What really matters?

Recently, my Facebook feed was abuzz with negative comments, complaints, and facetious remarks regarding the NFL and refs. People were frustrated and were showing it because of what was apparently a poorly refereed game. I don’t watch sports and I didn’t read anything about it besides what my friends posted.

I couldn’t help but wonder though, as I listened to Joshua 1-9 this morning, that too often we all get frustrated with the wrong things.  Joshua 8:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.” Achan stole the stuff. Achan disobeyed, but God begins the chapter saying the children of Israel committed the trespass. God was angered with the children of Israel. The children of Israel were punished for it. They lose in battle. Thirty-six of them died.

One man’s sin drastically hurt the nation. Americans murder an innocent life every 20 seconds. Pause and read it again. Every 20 seconds. EVERY 20 SECONDS! God will not hold us guiltless. We are guilty before a holy God for murder every 20 seconds. Where are our priorities when we can easily complain about a game, but we don’t take a second or more to talk about this tragedy – at all? I could probably count on one hand my friends who have posted something about abortion this past year. I had more than that regarding the game – in one night. Abortion is the most important issue in every election. This is the most important issue facing Americans. Are you seriously going to complain regularly about the other non-issues? Homeless dogs?! Orphaned kittens? Bad call in a game? God, help us see what You see!

The stuff that grabs our attention shows that we have lost the ability to discern. We have lost a zeal for righteousness. We have become complacent. We have become dull in our senses to sin. How can you think about this fact (an abortion every 20 seconds) and not become sick to your stomach? What if I tell you that doctors give instruction that when a partial-birth abortion turns into labor and the baby comes out they are to “stab the blob with some scissors?” Does that make you want to forget lunch? Does that make you cry out to God in repentance and a desire for Heaven?

Perhaps that is the dilemma though. We don’t want to feel sick to our stomachs. We would rather complain about something that means nothing. We would rather be willing to be upset about something that doesn’t cause us to hate the sin of this world so much. Maybe we don’t really desire Heaven as much as we should. Maybe we love this life too much to recognize the total wickedness that surrounds us.

You can see this ignorant head-in-the-sand approach to life in abusive families. The wife doesn’t want to recognize how bad it really is because she is stuck there. She convinces herself that it is just a little worse than normal, and all families have “skeletons in their closet.” Abused children know their family is different but pretend it is not that bad. They put up with it because that is life. There is no other option. When we see the wickedness around us, we pretend it isn’t that bad. We seer our consciences against the wickedness. We dull ourselves. We say “It isn’t that bad.” And we do everything we can to forget it. We hide the friends in our feed who are constantly posting about it. We wonder why they are always downers. We avoid talking about anything spiritual matters and reserve our conversation to “safe” topics like sports, or the weather. A well-versed sports fan can talk about something all year without touching on anything of eternal value. When we love this life, we do all we can to avoid talking of sin. We know it is there, and like Lot it vexes our souls, but we can pretend it isn’t happening if we don’t read the facts and don’t talk to those people.

(There isn’t anything wrong with sports. There is nothing wrong with desiring the just outcome of the game and for the rules to be followed. However, there is something wrong with that being your focus and what dominates your every conversation.)

Life matters to God. Life should matter to us. Our world is constantly devaluing life all around us. 1. They are doing it by over-emphasizing the care of animals. Animals are here for us. Certainly, “the righteous man careth for the life of his beast,” but animals are never to take precedence over a person. Animals don’t have eternal souls. Christ did not die for animals. 2. They do it by devaluing human life with euthanasia and abortion. They pretend that it is the right thing to do – to relieve pain, or to give freedom of choice.

Our world doesn’t understand the truth, and we as Christians know it but would rather not fight about it. Doesn’t it just make things uncomfortable when the conversation turns towards abortions? Yes! It does! Sin should make us uncomfortable. It is a shame, and an abomination.

