Friday, July 5, 2013
In the Bible, the book of Romans deals with the subject of sin, declaring in Romans 14:12 that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
This is not a welcome thought, in this day of non-accountability, even in the Christian realm. While we are busy writing our own Bible, God is preparing judgments upon a country that has forsaken Him and upon Christians who have “left their first love” Revelation 2:4, and entered into a “form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (II Timothy 3:5).
Romans 3:10-18 describes our country as it has become, ending with “there is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Is this not the case today? In recent decisions and rulings by our leaders, we can see the progression of sin upon sin. Our leaders themselves admit these actions are “further steps” toward more “freedoms,” which in actuality are further steps to more ungodliness.
How our hearts ache to see how far we, as a nation, have gone from God.
Beginning in Romans 1, we are told that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” This is directed to those who, “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools ... wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves ... who changed the truth of God into a lie ... for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections ... and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind ... who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
What a picture of our society and culture today, and yes, even the Church. There is a line drawn, and a time that comes, when God gives us up.
How close are we to that point?
The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain, according to Romans 8:22, as we are on the threshold to the coming of Jesus, our beloved Lord. We are foretold in Matthew 24:37 that “as in the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” We know from II Tim. 3:13 that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
Because these are “perilous times,” according to II Timothy 3:1, we must focus our attention on our relationship with God, ccording to his word, and only his word. We are accountable to him for everything in our lives.
Oh, that America would turn and return to God, rather than to our computers, cellphones, government, music, theologies, doctrines or denominations. Repentance is the key word in this turning. The need today is the same as it was for the children of Israel in Jeremiah 3:12: “Go, and proclaim these words ... return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God. . .”
The prophet Joel cries “Turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.” Joel 2:12,13.
Likewise Isaiah pleads, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7)
There is yet hope for our country, if we will heed the words of II Chr. 7:14: “If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Oh, for preachers who will declare the word of the Lord, and call us back to Him.
The Rev. Jon Van Vogt is pastor of the Flour Mill Fellowship and director of the Pataha Flour Mill near Pomeroy. He is also pastor of SonRise Church in Clarkston, Wash. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 509-951-5351. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at email@example.com.