Friday, November 7, 2008

Hard Words for Hard Times

First in a Series

Normally I would be participating in "Friday Fiction" today, but I'm not doing that this week. For one thing, I ran out of pre-written fiction articles, and I didn't write a new one. But that's minor.

Mostly I'm just not in a fictional frame of mind.

This isn't a political blog, and I won't let it become one. Even yesterday's post wasn't primarily political. It was mostly about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Already it has become by far my most read article - in the past few days it has been accessed over 4 times more than the 2nd most read article, and readers have been emailing links to it to various points around globe. That tells me that a lot of people aren't in a fictional mood either. And I hope it means that a lot of people want to look at this presidential election in a way that brings us closer to God.

God-centeredness. That's what it's all about.

Now, this may sound like an unrelated topic, but hear me out. Last night I was with my Small Group, watching The Truth Project. The episode (if you want to call it that) was "Science, Part 2."

It was glorious.

I sat entranced as I watched the inner workings of a cell, and the only word that kept coming to mind was, "GLORY!" I wanted to burst out in praise of the Creator right there. It is inconceivable to me that anyone can see this level of complexity at a microscopic level and deny God. Not only that, but it makes me a little bit angry.

He deserves the glory for what He has done!

Imagine if you had been a close personal friend of the great Michelangelo. Think how you would Michelangelo's DavidImage by Robert Scarth via Flickrfeel at the unveiling of his masterpiece, "David." Now imagine standing there, bursting with joy for your friend and exulting in what he had accomplished, when two strangers walk up beside you. One points to the statue and says to the other, "Look, isn't it amazing what years of wind and rain did to that giant slab of marble? It looks like a person!" First of all, you wouldn't be able to believe their stupidity, and secondly, you'd be angry on behalf of your friend (especially if you told the strangers that the statue had been sculpted by someone, and that you personally knew the creator, and they refused to believe you).

The greatest human minds cannot create even a minuscule approximation of God's handiwork, and yet they have the gall to say that His work could be made by nothing at all. What an insult!

And yet there is another way to insult God, and perhaps it's even worse.

It is a greater insult to acknowledge Him with the mouth, but deny Him with the life.

Those who deny His existence do not cast His character in a negative light by their own actions. But when people (or when nations) name the name of Christ and live like the Devil, they throw mud on His reputation.

America has thrown enough mud on Him to cover the continent a thousand miles deep. Have you heard what the president of Iran has said about Christ because he believes that America is a Christian nation? He said (I paraphrase), "The followers of Jesus walk around half naked, but Allah's followers are modest."

The nations blaspheme because of us (Rom. 2:24).

We American Christians need to get our thinking straight on this subject. Because the way we "do Christianity" in this country has helped to bring us to the grave situation we find ourselves in today.

- We insult God when act as if we can and should expect unregenerate people in our society to live just like those who have been born again by God's Spirit.

-We insult God when we insist that our nation must officially talk the Christian talk even though it doesn't walk the Christian walk.

-We insult God when we cheapen His grace into an excuse for sinning, pampering our own favorite iniquities while yelling at our society for committing sins that are on our lists of pet peeves.

(There will be more on each of those points in future entries.)

We speak of God judging America, and I believe that is happening. But let's remember where God's judgment always begins.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1Pe 4:17)

And what does Paul tell us we can do when we realize we are undergoing judgment?

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1Co 11:31-32)

May God in His mercy show us our sin and grant us repentance (2 Tim. 2:25) as we seek His face in humility. And then let us heed the wise counsel of the prophet Hosea:

Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. (Hos 6:1)


Esthermay said...

You bring up so many good points.

As far as God judging America -- and in the same breath labeling America "Christian" -- we are ripe to be judged.

And if you look at the subset of professing Christians in our nation, we are probably even more ready to be judged. Because we [should] know better.

I grew up understanding that there were three kinds of people: Natural, Carnal and Spiritual. Natural, of course being the unsaved person and the Spiritual being the Christian surrendered to Christ, allowing Christ to be on the throne. Then you have the Carnal person: That's the "Christian" who still has SELF on the throne. Sadly, this defines a great many Christians today. We've whole denominations that "accept" Jesus as Savior, but not as LORD. People who don't want to go to hell, but they don't want the Lord to rule their lives. They still want their "best life now..." Only God can judge a heart - but you've got to wonder. Are they really saved?

And the sad part is most evangelical churches support this.

There are so many examples:
1) It is a rare church that follows any Scriptural guidelines for confronting sin among church members.
2)There are mainstream churches that refuse to display the Cross of Christ because leaders are afraid the Cross will offend and turn people away.
3) There are churches whose doctrine includes EXcluding certain portions of Scripture (e.g. ROMANS!!!!)
Good Grief!
Bottom Line: Churches need to get back to preaching God's Word AS WRITTEN and quit-it with feel-good sermons that don't confront.

Lacking this, even the subset of Christians in this country deserve God's wrath.

Good Grief! Sometimes I scare myself.
I won't need to put anything on my own blog now. I'll just direct people to your comment page.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate so much this post. We in America have no idea of Christianity. We are at ease, not an army ready for battle, not good soliders but we are at ease-amusing ourselves to death. Doing what is right in my own eyes(Judges 21:25)!

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