The entire nation of Israel was punished for one man’s sin. Don’t think we will escape judgment when our entire nation is murdering babies. You can’t stand at the judgment seat and say “I was complaining about the injustice of the game.” “I wanted cats to have a home.” “I was playing fantasy football.”

How long did it take to read this?  3 minutes? 9 babies were murdered. Oh that we would confess our sins, that we would hate sin. Oh that the Lord would come today!

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9 thoughts on “What really matters?

  1. I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of what you’re saying or anything. I’m just a little confused about something. I totally agree about abortion being a terrible, wicked thing, and that it shouldn’t be swept under the rug, and that we far too easily get caught up in the minor things. Overall, I’m completely on track with you.

    However, some of what you said makes it sound as if you think that we Christians are in sin because our nation is sinful, that God’s judgment is falling on US, personally, because our nation is wicked. Which, as I’m sure it’s easy to see, has all kinds of problems with it. We aren’t Israel. We are not our nation. Nowhere in the Bible (as far as I recall) does God tell us to confess the sins of our nation. We confess OUR sins. Now, if you’re talking about the sin of looking the other way, that’s one thing and something that we should definitely be keeping in mind. But if you’re talking about confessing the sin of murder, that’s something very different.

    Also, since Christ paid for the sins of all Christians, it would be entirely UNjust for Him to be judging us with the rest of the wicked. We don’t EVER fall under the wrath of God, even when our nation does. We can’t; Christ already drank that cup.

    Again, I’m not entirely clear on how you meant things, so this could all be completely superfluous. I just thought it worthy of being mentioned.

    On a slightly different note: I think there is a danger of going to the opposite extreme as well. There are people who tend never to talk about serious things and there are people who tend ONLY to talk about serious things. Neither one is good, because neither one is always fitting. You can’t be rejoicing with them that do rejoice if you’re always talking about how horrible abortion is, and you can’t be weeping with those that weep if you can only talk about sports and the weather.

  2. We are being judged in the same way that Israel was judged by God for one man’s sin. The nation suffered the consequences. We suffer the consequences. God’s judgment is not directed towards us personally, as in this case, we have not personally had an abortion. However we will certainly fall under the consequences for that sin.

    It sounds like you think we are never judged? You say we never “fall under the wrath of God,” but we certainly partake of the results of that wrath. Daniel was carried away captive. How many times does the Bible list people who have sinned and the effects of that sin on all the people around them?

    We also see throughout the Scriptures the people of God confessing the sins of those around them when they did not in fact do it. Josiah found the scroll and recognized that it was not his sin per se, but it was their sin and thus his sin. It was his nation, and God’s judgment was upon it because of the sin. He confessed their sin.

    I don’t think that we have to be Israel for the idea of praying for your nation to apply. I don’t think we have to be Israel to be accountable for the sins of our nation. (We are accountable not in that we sacrificed our kids, but in that we allowed it to happen and go on.) I don’t understand your comment on Israel. I know we aren’t. We are still going to be judged for our sin. God’s judgment doesn’t always mean Hell, and Christians will be judged.

    Lastly, I think our nation is in sin because Christians are. I think that if we were living holy separated lives hating sin that our nation would not be in the state it is. So, yes, I think we have much to confess, and I think that includes allowing the ongoing abortion. I don’t know that it was necessarily our generation, but it is and was Christians and our nation. Light and salt need to do something. If we lose our savor we will be cast out. We have lost our savor, and that doesn’t mean we are losing salvation, but it does mean we are going to feel the punishment when it comes. Judgment begins first at the house of God.

    I don’t know if I answered your thoughts really or not…I was finding it hard to answer them all succinctly.

  3. . . . . I don’t think God judges anyone like Israel was judged. Israel was a nation of God’s people – that was a one-time instance that has never been since. No one is judged like Israel was. Yes, sin effects us all, but I would never equate God’s judgment to the law of natural consequences. That’s like saying if someone pushed me in front of a bus, God was judging me. That’s not usually how we refer to that kind of thing.

