As America celebrates birthday #245 this weekend, our nation may not yet be as depraved and degenerate as first century Rome, but we’re headed there in a hurry. Talk about a toxic environment for faith, with increasing persecution and ridicule. Paul wrote this when speaking of the Roman culture of his day and the many who gave mere lip service to the Christian faith, “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18,19)
Their glory is in their shame. People glory/boast/rejoice in shameful things. They did back then. They do now. And folks, I’m not speaking only about the “rainbowing” of America. How shameful, by the way, to take one of God’s great natural symbols, the rainbow – a promise of God’s protection, and use it for something directly opposed to the truth of God’s Word.
There is increasing incivility on every side of the aisle. There is wholehearted acceptance of a lack of character as long as we can win at politics; whatever it takes. Everyone’s demanding rights, but no one wants to take responsibility. Toward the end of Romans 1, Paul mentions about two dozen different sins, all across the spectrum of the Ten Commandments, and says, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death—they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)
There’s been a lot of that in America for a long time: applauding sin, glorying in the shame of sin, rebelling against God and his Word with a collective middle finger, as well as shaming those who hold to what God says.
So what is God doing right now? Is he cowering in a corner somewhere saying, “Oh, no. I’m losing North America! What am I going to do?” Quite the opposite – he continues to rule and guide all things for his gracious purposes. And he encourages his people/us with his Word and promises like these:
“This is love…God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10) “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16) “Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Life for the Christian isn’t about “rights” or “freedom” to do whatever I want to do (at least until I get caught). It’s about love. Love shown to us by God’s grace in Christ. Love shown through us to those around us.
May your 4th be truly blessed! Enjoy God’s blessings, praise him for them, and be sure to share the greatest gift: God’s love in Christ. And may God continue to pour his undeserved grace and blessing upon our nation.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand