What is "the
judgment of God"? Does God still judge people or nations
such as America? Does "being saved" mean we never
experience the judgment of God? These questions are pertinent
to our lives and our nation, and they have Biblical answers.
First, let's address
the issue of the judgment of God on our personal lives. The King
James translation uses the word "judgment" 77 times
in the New Testament, so it is a valid topic. Referring to those
who get born-again, the Bible says, "he who hears My word
and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall
not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life"
5:24). This is referring to being delivered from eternal damnation
in Hell. It is not teaching that believers will never be judged,
because the scriptures clearly teach that we shall all stand before
the judgment seat of Christ (Rom.
Cor. 5:10). Jesus actually said, "For
judgment I have come into this world"
9:39), and 1st
Peter 4:17 says, "For the time has come for judgment
to begin at the house of God." God and Jesus are
actually "judging us" all the time to determine how
obedient and faithful we are resulting in special assignments
in God's work, the giving to us of spiritual gifts (given as God
"judges" - 1st
Cor. 12:11) and the giving of special rewards and blessings
10:30). God is not up in Heaven killing time working cross-word
puzzles, waiting for "judgment day". He is actively
observing, evaluating, and working through His faithful servants.
What about those
Christians who are "not faithful" not obeying
God on a regular basis? Well, first of all, God does not jerk
our salvation back from us. It is His gift of righteousness within
us that makes us acceptable to Him, not our works (Titus
3:5, 2nd Cor.
2:8-9). That righteousness is "sealed" in our spirits
Cor. 1:22, Eph.
1:13 & 4:30),
and does not cease to exist because of occasional outside sins.
What does happen though, is that sin "gives
place to the devil" (Eph.
4:27). This is the primary "judgment of God" on
a believer that we "poke a hole" in God's protection
over our lives. And He has pre-determined or "judged"
that He will allow us to experience the negative consequences
of our disobedience (otherwise He could never allow anything bad
to ever happen to anyone effectively protecting sin). Many
believers incorrectly conclude that God is doing the bad things
that happen to them or perhaps they compromise and say
that God is "using the devil" to do the bad things that
happen to believers. My position is that God has never used the
devil as His "employee" to harm His children
the devil is self-employed, and goes about "seeking whom
he may devour" (1st
Peter 5:8). If there is any "stealing, killing, or destroying"
in a believer's life, it is of the devil (John
10:10). Therefore, we should "resist" the works
of the devil (James
4:7). Otherwise, if the devil's works were really from God,
then we should not resist anything! In that erroneous theology,
everything that happens would be embraced as if it were from the
hand of God which is the opposite of the scriptural command
to resist the devil and his works.
God also still judges
unbelievers. In the book of Acts, "Herod... sat on
his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting,
'The voice of a god and not of a man!'Then immediately an angel
of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God.
And he was eaten by worms and died." (Acts
12:21-23). This also shows that God often uses avenues of
His judgment which appear to be more "natural" than
"supernatural". But God is relatively patient compared
to man, and often gives people years to repent. He gave Old Testament
kings like Ahab (1st
Kings 21:29) and Hezekiah (Isa.
38:5) many more years because of their repentance. However,
eventually God's patience can be provoked as in the case of Israel
putting the Lord to the test many times in the wilderness (1st
What about the "judgment
of God" on a nation? Well, a nation is nothing more than
a collection of people. In America, we don't even all speak the
same language, or have the same religion. Does God supernaturally
protect a "nation" just because there are some believers
in it? He never has in all of history. The Old Testament is full
of examples of Israel's ups and downs as their level of obedience
and sin swayed back and forth. God's unfathomable grace and mercy
are always available for those who will "humble themselves,
and pray and seek God's face, and turn from their wicked ways"
then God will "hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin
and heal their land" (2nd
Chron. 7:14). But the big question is "how many righteous
does it take?"
In the Old Testament,
Abraham had obtained an understanding from God that He would spare
Sodom and Gomorrah if there were "10 righteous" in the
city. I think Americans have glibly sat back on their sofas with
their cable remote in their hand thinking they were fine because
there had to be "10 righteous" in America. Well, Abraham
thought the same thing about Sodom, and was wrong. First of all,
we do not know what the true ratio of the "10 righteous"
was to the general population of Sodom. Cities were much smaller
in those days, and Ron Wyatt made a video I have seen of the original
city walls of Sodom by the Dead Sea, and Sodom was not very big.
Second, we do not know what really defined a righteous person
in that context. Third, we do not know if God was "passing
an eternal law" about sparing any city, or if He was just
being extra gracious to Abraham, "the friend of God"
2:23). Fourth, I am not of the opinion that "God"
is the only one we need to be concerned about in this issue of
America. Because we have "given place to the devil"
through wholesale national sins, the devil may be working at a
faster pace, "For the devil has come down to you,
having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
God is slow to judgment, but the devil is not! For Christians,
God is not the problem the devil is, and the devil is not
patient toward America. America has had seasons of significant
suffering, disease, wars, economic reversals, and civil upheaval.
We need to stop thinking "God won't let anything bad happen"
and start increasing our "righteousness"! One minister
said that the events of September 11th were a "wake-up"
call to America, but many Americans have now hit the "snooze
Too many Americans
have feared uncertainty, and reacted by "getting all they
can, canning all the get, and then sitting on their can"
(in the words of a minister I know). Instead, it is time to open
our cans, and invest into God's work to turn this nation around!
I am reminded of the Y2K
computer crisis of 1999. Some people hid a week or a month's
worth of food in their garage, but thank goodness there were a
bunch of hard-working programmers actually fixing the problem
because all the food on the shelves of America probably
would not have fed us as a nation for more than 2 months! Similarly,
in this present hour, we need to be Christians who are actively
giving and doing something for God's work to turn this nation
around not sitting on our declining 401(k) stock portfolio
hoping the bad news will all go away. "If you know
these things, blessed are you if you do them." (John
As an individual
and as a nation, we need to repent, pray, give, and witness like
never before. We are too close to victory, and too close to calamity,
to consider just doing nothing. And we need to be concerned about
more than just "us 4, and no more". There is a lost
and dying world beyond our nation that needs the Gospel. It is
time to be serious about our Christianity, and change the world
for Jesus Christ.
Diligent about the