    Daniel was not judged for Israel’s sin anymore than Joseph was judged for the sin of his brothers. Yes, they both suffered because of it, but that wasn’t God’s judgment on them, at least not in the same sense that God judges the wicked. Yes, Christians will be judged, and we currently experience God’s chastening; but no, we NEVER fall under God’s wrath. Israel fell under God’s wrath; Daniel did not. Maybe I’m just confused on what you mean by “judged.”

    It sounds like you’re using judgment to mean punishment, which I don’t believe God EVER punishes Christians – for sins that are theirs or others. If God punishes me for sin, then either Christ DIDN’T pay for that one, or God is punishing me AND Christ for it, which would be unjust. When you talk about God judging a nation for wickedness and then talk about God judging Christians, that makes it sound like you think God is punishing Christians right along with the world.

    I could be wrong, but I see throughout the OLD Testament people confessing (confessing not just saying, “our nation has sinned” to God, but also including the idea of repentance) the sins of the nation, not the NT. To which again, I don’t see a correspondence between Israel and America. Praying for our nation is one thing; confessing and repenting of the sins of the nation is another.

    You say we’re accountable in that we allowed it, but I DIDN’T allow it to happen. You seem to be assuming that because there is abortion that means that somewhere there were/are Christians who MUST have let it happen, who must have not taken it seriously enough, who must have looked the other way or something; and I don’t believe that you can possibly say that. We don’t have that power. Our nation is not Christian, therefore, there is no reason to think that WE could have ever stopped it. Are Christians to blame for Hitler? For Stallin?

    Israel is an entirely different thing, as is Josiah. Josiah was KING. He had the power to do something about it and when he realized that he hadn’t done anything in the time that he had been king, that was a serious thing. That’s like looking back and realizing that you could have voted for someone pro-life and you didn’t. For that, I would confess. But to say that we are accountable for abortion seems to be an enormous leap that condemns generations of Christians.

    Our nation is in sin because our nation is The World. Were the 7,000 in Israel in sin and that’s why Israel was sinful under Ahab? Unbelievers are not sinful because Christians are sinful. Unbelievers are just sinful. Our nation will be in sin so long as it has more unbelievers than believers. Perhaps it will be in a different sin, but it WILL be in sin.

    We aren’t allowing abortion any more than the Roman Christians were allowing homosexuality (which was so rampant, it was just expected), any more than Iraqi Christians are allowing it today. If I am accountable for the sins of my nation, then I am not and will NEVER be guiltless.

  4. I wasn’t ignoring this, just figuring out how to answer it.

    1. God does punish/judge/”other word” Christians. 1 Corinthians 11 – God kills Christians for sinning. Others are sick for sinning. There is chastisement of sons from Hebrews 12 – chastisement is the same thing that is used in Proverbs for punishing with the rod. It is a punishment when we are wrong. There are many other verses written to Christians where the authors specifiy that God will judge us. 1 Peter 1:7 – we are to fear because of our coming judgment. So, whatever word we are using that isn’t allowing good communication needs to be removed. God deals with sin in Christians without being unjust in the sacrifice of Christ. God is just. God deals with sin. Christ died for sin. So, maybe the word that was incorrectly used was wrath? I didn’t use that word originally, but I’m wondering if that is where our dilemma is? Punishment? What is chastisement is not punishment? When your parent spanks you, you know why. When God chastises us, we know why. I’m confused between paragraph 2 and 3 of your last response.

    2. We don’t say that someone pushed in front of a bus is punishment, but we don’t say it wasn’t either. We didn’t say that God sent Katrina as punishment but we didn’t say it wasn’t a possibility. Katrina, like fire and brimstone, wiped out a city. A city where the people were sinners. The believer(s) in Sodom were not doing right. They were not witnessing and God would have given them grace based on the intercession of Abraham were there 10 people. There weren’t ten people. When the righteous don’t act righteously, then sin abounds. When sin abounds, God judges, and the righteous are judged for their sin in the course.

