And Shudder With Great Horror
Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,”declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:11-13 (NIV)
Today, Christians find themselves in a wilderness. We wander about this dry and thirsty land as in a daze. The place in which we are live is strange and unfamiliar. Many of us, who are older, thought we were born in a Christian country. This is how our elders described our nation and this is what we took for granted. Yet, today we find ourselves living in a neo-pagan world that proudly proclaims that all gods are equal. We rub our eyes and sadly shake our heads as we contemplate where our nation is headed. What has happened? We have been thrown into a desert with no familiar landmarks to guide us. For most Christians, this fact is too painful to consider. So we lower our heads, close our eyes and keep wandering around. We busy ourselves with private concerns and try to forget what is going on all around us. We pray that when we open our eyes God will make it all magically better. We fail to see that we are the blind, who are following the blind, and our fate is all but certain.
Christians must open their eyes to the magnitude of the disaster in which we have participated. In one generation, our country (and many nations around the world) has gone from a nation that thought of itself as Christian to one that openly denies this faith. A tragedy of this degree has not happened since the time of Christ. True, there have always been persecution and Islam has overrun by force many areas that were once predominantly Christian. But these events pale in comparison to what Christians have participated in our own generation. Never has one Christian nation freely abandoned its faith in the name of another god or ideology until this past century. Few are willing to open their eyes to the present and future consequences of our betrayal. Russia embraced communism which led to war, mass starvation, gulags and oppression. Nazi Germany embraced a false god which sparked WWII and led to the Holocaust. We have abandoned Christ and today we are beginning to see the outcome. Our holocaust of the unborn already dwarfs Nazi atrocities in numbers and who knows what future holds. And what of our eternal consequences? Jesus warned us that if we deny him publicly he will deny us at the Final Judgement. We today are living in an epic tragedy of our own making and yet we blindly wonder forward, smiling to ourselves, as our eyes are glued to our iPhones.
But wait, you say. I have not participated in this betrayal of Jesus! I am a good Christian. I have a quiet time every day where I pray and read my Bible. I am a morally upright person and regularly attend Church. The last thing I would do is betray Jesus. Yet, sadly this person has been deceived. Christians have been taught for too long that we only need a personal relationship with Jesus. Many Christians thought that this was enough but the truth is in the consequences. If this was enough then we would still be living in a Christian nation. The fact that we are now living in a neo-pagan country demonstrates that the limitation of Christianity to a private personal faith is disastrous to our culture. We cannot limit our faith to the family and the church and expect our governments, businesses and schools to remain Christian. Our retreat from the public square created a vacuum that was inevitably filled by non-Christians. How did we allow this happened? Why do we now stand idly by and do nothing? Why do we continue to sacrifice our children on the altars of these pagan temples (public schools) and pay others to indoctrinate our children?
Jeremiah, in the passage above, called on the heavens to witness his horror at what was done by Israel. While it was unheard of for a pagan nation to switch gods even though they were really nothing and by implication could be exchanged for other gods with little significance. But never had a nation exchanged the true God for a false idol. All of creation should be appalled at this and all people should be filled with great horror. So it is today. If anything, a greater tragedy has occurred in our time. We have had a greater revelation and a greater gift than the ancient Israelites. We have had the greatest gift given to all Creation in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus the King! If we were not so blind and truly had eyes to see, we would witness Creation all around us writhing in disbelief at our great apostasy. All Christians should be appalled at the predicament in which we find ourselves. We should be horrified and trembling with fear for the consequences we are bringing upon ourselves. And yet are we?! Rather than face the monumental crisis of our day, Christians are too busy with their private concerns. We numb our minds with all the entertainments of this world and fret over own petty personal problems. We make up doctrines that promises that we will escape from all the consequences of our own making and we reduce our faith to a get-into-heaven-free card.
Jeremiah clearly pointed out who was at fault and what was their great sin. God’s people are the ones at fault. Throughout the Bible, God never gives a free pass to his favorites. To those much has been given, much will be expected. Our faults are never blamed on our enemies. Our mistakes are never excused because we have been deceived by Satan. Jeremiah acknowledges that Israel has been given a great gift. The one true God has been revealed to them and yet they traded this for the worthless idols of their enemies. God’s people are the ones to blame and their two great sins are that they have forsaken the one true God who brings life and they have followed a god of their own creation that ends in death.
Here we have the heart of the matter. Everyone knows that Christians like everyone else have an endless number of sins form which we need to repent. Thankfully, we follow a forgiving God who is ready to forgive us our sins if we repent. But God is not going to forgive all our petty personal sins if we do not face the two great communal sins that Jeremiah points out, and is pointed out throughout the Bible. We must forsake the idols we have worshiped and return to the one true God if we expect all our personal sins to be forgiven. This is the great sin pointed out in the first two commandment handed down by God to Moses. This is the great sin Jesus pointed out when he said that we cannot serve two masters. This is the heart of the problem that Christians have not faced today and the reason why we are no longer living in a Christian nation. We should be appalled and horrified, but we are not. We should be doing something about this now, but we are not. This is what Christians United! wants to do. We are not rich. We are not powerful. We are few in numbers and unknown. But God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the mighty. God did not call us to win results. We cannot change the world, only God can do that. We have been called to give witness to our King and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what we intend to do even if no else will. Come stand with us!