Heal Our Land?
I received a broadcast email from one of the ministries I follow and the heading of the email was titled “Heal Our Land Prayer Campaign: Returning America to its Judeo-Christian Roots.”
The ministry rightly bemoans the fact that God-sanctioned marriage is under attack from all corners, especially gay activists who want to reimagine marriage to include unions between same sex partners. I believe they are correct when they argue “Instead of seeking to restore and strengthen marriages, politicians are trying to redefine what marriage means and to distance themselves from the Judeo-Christian heritage upon which this nation was founded.”
They also quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states, “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.”
They then list several bullets for which people can pray throughout the month of June and interestingly enough, June is recognized as Gay Pride month. (I’m still waiting to learn when heterosexuals will get the chance to show their pride in the way God has made us…).
The suggested method of prayer is:
- Pray for the Lord’s forgiveness on our nation and our churches for not honoring the sanctity of marriage as defined in His word
- Ask for the Lord to bless and protect the marriages and families in our churches, especially those of our leaders and pastors, that we may truly be an example to the world of godly living
- Ask the Lord to change the hearts of the leaders of this nation and that a fear of God may fall upon them that sees a return to Biblical principles in this nation
- Ask the Lord to bless your own marriage and to help you be a more godly spouse and parent
I can agree with all of them except the first one. God does not forgive “nations.” He forgives people. It can be stated that while I am not a person who believes in the principle of Dominionism, I do believe that as more people become authentic Christians, society will change. Even with that though, there will never be enough change within society.
In short, Dominionism is the belief that says Christians are to literally build God’s physical kingdom here on earth. This is to be done through supernatural change within people, which will then translate to all social institutions until such a time as Christ will be able to fully manifest Himself on earth.
I disagree with that. I believe – according to Revelation 21 – that God will create a new heavens and a new earth, once the Tribulation occurs, followed by the Millennial Reign of Jesus, followed by the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20). He’s not going to use this one at all. It will be destroyed.
So what does God want and expect us to do? Considering the fact that as I have previously stated, we are living behind enemy lines – in effect living in the midst of Satan’s kingdom while on assignment from God, though our citizenship is in Heaven – and as such, our job is to introduce as many people as possible to Jesus in order that they might receive the only salvation that is available to anyone. Time is short. In fact, if you consider the fact that the person you are talking to today may not be alive tomorrow, then we grasp some sense of the urgency involved.
Dominionism believes that God wants to save nations as well as people. The only nation I see God ever working in and through is Israel. God is supremely interested in the individual lives of people. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
To ask God to forgive our nation is, in my view, an exercise in futility. Why should God somehow forgive our nation, even if that were possible? It is not this nation that will be either sent to heaven or hell. That is reserved for the people residing within the nation of the United States.
At the same time, is God willing to forgive “churches for not honoring the sanctity of marriage as defined in His word“? It boils down to the people who lead those churches.
I think we can fool ourselves into thinking that God is concerned about our nation and if we can just get Him to forgive our nation corporately, then we’re good to go. The problem with that view is that no sooner would He forgive us (if possible), and we would be right back on the same trail of rebellion. People sin every day! They continue in their rebelliousness daily! Most people are not at all concerned about the fact that they are what Paul calls “the sons of disobedience,” (Ephesians 2:2; 5:6). It’s what they do and Paul makes it abundantly clear that this is exactly the way authentic Christians lived before they became Christians. The only thing that redirected us and put us on the right path was when we received His salvation, which made us authentic Christians!
While God can and has forgiven individuals of their individual sins (like those who crucified Him), this does not mean that they received salvation. When Steven was stoned to death in the book of Acts, his dying words were that God might not hold that particular sin (his murder) against those who were stoning him (cf. Acts 7).
I don’t recall where Jesus called for the forgiveness of Rome. I don’t see where Paul went from city to city, from municipality to municipality asking God to change that society’s tone or moral standard. Instead, both Jesus and Paul preached the gospel and that gospel is what changed people. Once they became born again, they generally stopped doing the things that they had once been involved in doing. At one point, conversions to Christianity were so large that one city burned everything connected with their previous pattern of idolatry (cf. Acts 19:19). But not everyone was convinced and soon the artisans who had created those icons of idolatry began to complain and a near-riot ensued, causing problems for Paul.