    3. Josiah was king, yes. Today we don’t have kings. We have PEOPLE who elect leaders to represent them. We have PEOPLE who by petitions and signatures can change laws (at least locally and on a state level). We have PEOPLE who (in my original context) don’t grieve over abortion like they grieve over sports or animals. We have PEOPLE who have not acted AND God’s law was not hidden in the rubble. We have had it the whole time. We have PEOPLE who are responsible in our government and we have Christians who aren’t doing everything they can. (Though, obviously, “can” is definitely different for different people.)

    4. There is a lot of argument even from people back during WW2 that in fact good people were responsible for allowing Hitler to go so far. That is where the quote something like “All that is necessary for evil to conquor is for good people to do nothing.” That happened. Hitler was in churches with his “doctrine” and accepted by Christians who were caught up in the good of the nation. Good people who discarded discernment for something else. Yes, there is a very strong argument that good people could have done something. Certainly Hitler is responsible for his sin, but are others responsible for not doing more? What of the plague that was in the Israelites and Phineas took the Javelin and stayed the plague. Had a good man not acted (and there were others who didn’t) the plague would have continued. I think we can see this as a principle and not just a case of “Israel is special.” My original argument was not that we could have stopped it necessarily, but that Christians could have fought it more than we did, and for that we need to repent. God’s mercy is on those who are zealous for righteousness. Had we pursued God and holiness, it may have been stayed. For that lack of zeal we need to repent.

    Maybe our generation isn’t allowing it since it is too late at this point. Like you stated about the Roman Christians, but I believe past generations of our country because of our system, of the people, could have. However, we may find ourselves the guilty party in whatever is coming next if we are not fighting it with a zeal for holiness.

  5. 1. There is a difference between punishment/judgment (retribution) and discipline/chastisement (correction). Punishment is for the sake of justice. Chastisement is for the sake of reconciliation and teaching. God doesn’t chasten the world; God doesn’t punish Christians. We are ALREADY declared righteous. If God looks at us and sees the righteousness of Christ, He CANNOT exact retribution on us. He can remove His protection for the sake of bringing us back to Him; He can bring hardship into our lives. God wasn’t judging the Corinthian Christians like He judged Sodom. God was taking them out of the world, not because they were evil, but because He LOVED them and would not allow them to live in sin. That wasn’t punishment; that was rescue; that was mercy; that was grace. That was God saying, “This is not good for you; I’m going to remove you from this situation” – like a parent might take away the toy over which two children are fighting in order to help them establish a good relationship.

    As for the I Peter passage, I have NO CLUE how you’re getting that that has anything to do with fear. That’s giving us the reason of why we go through trials – so that at the end, our faith is proved to be more precious than gold – v. 9 is not a hoping thing; it’s secure. We WILL receive the salvation of our souls because we HAVE BEEN judged righteous and our faith, when tried, WILL be proved. None of that is cause for fear. That’s a done deal, secured by the blood of Christ.

    2. When the righteous DO act righteously, sin also abounds. I don’t get your point. . . . Lot WASN’T judged with the city; doesn’t that prove what I’m saying? God pulled Lot OUT. Lot was not judged; Sodom was judged. If Lot’s failure to be godly was the reason that Sodom was wicked enough to be destroyed, and if God punishes the righteous like He does the unrighteous, why wasn’t Lot left in to suffer with them??

    3. There is no way you can possibly know that if every Christian had done and did now do everything perfectly right concerning abortion that it would suddenly be eradicated from our nation. That’s my point. You are judging an entire nation of Christians based on the end results, and that’s dangerous. That’s like saying such and such church isn’t growing, therefore, the people must not be following God. God does NOT give those kinds of results based on our success or failure to follow Him. It sounds very much like you’re saying that if we were all doing right, this particular sin would not plague our nation; that’s pretty much a different kind of prosperity gospel. . . . “If I do right, God will do such and such.” God never promised to keep our nation abortion-free any more than He promised to give us health or wealth.

