This last week five of the nine Supreme Court Justices of the United States decreed that the U.S. Constitution does not legally prevent men from marrying men, and women from marrying women. Not being a constitutional lawyer, I am not qualified to speak to the legalities of the matter or the nuances and principles hidden within the language of our nations preeminent legal document. The end result therefore, is as one writer put it, stating that “genderless marriage” has legal protection under the law; which sets the legal stage for a society that increasingly welcomes the idea that gender is just a matter of personal choice. Now in reality there is no such thing as same-sex marriage. While it does not actually exist, there is a legal pretension that it does. When I speak of same-sex marriage I am speaking of that legal notion, not any real existence of it.
All of this leaves the Bible believing Christian with frustrated feelings, mangled emotions, and almost speechless exasperation. Our immediate tendency is to think that we are now getting ready for the judgment of God to fall upon America. There seems to be an almost palpable feeling that we are waiting for the divine shoes to drop. Are we waiting for another massive terror attack? Should we be anticipating the Grandmother of all earthquakes? Will we suffer a surprise attack and attempted invasion by another country? Is God going to crash our economy and send us into deep poverty? Will there be some unstoppable plague? What about a Cataclysmic disaster? Yellowstone’s super-volcano maybe? Not to mention the possibility of catastrophic climate chaos. We could go on with imaginative ways that God could and might send His divine wrath upon a people so bent on ridding their world of His presence, His principles, and His promises. He certainly has good reason to, and we would be double foolish to think He couldn’t, or worse to think Him wrong if He did. The culture of our country is certainly fattening itself for the slaughter.
He may very well be getting ready to send down the thunder, the people of our nation have certainly asked for it, and I’ll never say He won’t. However, Biblically speaking, we need not wait for further judgment until we recognize that what is happening within this culture is in fact already a divine judgment. There is no longer any point in wondering if God is going to do something to us, He already is, and the homosexual revolution is it.
In the days of Jeremiah when Israel was being judged, and before Jerusalem was being besieged, the weeping prophet cried, “O LORD . . . thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” (Jeremiah 5:3) Isaiah the prophet also underscored a people who failed to see God’s judging hand, and respond to it when he said, “For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.” I said that to say this . . . it is imperative for any culture, any people to recognize God’s judgment in their land, and respond to it, and when we take the current status of our culture and lay it under the microscope of scripture we cannot help but see that our present condition is in fact a result of the divine judgment of Almighty God.
Where do we see that and how can we know it? I’m glad you asked.
When we turn to our Bibles to learn how God deals with people we find an abundance of ways that God judged cultures, countries, and nations. There are two however, that stand out to us when we look at where we are, and what is going on. One is a parallel example between the United States and the Nation of Israel; and the second is an outright declaration of how God handles a heartless people who refuse to receive His Word.
When we look at what God said about the nation of Israel in Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5 we cannot help but notice the same digression of protection in our own country that has taken place over the last generation. In the parable of the vineyard, the prophet Isaiah speaks of how God removed His hedge of divine protection from His chosen nation. He said in Isaiah 5:4-6 – “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” What God did to Israel was very simple, He stopped protecting, pruning and providing for her. When He did, like an unkempt garden, the wild animals came in to eat it up, the briers and thistles rose from the grassroots to choke it out, roaming strangers began to take ownership of the land, and to add to that, “He” stopped the rain.
Psalm 80:12 speaking of Israel as God’s vineyard wrote, “Why hast thou broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.” In the last generation we have seen China a nation hostile to our God and our values, run rough shod through our great economic industries, buying up our lands, and businesses. We now financially live at their mercy as they hold the note on the U.S. government. They have military capabilities now that scare us to death . . . why? Because they got them from us? They have “plucked our” land financially, militarily and if the current news scandals are true, they have plucked our land politically. We wake up each day to new terror attacks in other places of the world yes, but we also wake up seemingly each day to new terror threats on our own soil. We remember the attacks on our own soil starting back in 93 with the first attack on the WTC. Then we can go down the list, Oklahoma City, 9/11, (both of them – 01 and Benghazi) the Boston Marathon and Fort Hood, Texas, to list a few. According to the Cato Institute an article edited by John Mueller, “http://politicalscience.osu.edu/faculty/jmueller//since.html”, since 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, our country has been targeted for terrorism 61 times in the last 14 years. Thankfully they were not all successful; yet the wild boars keep running through the vineyard.
The briers and thistles of secular humanism, socialism, and militant atheism have reached heights of influence unprecedented in the history of our nation. Though they have always been here, they have never been so influential in our culture as they are now. The weeds of the godlessness are taller than the vines of fruitfulness, and cover the landscape like kudzu.
We are no longer a pruned and nurtured people. The church that Christ established as a pillar and ground of truth for people to be nourished is seeing less and less attendance, but more importantly less and less repentance. As a friend of mine once said, “People no longer repent, they change churches.” When confronted with sin in their lives, it seems that on the whole one of two things usually happen, . . . they fire the preacher, or the leave the church. (I am thankful that I have never experienced this at the church that I pastor.) There are plenty of preachers out there that will gladly make the culture feel good on their way to an eternal death. You no longer have to drive to Houston to learn how to smile big and hold your Bible high, you can do that now in record numbers of religious clubs with steeples on top of them.
