The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

American Excuses Rather than Repentance

When you begin to call people to give their allegiance to God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, rather than to man’s kingdom and man’s agendas, many invariably push back with excuses.

Here are some excuses I received in a letter yesterday from a Baptist pastor. I have reworded these arguments slightly to give better coherence to them, but I believe I have maintained the author’s intent.  The words in brackets are mine.

  • “The Judeo-Christian principles this nation was founded on are worth fighting for [with weapons or civil war if necessary] until the day they strip it all away.”
  • “The righteous lost the gift of freedom because they allowed the unrighteous to rule.” [Implying that if we can replace our rulers with “the righteous”  either by vote or by force, we will win back our freedom and all will be well.]
  • “In the Old Testament, God did not frown upon righteous and sincere people defending their property and family, and I believe I am justified even in sending an unsaved to person to hell with a bullet if necessary.”
  • “I believe I am justified to rage against a communistic/socialistic society that depresses me politically and spiritually.”

I have posted my response below.

Dear —-,

I used to think like you currently do, but my heart has changed. I believe Jesus has changed it. There are many Scriptures that changed my heart and mind when I accepted them by faith. The Sermon on the Mount, for example.

You say “the idea held by the founding fathers…is worth fighting for.” By fighting, I think you mean fighting against flesh and blood with carnal weapons in order to hold onto things that are temporal. I am sure you already know the Scriptures I am alluding to (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 2 Cor. 4:18; Matt. 6:19-21). 

I personally find it ironic that so many people say America became great due to Christian principles, yet think the way back to greatness is by setting Christian principles aside and fighting for our rights with instruments of death. We are like Peter wildly swinging the sword and telling the Lord “This shall never happen to you.” We have in mind the things of men rather than the things of God. 

We are apparently to love our enemies only when we have nothing to lose. 

Likewise, when we want the grace of God to cover our sin, we elevate the New Covenant to the exclusion of the Old [thinking, wrongly, that New Testament grace allows for continuation in sin], but we do not wish to extend that concept of grace to others. When our personal rights are being threatened, we return to the Old Testament to justify what really boils down to a preoccupation with what we think we are owed.  We conveniently  claim that Jesus’ New Covenantcommand to love our enemies does not apply to our particular situation.

We did not lose America because we accidentally let the wrong person get in office. We lost America by our own gradual erosion of faithfulness to God, beginning in our hearts, our homes, and our churches. 

Christians began to love the creation more than the Creator. They wanted more and more “stuff” and they celebrated their “stuff” and they called it “the blessing of God.” And they failed to teach their children to love God with all their hearts, and they put idols before their children and led them in idolatry. And when wickedness began to multiply in churches and homes, they swept it under the carpet and imagined a God who is blinded by a one-time profession of faith and “cannot see my sin.” They preached this false view of God until almost the whole country of America thought they were Christians while living in the most abject rebellion against God. 

And it has continued to this day, and there has not been wide-scale repentance. Because the show must go on. 

Churches have bills to pay, and we must have offerings to pay them. So we have to preach what tickles the ears of the people or they will stop paying our bills. The people love their sin, so we must preach a God who doesn’t mind sin and in fact expects them to sin. The repentance God requires is all mental; it means nothing (according to them.) When Jesus said take up your cross and follow me, He only meant a select few who want “more blessing”–the great majority who enter the Kingdom of God will continue to live for themselves and their own agendas, and God doesn’t mind their double-mindedness (according to them). 

It is all a lie, and to this day we continue to have deceived pew-warmers who give God lip-service but their hearts are far from Him. Their hearts are with their television images, and their vacation packages, and their “rights.” They will kill others if they are threatened because they love what they have more than they love God and their neighbor, and because they reject the teachings of the Messiah they claim to follow. 

This may seem a harsh denunciation, but I believe God’s heart is not in patriotism one iota. He is not an American. He did not die to give us freedom to run a business or money to buy a horse; He died to give us freedom from sin and the death it brings, and He commissioned those who obey the gospel to take it to every nation. Most professing Christians admit that wickedness has grown like out-of-control leaven in this society, but few will take personal responsibility. Few will pray like Daniel (chapter 9). We want our government to repent, but we don’t want to clean house at home or in our churches. 

I understand people’s fears and their default to self-protection. Followers of Jesus are called to self-denial and promised affliction; but that’s not all–they are also given a hope that poverty, slavery, and even death cannot quench. They belong to an eternal kingdom and they seek that heavenly country whose builder and maker is God, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. 

They do not rage against authorities, and they are not depressed. Paul considered himself a “prisoner of the Lord” and kept right on joyfully working until a wicked secular government put him to death. They know they are here to be witnesses to the enemies of God, and they will live and not die until their work is completed. They know how to abound and how to be abased, and how to be content in all circumstances. Their happiness is not dependent on whether they are slave or “free,” or whether they have attained the “American dream” or not. They know they are set to defend the gospel, not a piece of land or some supposed “right.”

I know I may not persuade you in a post. But I do ask that you continue to seek God’s heart on this subject, because I’m convinced the patriotism we have received has come to us by man’s tradition rather than by God’s Spirit. And although many denominations encourage it, that doesn’t make it pleasing to God. 

I believe many who think they are serving God have actually defected to serve the kingdoms of men. Their motivations are diverse–some wish to defend their rights, some wish to protect their stuff, some are just following the rhetoric of others and being frenzied with the multitude, and some don’t have a real allegiance to Jesus or His kingdom, but only follow Him where it is convenient for them.

See also “Proudly Armed Christians or Humble, Cross-Carrying Disciples”and “Man’s Kingdom vs. God’s Kingdom” and “Do Christians Love Guns by Andrew Strom”

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