The fact of the matter is that God wants people saved. I’m not sure how He can forgive a nation, unless that nation is Israel. He doesn’t seem to work as He works with Israel with any other nation.
This is not to say that as authentic Christians, we should not be involved in the political process. We have the right to vote in America and certainly should take advantage of it. Yet, there are no guarantees there either. We cast our ballot and we leave it in God’s hands.
A good example of this is with Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election. In spite of the best efforts of the left, Walker remains governor, winning handily. This is also in spite of the alleged voter fraud where people were being bussed in from neighboring Michigan, according to one individual who managed to get on one of those buses.
I’m sure it had to do with a great many Christians praying that Walker would be allowed to remain as governor. If so, then God chose to answer the prayers of the saints in the affirmative. We don’t know why, because He could just have easily have said “no.” Certainly, when something like this happens, evil is slowed and the erosion of right takes longer to erode.
I am praying that God will give us a president this November who supports Israel. If He does, I believe we will benefit from that because of Genesis 12, 15, & 17 – God’s promise to Abraham about blessing those who bless him and cursing those who curse him (and the resultant nation that came from his loins).
Yet, ultimately, it appears as though God has a plan for this world which involves its final judgment and destruction. In that regard, I believe Dominionists are in error – that one day, Christians will – through the continued spreading of the gospel and the resultant change that occurs in society because of it – usher in Christ’s Kingdom.
I believe we need to pray that this nation’s leaders would turn to God. I believe they need to become authentic Christians. I believe we need to pray for the strength of marriages, especially among Christians. I believe we need to pray for all pastors, that God will show them their error where it exists and that they will have the courage to do what is right, according to God’s Word.
I cannot wrap my brain around the idea that we should pray that God will forgive our nation. I don’t see how He can because it is comprised of people who daily live in abject disobedience to His will.
What I do see and can understand is that in spite of all the reasons why God should destroy this earth and all the people living on it now, He does not because of His grace and His love. He continues to hold out His hands of welcome to all people. He wants everyone to turn to Him in repentance and to receive the only salvation that is available. He longs for this, but allows people to choose their own path.
I believe this is why He allows most people to live as long as they do. He wants them to have every possible chance of receiving His salvation before they leave this planet, entering into eternity where the die has been cast.
There is quite a bit that is under constant attack these days. This should not cause us confusion. If we consider the fact that Satan is still left in charge of this world (as he is rightly called the ruler of this age and the prince of the air), then it should clear up any possible misgivings or confusion about God’s intents for this planet.
I’ve said it before and will say it again. We are behind enemy lines and our job is to introduce as many people as we can to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who embrace the truth of salvation will be taken out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness into God’s Kingdom of Light.
We could have a relatively perfect nation and there would be plenty of people who still need Jesus. Having a nation that appeared to be morally upright might give us the wrong conclusion that most are saved.
I lived in rural Georgia, having relocated here with my family from California. What is interesting to me is how many churches there are everywhere you look. One road boasts over 15 churches in just a few miles. I mentioned that to my pastor and he informed me that even with that many churches, roughly 70 of the local population is stillunchurched.
This is the Bible belt. People have Bibles. Many go to church. People pray before their meals at public restaurants. People are not afraid to say – as you exit a store – “have a blessed day!” Yet, too many are still without Christ, dying in a world that is resolutely disobedient to God and the gospel.
Instead of worrying about how we can change the world, I think it is far more important to worry about how to get the gospel to those 70 percent who remain unchurched.
While doing what is right in society is very important, I think I am going to be expected to give an account of myself when I stand before Jesus at the Bema Seat of Christ. I want to be able to tell Him that while I did my civic duty, I was far more concerned about introducing as many people as I could to Him in order that they might receive salvation.
A nation cannot receive salvation (with the exception of national Israel; Romans 9-11). I nation is only represented by the millions of individual people within it. It is those people who need Jesus, not the nation itself.
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