All of that being said what the Lord did to Israel parallel’s the recent history of what is happening to America; protection, provision, and pruning seeming to be vanishing, if they have not already vanished.
The second passage of scripture, and the most pointed passage of scripture that explains to us what divine judgment looks like on a society is the famous chapter of Romans 1:18-32. As Adrian Rogers used to say, this is black ink on white paper so it should be impossible to miss.
In Romans 1:18, the Apostle identifies for us a people that the Lord makes a divine decision about, and then he delineates what those divine decisions are. In that verse he tells us that “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” In other words, God’s wrath can be clearly seen on a people who suppress the truth defined by God. Throughout the rest of the chapter the Bible pictures for us three things that are actions of the wrath of God on a rebellious people.
1.) “God gave them up to uncleanness” – verse 24. The first action a wrathful God takes on a people who suppress his truth is to turn them loose to the uncleanness they so desperately want. Solomon understood this fact in Proverbs 1:29-31 when he stated, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” The uncleanness that he describes in verse 24 and 25 speaks of indulgence of the flesh, and idolatry of nature. As Paul said they are given up to “dishonor their own bodies” and “worship the creature more than the Creator.” It is almost as though Paul was taking a picture of the Woodstock generation in which “free-love,” was the highest virtue, new drugs were the thinking man’s way out, and mother earth was the greatest deity. The generation that touted Peace, Love and Rock and Roll, got haircuts, bought suits, and gave us HIV, the EPA, and the ACLU. The generation that taught our country to dishonor their bodies with sex and drugs, has produced children and grandchildren (the ones they didn’t kill in their mother’s womb) that paint themselves like comic books, pierce themselves like pin-cushions, legalize marijuana, and vainly attempt to think they can legislate the control of the climate. Self-satisfaction and abortion on demand is the highest cause, saving whales, hugging trees, and refreezing the polar ice-caps make for the most honorable of morals in this generation. When God takes His hand off of a people, self and nature become the objects of their most passionate affection.
2.) “God gave them up to vile affections” – verse 26 The second fingerprint of God’s revealed wrath is that when He removes His restraining hand on man, not only do they engage in uncleanness, but they then embrace vile affections. To borrow from John MacArthur, what Paul described in verse 24 as a “sexual revolution” in verse 26 turns into a “homosexual revolution.” “Even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature, And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman being burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly . . .” When a culture refuses to hear what God says, God will give them what they want, and here is what they want. While they worship nature in verse 25, they defy even it in verse 26 and 27. The Bible calls homosexuality a “vile affection.” When we peel back the king’s English of those verses we find that a vile affection means a “disgraceful, shameful, or undignified passion or feeling.” Simply put this is the flesh unleashed! Man left on his own turns to himself to engage and embrace every itch of depravity that saturates his soul. What the Bible reveals to us here is the simple yet profound truth that when man with eyes wide open rejects God, God will with eyes wide open reject man, and leave him to himself. Friend, the only judgment more severe than that is hell itself.
3.) “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” – vs 28 The last fingerprint of judgment that Paul describes for us is the reprobate mind. Literally it is a non-functioning and useless mind. As Paul finishes the chapter he lists 21 different qualities of the man without a rightly functioning mind. “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 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.” There is not time to cover each and every quality . . . but it is enough to say here that the number 21 is fitting. Seven is the perfect number, three is the number of God, they are filled with unrighteousness meaning here is the fullness of their perfect defiance and rebellion against God. What does it yield? – Perfect insanity. A reprobate mind is completely insane, and beyond the capability of discerning divine truth.
While our culture has been irrational, unthinking, and morally bankrupt for a while, we are beginning to scratch the surface on reprobate minds. From the sensation over Bruce Jenner, to the circus of Rachel Dolezal, people are gaining acceptance and public praise for things that used to put a person in an institution. While these kinds of people have always existed, they have not always been paraded down main street like heroes, and praised like a superstar. Our culture is beginning to welcome the idea that your gender can be whatever you want it to be, your race can be whatever you want it to be, your spouse can be whatever you want them to be . . . in short we are a culture of gods who without God demand the right to create their own reality. More concisely put, we as a culture are going insane.
The fact of God’s wrath, and the facts of God’s wrath are spelled out for us in God’s divine word. We do not have to wonder, we only have to read it, and believe it. There is nothing more dangerous than seeing the judgment of God, and denying the judgment of God. To see it happening but not say it is happening is treason against the divine King.
I do not know what God will yet do, but when I place the things I see in our culture, next to the things He says in His scripture, I cannot help but see that we are one nation under judgment. Will there be more, that remains to be seen. For now however, it is incumbent on every child of God to obey 2 Chronicles 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.” That my friend is the only change that can be made. That change is the only change that changes anything, and it will change everything; for our time it is the change worth making.