    4. We don’t need to repent for people who may or may not have been in the wrong in not stopping Hitler. I was not there. Christians today do NOT need to repent for that. Just like Christians today, who could not vote, who could not do anything about the abortion situation, do NOT need to repent for Roe vs. Wade. And the only thing we need to repent for is if we, personally, have not been zealous for God as we should be.

    You say that we could have fought it more than we did, but what you’re using to prove that claim is the fact that abortion exists here. THAT is where my issue lies. I find it highly likely that Christians did not do as much as they could have, and aren’t still today; but you seem to be using the idea that because it happened, therefore they COULDN’T have been doing all that they should have. THAT is the problem because that is not sound reasoning. You canNOT say that because evil happened, godly zeal was lacking in God’s people; therefore, you cannot say that because abortion exists, we need to repent for lacking godly zeal. We live in a WICKED world. Wickedness WILL abound – no matter if we stand against it or not. God never says that if we are perfect, the World will be better. On the contrary, the World tends to persecute us MORE when we do righteously, which is more evilness!

    Like I said at the beginning, I’m right there with you on the main points. I COMPLETELY agree that we need to be careful that we’re not overlooking, that we aren’t undervaluing the important things; we need to be cultivating our love for God and emersing ourselves in Him and His Word. The warning is good and proper; it’s the reasoning behind it that is lacking. But the reason we need to be doing these things is not because Christians failed before and we need to repent and do better than they did; it’s because WE are sinners NOW and “sin is present with [us]”, and God is worthy of more than we can possibly give.

  6. 1. I agree with that. Also, the passage I meant was 1 Peter 1:17. We are to fear sinning against God. That is a great part of the fear of the Lord, but I will concede that can be for reasons other than punishment – correction being one.

    2. Yes, sin abounds regardless but there is a principle that righteousness repels sin. Light shines in the dark. When the Holy Spirit leaves, sin will abound more and more. We are to be the repellent of sin now. I wasn’t saying that we eliminate sin, but that God’s people living right before him is meant to impact and quell the tide of sin. When that doesn’t happen, sin overruns things. Righteous people doing rightly and interceding can bring God’s mercy upon their town/city/country. That is my point. When they aren’t doing it, then we see God’s judgment come.

    3. I never said it would be eradicated. I thought I even said I knew it wouldn’t be…Regardless, I’m not judging an entire nation based on end results. I’m looking at history and saying that Christians didn’t do enough. Not that it would have been different necessarily, but that we didn’t do enough.

    4. I didn’t say we need to repent for Hitler. I responded to your example. The people who were there who did not speak for right do need to repent of that. The people who were alive during the last 60 years who did not work and speak against abortion or have a righteous zeal do need to repent of that. I guess that I wasn’t meaning to offer “proof” of anything and THAT seems to be what is driving a lot of your response. I wasn’t meaning to offer proof. Abortion is here, but I believe that it wouldn’t be so extreme had Christians done there part. Can I prove it? No. Can we look at history and say Christians haven’t all been as zealous as they should? Yes. You agreed with that already. I wasn’t offering either one as proof for the first…or at least I didn’t mean to be. (I haven’t reread everything I posted).

    However, we should interceded. Intercession is the act of confessing for those that won’t. Asking forgiveness for those that won’t. Confession is just acknowledging and seeing the sin as God sees it. Stephen did that when he was stoned. Christ did it on the cross. Daniel 9:1-20 He prayed “we have sinned” “we rebelled” “we didn’t obey” etc. He was young and not involved in the sin that had taken place. BUT he understood that they were his people, and that they had sinned greatly. He prays for forgiveness for them. He prays for mercy for them. He prays using the first person including himself because he is counted with them. Again, I don’t think you can say Daniel did that just because he was an Israelite.

    We are members of our country. If I was a member of a team and we won because someone cheated, I would apologize for my team understanding that we are guilty though my teammate was the one that cheated. I am a part of the team. We are part of America. We have a responsibility here. God doesn’t see us as separate and not connected to what has taken place. Individually, we are not judged because of someone else’s sin, but our nation will be judged as a whole for our (collective America) sin. We should confess and repent on behalf of our nation as we would intercede for any group of which we are a part.

