guy? Need some ideas? Check out Hope Ministries and see how you can volunteer.

 

3 – Marry wisely (31:10-31)

Here’s the section we all know and love. Let’s spend some time together on it in my next post.