In the deepest part of me I know that unless repentance comes to America, we will bitterly reap what we’ve sown.
As the Scripture foretells, “Evil men and seducers” are waxing “worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13). As Jesus told the Church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29), which was under the seduction of “Jezebel”: “I gave her space to repent ... and she repented not.” Also we find in Revelation 9:20 that men would not repent of their sins, and again in Revelation 16:9, blasphemers would not repent to give God glory.
This spirit of rebellion against God is rampant. The spirit of Antichrist is seething throughout the world (I John 3:1-3). We remember Jesus pleading with Jerusalem in Luke 13 to be gathered to Him, and they “would not.”
George McDonald writes, “Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give because He would give the best and man will not take it.”
Many of us are earnestly praying for the Holy Spirit to move, but we know, as in Romans 1:24 and 28, there comes a point where God “gives us up,” because of sin and rebellion, when the cup of His wrath is full.
Many of our leaders are bringing us down the road to destruction, partly due to the apathy and lack of discernment of many nonvoting (and voting!) Christians. We’re on the brink of an economic, moral and spiritual collapse.
The key to the heart of God, and to deliverance, writes Basilea Schlink, is “repentance.” This is a word no one wants to hear. It is rarely preached from the pulpit, and is resisted all the way.
It is true, according to Hebrews 6:1, that we are not to lay again the foundation of repentance from “dead,” or former works. Not so with present sins — with which we are laden. Contrary to the teaching that the Old Testament is not “relevant” for us, II Chronicles 7:14 holds the key. “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.”
But “judgment must begin at the house of God” (I Peter 4:17). The eyes of Jesus are upon His Church, for which He shed His Blood and died. What will it take for the Church to repent and be purified, to be “holiness unto the Lord” — and salt and light to the world?
We can hardly imagine the downfall of our great country. And yet, sin has so weakened us, even Russia taunts our godlessness.
Scripture shows sometimes God will use unlikely tools for His purposes. We recall how God delivered Israel into the hands of the Philistines and later the Babylonians. This was due to Israel’s backslidden condition. God save us from the same destiny.
Much of Christendom bemoans our country’s condition, but few Christians are willing to “toe the mark” themselves. I can’t help but think that, if Stephen were alive today, he’d say to us what he said to the religious people of his day, “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51).
Bill Johnson, author of “When Heaven Invades Earth,” writes “For most churches, very little of what we do is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. If He were not to show up, most churches would never miss Him.”
The Rev. Billy Graham is credited with saying, “95 percent of today’s church activities would continue if the Holy Spirit were removed from us. In the early Church, 95 percent of all her activities would have stopped if the Holy Spirit were removed.”
As never before, we need to pray for the Spirit of repentance to fall upon us, that we’d share the very heart of God for this “evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39). His loving message is clear: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
The Rev. Jon Van Vogt is pastor of the Flour Mill Fellowship and director of the Pataha Flour Mill near Pomeroy. He is also pastor of SonRise Church in Clarkston, Wash. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 509-951-5351.