Step by Step


Spiritual Readiness

We are at a critical time in our nation’s history, when God could very easily release His judgment on our nation for our sin and wickedness. Consider the following thoughts.

  1. God has established a limit to the amount of sin He will tolerate, before He brings judgment and wrath in response:

“They always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”
(1 Thessalonians 2:16)

“The sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:16)
“Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!” (Matthew 23:32)

According to Scripture, God has established a legal limit to sin. In a sense, God has a spiritual “bowl” to hold our sin in, one that has a given measure. We cannot know exactly what that measure or limit is, nor do we know how close we may be to crossing that limit. It is when the sin of a nation or a people reaches the limit, that God’s wrath takes the place of His mercy. The only remedy is for a people to confess, [agree with God about] their sin, and repent— turning from their sinful ways to God’s ways. When God forgives sin, He removes it from our account, in effect keeping us from reaching the limit of our sins. As God’s people, we need to stand before him, confessing our sins, turning from our wicked ways, and praying for mercy. The spiritual healing of the United States is waiting on the repentance of God’s people:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

  1. The measure of judgment we use is the measure of judgment we will receive. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Now, Jesus was not saying, “Don’t judge at all.” Essentially, He was saying, “Be careful how you judge.” We must be spiritually right with God if we are to be effective in removing “the speck” from another’s eye. As our nation prepares to execute a measure of judgment on the evil in our world, we need to be prepared to undergo the same scrutiny by a God who is holy, pure, and righteous. Are the people of the United States guilty of sins that would justify God’s bringing judgment on us as a nation? God’s examination is not based upon what we believe is right and wrong, but on what God has established as right and wrong. America is not spiritually prepared to withstand His holy examination. God says, “I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the Lord,” (Ezekiel 7:27)

  1. Only those who are right with God will be prepared for the time of God’s judgment.
    Here is the word God sent to Ezekiel:

“If a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men-Noah, Daniel and Job-were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 14:13-14)

We must be careful not to trust in deceptive words that permit us to hold onto our sin while still trying to claim the righteousness of Christ as our cover. Israel did something similar in the days of Jeremiah. They trusted in the fact that they were God’s people and had the Temple of the Lord in their midst. But God said;

“‘Look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe” – safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! Declares the LORD.’” (Jeremiah 7:8-11)

When God’s people made His house a “den of robbers,” He brought His judgment on the nation at the hands of a Babylonian king in 586/7 BC. When Jesus wept over Jerusalem centuries later, He prophesied the coming destruction at the hands of a Roman army in AD 70. He brought the same allegation against God’s people in His day: “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers.” Essentially, “a den of robbers” refers to God’s people living sinfully all week long, then coming before the Lord to say, “We’re safe. We’re God’s people.” A “den of robbers” in our day can be likened to a church people who act like the rest of the world throughout the week, then come to church on Sunday, saying, “I’m okay. I’m going to heaven when I die. I prayed the salvation prayer. I joined the church.” As we examine the lives of church members, I fear that most of our churches look more like a “den of robbers” than a “house of prayer.”

God’s people must confess and repent from sin (turn back toward God) if we are to receive the cleansing Christ has provided through His own shed blood. Only through repentance can we stand before God, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

As God’s people, we have a choice: We can either recognize the pending danger and return to the Lord before He brings judgment, or we can wait until the disasters come to repent and cry out for mercy.