“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” – Romans 1:28
Neither of the two political parties in our beloved USA can fix our problem. The evils in our society are not foundationally political. They may be evidenced in our political struggles (i.e. abortion, racism, class struggles), but those things are only results of the actual problem. The sooner that church leaders and those in their pews realize this, the sooner we may make an impact – unless we, as a society, are too far-gone.
I won’t pull any punches here. America is under God’s judgment. The only alternative to that statement is that Romans 1 isn’t true…and that’s not a viable alternative. Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) is abundantly clear. When a society has been completely turned over by God to judgment, that society has these characteristics – “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31). It’s impossible to look at our society and not see those traits completely dominating it.
This description by Paul isn’t without context. He begins by describing the progression of a society as judgment begins. The first step of a society towards judgment is suppressing the truth about God (Romans 1:18). Though humanists (whether devout liberals or conservatives) declare that belief in God holds a society back, the opposite is actually the truth. It’s impossible to evaluate American society and believe we are somehow better (with perhaps a couple of exceptions) than we were 60 years ago. We are daily consumed with the sins mentioned in the previous paragraph. We have forsaken God and we have forsaken the worship and morality that He demands. Consequently, we are experiencing His wrath.
Such a humanistic attitude brings judgment. This has been the case in all of human history. The United States will not escape such judgment any more than any other country has. “The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). That verse describes us and announces our sure end. We are guilty. And, we are paying the consequences of our guilt.
But God metes out this judgment in stages. In stage one, God gives up a society “in the lusts of their heart to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…” (Romans 1:24). The “free love” movement of the 60’s and 70’s can certainly be defined this way. All decency and morality was tossed out the window during that period of our nation’s history. Understand, such people didn’t bring the judgment of God, they were the judgment of God.
The second stage brings homosexual acceptation and approval. In this stage of judgment, God gives up a people “to dishonorable passions.” Women exchange the natural affection for men with unnatural affection for women (Romans 1:26). Likewise, men give up the natural affection for women and commit “shameless acts with men” (Romans 1:27). Clearly, a “free love” movement opens this door for this second stage of wrath. However, these are two separate acts of judgment by our holy and righteous God.
It may seem out of chronological order for us, but the actions we see today – “all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice…envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness…gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” – these represent the last stage of God’s judgment on a wicked people group. This is the stage when God has completely turned a society over to “a debased mind.” If this is true (and it is), America is either near the point of no return or looking back at it. And again, if we believe Romans 1 is true, there simply is no denying this.
Yesterday, we all watched the television as the 18th school shooting of 2018 occurred in Parkland, Florida as a former student entered the school and brutally murdered 17 students while injuring even more. Today, politicians (both official politicians and unofficial “social media” politicians) are arguing gun control. And without question, these questions do need to be answered. But such debate actually ignores the real problem. Our problems relate to our sin…our rejection of God. As a society, we must repent or pay the consequences. These school shootings are merely the result of God’s judgment on our society. We can expect more of the same unless we, as a society, repent.
This begs the question, “How are we, as Bible believing Christians, to address such problems?” First, pray for those families that were affected by this horrible tragedy. Those of us watching from this side of a television set cannot imagine what they are all going through. Secondly, we need to believe what the Bible has to say about our society. All of us are sentimental when it comes to American patriotism. Conservatives and liberals alike are rooting for the US to win gold medals in this year’s Olympic games. But, we cannot allow our eyes to be so glazed with patriotism that we miss the obvious truth that God’s Word declares us to be under His judgment – for our sin…for our rejection of Him. However, realizing this isn’t enough. There must be a response – a Biblical response. We find such a Biblical response in the same chapter we have been studying – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17). And, it is following this declaration that Paul begins his explanation of what God’s wrath on an evil society looks like – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18). Paul’s motivation for preaching the Gospel was the obvious manifestation of God’s wrath against sinful societies.
Child of God, accept the fact that our beloved country is under God’s wrath. No amount of political involvement is going to change that. That said, mankind has always been depraved. 1st century Rome was evil just like 2018 America is evil. We just sin differently than they did. But, the proper response from God’s children was the same then as it is now – preach the Gospel. It remains mankind’s only hope for real change. As a society, we may be too far-gone – I don’t know. However, if there is any hope whatsoever for America, it will only be gained by national repentance for our sins and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May our pulpits reflect this glorious truth in the weeks, months and years to come!
Todd Bryant is the Lead Elder at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. He has pastored there since 1998. For more more information on the church and links to audio sermons and apps for electronic devices, visit www.sovereigngrace.net