    So, in conclusion, abortion would be happening regardless of Roe V Wade, but Christians may have prevented Roe V Wade. Christians have not been zealous for the Lord like we should. We are viewed with our nation and we need to repent in intercession for our nation.

  7. “We are part of America. We have a responsibility here. God doesn’t see us as separate and not connected to what has taken place.”

    Can you substantiate that with Scripture?

  8. Yes.

    “We are part of America.” I hope I don’t have to try to prove this part, but it seems that we are down to the wire and maybe I do. We are citizens here. Paul was a citizen of Rome. Something he claimed and took advantage of being a Roman. – claiming the rights and responsibilities of such. We are Americans; we cannot separate ourselves from that – the rights and responsibilities.We aren’t given any indication from Christ or the Apostles that they were to be separate from the nations they were in. Rather they were to submit and participate. Paul further exemplifies this by showing that it is indeed right to claim the rights to which the governing law grants us.

    “We have a responsibility here.” Not going to support this. It is obvious. We have responsibilities everywhere we are.

    “God doesn’t see us as separate and not connected to what has taken place.”

    I feel like this follows from the previous statements. I’m not going to repeat them. God deals with nations. Not just Israel, but nations. He blesses them and punishes them. He sets them up and takes them down, and we are part of them.

    Jeremiah 18:7-10 “7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”

    Obviously the context is speaking to Israel, but the statement of fact is not about Israel. The statement is on how God deals with nations. God deals with nations, not just individuals. We are part of America and so when God deals with America we can’t pretend we aren’t part of America. God will deal with America.

    Your question was quite general so I should stop so I’m not shooting at the air. I don’t know what if you were trying to make a point or just asking.

  9. My question was general on purpose because I was trying to eliminate anything I might read into it.

    My problem is that you seem to see little difference with how Old Testament Israel is dealt with (as the nation God chose to bless) and with how New Testament Christians are dealt with (as INDIVIDUALS God chooses to bless). You see things like Daniel praying for the sins of the nation of Israel and taking them on himself (“we have sinned”) and you say that this models for US taking the sins of unbelieving America on us, since that is the country we have our citizenship here on the earth. I have issues with this line of thinking.

    The Holy Spirit, in Daniel’s time, took residence in the midst of the people of Israel. Israel was God’s chosen nation. Not every Israelite trusted in God. Not every Israelite will be in Heaven. However, even so, the dwelling on the Holy Spirit amongst the people meant that God dealt with them as a people. If He removed His Spirit from their midst, they ALL suffered. If His Spirit came into their midst, they ALL prospered. Obviously I am speaking in general terms… there were exceptions to this as God DID continue to use prophets even in awful times. We are all sinners: Daniel sinned, Jeremiah sinned… they ALL sinned… and everyone’s sins affected the Presence of God with the people of Israel. God continued to deal with Israel as a nation with spokespersons such as Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah… etc… That was they was it was in the Old Testament.

    However, in the New Testament, the Spirit indwells each of us individually. God doesn’t deal with us as a nation with spokespersons anymore… in fact, Israel is referred to by Paul in Romans as being the body of Christ – we as believers are the TRUE Israel… because we are God’s chosen people. TRUE Israel because even though all Israelites had their citizenship in the Israel nation, they were not all God’s elect. There are CLEAR indications here as to what we as the body of Christ are to be with each other… but the correlation does not extend to our earthly citizenship. If Daniel is to be a model for us, he is to be a model for us to repent of our own sins, and ask forgiveness of the sins of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ – because if our church is unhealthy, we suffer.

    My issue is that you are using the way God dealt with the nation of Israel to show how God deals with the nation of America… not how God deals with the “nation” of believers as the body of Christ. I am also a little confused, because your approach seems very Covenantalistic, and I would have expected something else because I know you are a Dispensationalist… Just trying to understand where you are coming from.

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