What We Who Know Jesus Can Have In the Midst of Today's America: Part 3 in the series 'America: Cause for our Decline and a Clarion Call for Christians'

For those of us who know God and His life-giving Word, the moral decline in our nation should not surprise us. We know that Jesus is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14:6); abundant life, as well as eternal life, is found in Him, and in Him alone. Therefore, when we-- as individuals or as a nation-- forsake Him, we will lose our way; we will fall into the trap of deception; and we will reap destruction and death. If bible reading was the centerpiece of family life and still allowed in our public schools as previously was the case in our nation’s history, there might be a greater understanding that what we are experiencing today as a nation can be summed up in this verse from Isaiah 59:14:

Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.”  ESV

We can be assured that what is going on in our culture has not caught God by surprise. He is still Sovereign, and He is still full of love for us whom He created and gave His life to save! Yes, our rebellion against Him and His perfect ways grieves Him, but it does not surprise Him. He warns us over and over again in His Word of what will happen when we choose to forsake Him and choose to ‘do what is right in our own eyes’ instead of following the commands He gave to us for our good. The consequences of our sin of going against God and His will are designed to cause us to despair so we will realize our depravity without Him, and return to Him Who alone is able to deliver us out of our misery.

Like a loving earthly father who first instructs, then repeatedly warns his disobedient child, and finally takes an ‘arms off’ approach to his child’s rebellion in hopes that the child will come to his senses because of the misery he creates for himself, God allows us to experience the consequences of our sin and rebellion, wanting us to repent—to change our ways. God promises to heal our land IF we who are His children will humble ourselves; seek after Him; pray; and turn away from our sin and follow in His way.

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 ESV

The good news is that in the midst of the chaos that we have created for ourselves, we who know Jesus can have understanding, peace, hope, and joy.

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Understanding:

God’s word tells us over and over again what will happen to the nation that turns away from God, which is exactly what America has done. We can know that we are reaping what we have sown (Galatians 6:7-8), and we can understand not only the root cause of our nation’s problem—but know that the remedy is to be found only in our returning to Him.

For instance, we can know that choosing to deny the truth that God created us in His image is at the root of why so many Americans lead purposeless, despairing lives. When we as a nation chose to replace the teaching of creationism with the theory of evolution, we chose to ignore the truth that our life has meaning and purpose that has been given to us by God, the One Who created us in His image. Our purpose is derived from our relationship with God and it is for His pleasure and glory that we were created (Isaiah 43:7). The epidemic number of people experiencing confusion, anxiety, and depression; drug, alcohol, pornography and other forms of addiction; as well as the increasing number of people—especially youth—committing suicide is directly correlated with people not understanding that they are ‘uniquely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) with a divine purpose.  We have been deceived into thinking our lives have no intrinsic value, are our own, and that we can make our own rules for living without being held accountable to Our Creator, a holy and loving God, for our choices.

However, we who have become His children by putting our faith in Him can know that our lives are significant and of immeasurable value to God; God loved us so much that He gave His beloved Son Jesus to die the death we deserved. When we doubt whether our life is valuable or special, we can consider Jesus' outstretched arms on the cross and we will be reminded that Jesus loved us so much that He gave His very life for us! We also can delight in knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for all of His creation and that He is in control, even when things around us appear to be spinning out of control. As it has been said, things are not falling apart, they are coming together just as God foretold in His Word. We can understand that what is transpiring in the world today is precisely what God warns is going to happen during the latter days.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…2nd Timothy3: 1-4 ESV

 We also know from God’s Word that God’s wrath will be made manifest when we choose to walk in deception rather than choose to believe what God has clearly revealed to us through His creation all around us, through His Word, and by His sending us His Son—the Living Word—to atone for our sin.For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools…Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:18-23a; 24-25 ESV

So what is going on in America today should not surprise us, but it most definitely should grieve us! We are bearing the fruit of our sin as a nation that has turned away from God, and the fruit of the sin of God’s Church Body that has been more influenced by our culture than it has been an influence to transform our culture. We can also have understanding regarding what our role as His children is in this ‘wicked and perverse generation’. We have been called-- and through the power of the Holy Spirit equipped—to be ‘salt and light’, to ‘let our light so shine before men so that they will see our good deeds and give gory to our Father in heaven’, and to declare His praises. (Matthew 5:13-14; 1st Peter 2:9)

Peace, Hope and Joy

For those of us who are His children (John 1:12), we can have hope and joy in the midst of the trials and tribulations in this world.

Jesus told us:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] John 16:33 AMP

Since God foretold that these days would be upon us, we can also rejoice, knowing that everything that is going on proves the validity of God’s Word and reaffirms that He is ‘the ‘Alpha and Omega’ Who knew these days would come upon us. (Revelation 22:13) He Who has spoken the truth to us about these days has also promised that He will come again in all of His glory to take home to Heaven all of those who have put their faith in Him! May we all be found faithful until we see Him ‘face to face’!

 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20