Romans 1:18-32

I knew when I began this blog where I wanted to go but I was a bit unsure of how I would get there. In researching this subject I was not prepared for what I found and my sense of direction is totally askew. We are a nation under attack but I am not so sure “nation under God” now or in the past is a proper tag line for the United States of America. I read an article written by Kenneth C. Davis, America’s True History of Religious Tolerance” which was published in the Smithsonian Magazine. I am one of many who have had my Christian tolerance challenged and have become indignant at the actions of certain people, groups and agenda driven social justice warriors whom I believe are destroying my country. I read the article through more than once even cross checked his dates and descriptions of the events written about…  The article was written in October 2010. Mr Davis believes that America has not been anything near a bastion of religious freedom and uses historical events of record to prove his point. I have always been God and country…now more than ever I am sadden by what is happening to my country and like many have been quick to point a finger at others. One of my favorite comic strips is Pogo, and the quote I remember most is “we have found the enemy and they is us”.

We learned in school that the Pilgrims came to America aboard the good ship Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. Soon after the Puritans followed. It is a fact that millions followed to experience the freedom that allowed them to be free to practice their own faith. Some of you may remember a radio personality Paul Harvey, an early Rush Limbaugh, who had as a segment of his broadcast…The Rest of The Story. Well, as it turns out it seems possible that the account of America’s tolerance of religious freedom, has a Rest of The Story of its own. Mr Davis referred to that narrative as an American myth. I recommend you read his article with an open mind…It changed the direction of my thinking about where to go with this blog. Here is that Url.

Let’s turn to scripture, Romans 1:18-32…In a previous passage Paul was addressing the truth about a relationship with God. A relationship entered into through faith, trust and living out God’s will in our lives. Paul now sets before us the wrath of God which men and women and their nation will face if they turn away from God. When we as a people refuse to worship God, adhere to his precepts and go off in other directions seeking to satisfy our own desires and allowing them to become our idols, we shall face the wrath of God. This thought or phrase one nation under God, implies we as a people and  a nation have a special relationship with God. I would say that the state of the nation and its people say just the opposite. What is our conception of that alarming and terrifying phrase? In early Old Testament writings God’s wrath is directed toward those we would call the covenant people. Those who had a special relationship with God. They were to be his chosen people and it would be so as long as they kept his Law.(Exodus 24:3-8) To put it simply, if anywhere in the nation the law was broken the relationship was severed and brought down God’s wrath. Also this relationship allowed for if another nation were to treat Israel with cruelty or injustice they would incur God’s wrath. As Paul speaks of the wrath of God, we must acknowledge that Jesus saves men and women from that very wrath. It is written many times in scripture that disobedience to God will ensure his wrath. Ezekiel was blunt and to the point… 18:4 Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.   Are we missing something? Consider this for just a moment. Suppose you live from the perspective there is really no God…but you choose to live as if there were, at the end of life you would have fared much better than if you simply accepted life as it were. If it is not God’s will what should we call it? One commentary states ‘There is a moral order in this world, and anyone who transgresses it sooner or later is bound to suffer.’ J. A. Froude, the great nineteenth-century historian, said: ‘One lesson, and one lesson only, history may be said to repeat with distinctness, that the world is built somehow on moral foundations, that, in the long run, it is well with the good, and, in the long run, it will be ill with the wicked.’

Could we conclude that this moral order is the wrath of God at work? We know that God made this world, his world, so that should we break his laws we do so at our own peril. If we can be put in a situation of peril due to this moral order, which is unbending and unrelenting, if we are left solely at its mercy, is it not reasonable to believe that the only thing left is death and destruction? How important might this be? The Prophets did not delay the wrath of God to the Judgement Day, they believed it was a continuous thing. Using Israel as an example whenever they strayed as a nation the wrath of God came against them. It often involved ruin, which often resulted in defeat and captivity. There is a concept here that we today find hard to understand…we read more about the wrath of God in the Old Testament writings rather than the New. We today are very much aware of this God of love, mercy and grace and we seldom think of him as a God of wrath. When was the last time most of us heard a  wrath of God sermon? These verses when read in context leave no doubt that we cannot plead ignorance of God. Paul makes a very valid point that suffering always follows sin. Look at the world and see the simple facts of God’s intended order. There are laws that apply to most any of our endeavors… one simple example…break the laws of  health and your body suffers. Break God’s law and you will suffer. You cannot deny that existence itself requires a far greater power than ourselves…that power is God. Those who sin are left without excuse. As sinners we look to ourselves and not to God. Christians are put in a very difficult position. God’s law has become secondary to our own laws, whims, opinions  and we have taken to setting our own standards to live by. We are a self centered people instead of God centered. In biblical times this resulted in idolatry. Idolatry is ruled by the selfish needs and wants of people. We enter our churches not to worship and serve God but to be served. Many times our prayers are self-centered that our dreams may be furthered and the result is we fail and then fall. We worship for self, not for God. 

Romans 1:28-32 provides us with a grocery list of offenses against God’s Law…I do not like to use scripture to beat someone with a righteous stick  so to speak and I am not an hysterical moralist, these verses describe accurately the decline of morals and degenerate behavior in Paul’s day. Even Greek and Roman writers of that day said the same thing about the state of the nations of that day. So now we arrive at the end of this blog that went another direction. We can point fingers all day long in every direction but like a boomerang they point right back to us. It is not the political parties, BLM, GLBT groups, social justice warriors or just a sign of the times, you know, the new norm. No… Pogo said it best the enemy is us.

Please read Romans 1:28-32 

We have banished God from our life as a nation and a people. Harsh statement to make even harsher when we who sin know it to be true. Examples…no longer are the bible and prayers welcomed in our schools in schools, prayers are not allowed before or on field during an athletic event…churches and religious institutions under attack…just a few. We have reached the point in this nation that those who openly attack people of the faith are encouraging others to do so. A quote to help wrap this up:

The dramatist and critic George Bernard Shaw once said: ‘No nation has ever survived the loss of its gods.’ 

Paul has given us a picture of what happens when people banish God from their lives. They eventually perish. Theirs is a legacy that in time produces disaster. We have failed to obey God, to continue the work his Son, Jesus Christ commanded us to do.

We must pray and live our lives so that this Nation is truly “One Nation Under God”

Life is Good