We've TRIED to "work within the system..."
God's Offer of Reprieve
The reason the culture has contempt for God is because the Christians do.
September 29, 2006
Jeremiah gives us a view of one of the darkest time in ancient Israel. Hezekiah had been a good king, but his son Manasseh filled Jerusalem with blood from one end to the other. Now Zedekiah was king, and the Babylonians were coming to destroy Jerusalem. In chapter 17 at verse 4, God told His people that they had kindled a fire in His anger that would burn forever.
They should have been terrified!
Of interest is God's offer of forgiveness which, unfortunately, they did not accept. God clearly said that if they would just obey the 4th Commandment, which they had been flagrantly violating, he would restore their city and it would remain forever (Jer. 17:19-25). His counsel to them was to observe the Sabbath.
Unfortunately, they chose to believe their false prophets who continually reassured them that God loved them and had a wonderful plan for their lives. As you may know, Jeremiah wound up in prison for his dire prophecies. The Babylonians triumphed over the Jews, and Jerusalem was destroyed.
All is not well in America, as you may have noticed. The federal government seems to think it owns you, me, and everything else in the country. They can raise tax rates, harvest property, and dispose of people as they see fit. They can send our sons and daughters off to war to fight "terror" when they manufactured or made up every excuse for conflict. Our newpapers and newscasts are full of lies and disinformation. The law is perverted to protect those who slaughter over a million innocent babies every year. Healthcare facilities now offer "benign neglect" as an option; seriously injured or seriously ill patients are left to starve to death. Direct and indirect taxes now siphon off almost half of every dollar earned by working people in this country.
And on ... and on.
Look, we've TRIED to "work within the system." We've tried to elect better people, we've written letters to our "representatives," some of us have even filed lawsuits, at considerable expense, to try to straighten out the government and punish some of the miscreants therein. My conclusion is that we are appealing to the wrong level of government. Or, as Solzhenitsyn observed in Russia, "We have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."
Matthew 28:18 records Jesus' words that ALL authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him. Jesus is the one with whom we have to deal. He sets up and destroys kingdoms. He exalts and abases leaders. He is the One we claim to love and serve. And He has already told us that if we really love Him, we will keep His commandments.
I don't believe in salvation by law-keeping, but this isn't a salvation issue. We can't, as God's people, continue to wallow in our wicked ways and expect that God will reciprocate with national healing. The fact is, we have earned a trip to the wood shed and, truth be told, the civil government under which we suffer is probably better than the one we actually deserve.
WE ARE UNDER JUDGMENT. Things will continue to get worse until we repent. Do we want to suffer for 70 or 80 years like the Russians did, with monsters like Stalin and Khrushchev at the helm? Do we want a Mao Tse-Tung or Ceausescu established as a national dictator? Because that is EXACTLY WHERE WE'RE HEADED, unless we repent.
Fortunately, repentance is still an option. God has given us a moral law, and He properly expects everyone under His authority to abide by it. The death of Christ didn't make any of it obsolete, and we don't seem to have any problem accepting the validity of "thou shalt not kill," "thou shalt not steal," and "thou shalt not commit adultery," or any of the others .... except one. And according to James 2:10, obeying only 90% of the law is the same as breaking 100% of it.
God's moral law says that we are to observe the Sabbath. In fact, if you look up the Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:12-15) you will see that the law regarding the Sabbath gets more ink than any other. We are positively commanded by God Himself to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, to do no servile work, and to commemorate His mighty acts of creation and deliverance.
As we know, the ancient Israelites had other ideas, and Pharisaical legalism took deep root in the observance of the Sabbath. Paul's letters corrected those errors. But it was not Paul's intention to remove Sabbath-keeping from the law. Our Sabbath is Christ. We are to rest in Him. Further, we are to commemorate, and attribute to Him the glory due for His mighty acts of creation.
The culture, of course, has other ideas. Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the day set aside for yard work, cleaning the garage, shopping ... we tend to do more "heavy lifting" on Saturday than we do on any other day. The reason the culture has contempt for the idea of a created world is because the Christians do.
I believe in God's justice, and also His mercy. I think that wholesale, sea-to-shining-sea repentance (such as happened in Nineveh during the ministry of Jonah) is extremely unlikely. But I also believe that God will preserve an obedient remnant - those whose hearts are set on pleasing and obeying Him.
I will leave it up to your own study and conscience to decide whether God has instituted a "Christian Sabbath" on Sunday (the first day of the week) to replace the biblical Sabbath. I have my doubts, but I don't think we observe Sunday as a sabbath anyway. "Observe the Sabbath" is not synonymous with "go to a religious meeting." In many churches, "worship" consists of Christianized rock and roll music followed by a pep talk on how to have a better life, based on a few scriptures and some pop psychology, mostly targeted on "seekers" or nominal believers. This isn't worship in the Biblical sense, nor is it commemoration.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
The reason the culture has contempt for God is because the Christians do. We seem to think we can pick and choose which of His commandments we will keep, and which ones we can safely ignore. We communicate to the culture that God is an all-embracing "sugar daddy" sort of chap who doesn't take sin all that seriously. If America goes into the dumpster, it will be OUR FAULT.
This is NOT a call for a return to Old Testament Sabbath-keeping, or an apologetic for legalism. We are free in Christ to obey Him from the heart, and to live out our love for Him as we delight in His law. However, we can still celebrate His creation; indeed, we are commanded to do so. We are to rest in Christ.
The stakes are high, and God is very serious about this. Many other countries have learned their lesson the hard way. Please, don't let it happen here.
UPDATE: The preceding was originally written over three years ago, when there was still a remote chance that the churches in America would turn from their wicked ways. I believe that national repentance will not occur and the judgment of God will be poured out on America. As Jeremiah's prophecies were borne out, no doubt those surviving Jews felt deep remorse. Alas! too late! Too late! Today — mid-April 2010 — it is now too late for America. Our hearts are still hardened and our reeking arrogance is a stench in God's nostrils.
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