During times of national, ecclesiastical, familial and personal stress, it is good for believers, and even better for nonbelievers to sit down and ask, “Is God trying to send me/us a message?” Now, not all troublesome occurrences are a result of God judging over sins committed. The lives of Job and Jesus are examples of suffering where the trouble meted out was not due to any personal sin committed.
But some suffering is due to judgment over sins committed. We know more about David than every other character in the Bible, excluding Jesus. Many sins during David’s time received rapid judgement, whether it was Uzzah, the census David commissioned without requiring the payment of the half shekel, his infidelity with Bathseba, etc.
As a result, David in writing many of the Psalms asks the Lord to withhold judgment over sins committed, and remove his wrath from him. He also asks the Lord to search him for sin. David is in some ways closer to God’s heart than most believers today, though with many failings. And, if we are honest with ourselves, our failings/sins are large as well. If the Apostle Paul could call himself the chief of sinners, how much more is it true of you and me?
So, back to the present age. I am not telling you that the current economic troubles are a judgment from God. I am saying that we have to consider that as a possibility both individually and corporately.
Now, it would be too easy for me to turn this into a piece on the sins of the United States as a nation. I could start with all of the sins stemming from lust, lying, stealing, murder, disrespect for parents/authority, covetousness, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, idolatry, etc. I’m not going there yet. Why?
1 Peter 4:17 (New King James Version)
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Because of our sinful natures, Christians tend to point the finger out, and do not focus on the sins of the church. We need to focus on ourselves; God is more concerned about the condition of his saints than the condition of unbelievers.
So, what are the sins of the church at present, and are they big enough for God to be judging us? The sins of the church are similar to those of the world:
- Adultery; divorce
- Laziness to our employers
- Lying when an honest answer would be tough
- Worshiping God in ways He has not commanded.
- Putting anything else ahead of God.
- Disrespect for parents/authority
- Lack of zeal for God
- And more…
If we are honest, all of us Christians can see some failure here. Much as the unbelievers may be being judged in the current crisis, that Christians are being judged is more clear. Consider the sermons that you hear. Do they convict you of sin, or are they on the order of “here is how to improve your life.” Teaching you how to improve your life by itself is a false gospel. Preachers telling you to be good is a false gospel. The true gospel tells us to trust Christ only, and put no confidence in ourselves.
The Lord is knocking on the door of the Church, and telling us that He has a beef with His saints. Let us let him in and talk with us, and then let us repent. The problems of our nation will not disappear before the problems in the Church.
May the Lord have mercy on His church in this difficult time.