Why Should God Spare America?

This article “Why Should God Spare America” was patterned after a sermon “Things That God Did Not Spare preached by a young minister, Andrew Stewart, in Northern Ireland August 7, 2016.  It included the main question: “Why should God spare you?” I strongly urge you to listen to this sermon, for your own personal blessing and hope.

The Angels in Heaven

“God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6

In Isaiah 6 we see the angels who veiled their faces, showing reverence and respect, humble before the Creator. But because of pride, in a moment of time, the devil and his angels were cast out of heaven. Ezekiel 28:13

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that lives in pride and gives no respect to His authority and rule over us? Are we better than the angels?

The Ancient World

“And God saw the wickedness of the earth” and the evil hearts of men. Genesis 6:5

“He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly. 2 Peter 2:5

They had a preacher.

They also had the blessing of God’s patience, of His long-suffering toward a wicked and rebellious world.

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that pays no heed to the word of God, but lives independently of Him? Are we better than the old world?

The Cities of the Plains

He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 13:10

They knew what it was to enjoy the natural and temporal blessings of God.   They had a godly man in their midst. They had an intercessor. Abraham prayed for God to save them. (Genesis 18:22)

“By turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;” 2 Peter 2:6

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that openly and defiantly approves and practices the things that are an abomination to Him? Are we better than Sodom and Gomorrah?

The Natural Branches

He did not spare His chosen people, but many times brought judgment upon them because of their disobedience.

Because of their unbelief, they were left to wander in the wilderness.

They had the blessings of prayer, and of the word from the prophets .

Jerusalem was burned, and the people were taken into exile for seventy years; an equivalence of the number of years that they had profaned the Sabbath.

National Israel in A.D. 70 was scattered to the end of the world.

They had all the privileges. They had God’s blessings, His power, His precepts, the oracles, the types, the shadows of the Messiah, yet they rejected Him when He came.

God did not spare them. Why should God spare a nation that rejects the message of His Son? Are we better than the Israelites?

Why should God spare America? Why are we any different from those who fell under His wrath and judgment? We have the word of God that He has preserved all these years, translated in our language, which men have lived and died for. We have ministers who preach the Word of God; intercessors who pray for the salvation of this country.

In comparison to those whom God did not spare, we stand condemned before Him.   We can but wonder why He has been so patient with us; in mercy and long-suffering with us.

How can God spare us? Where is our hope? The answers are found in His Word.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32

Jesus Christ, God’s Son

God did not spare His own Son but He poured out His wrath upon Him so that we may be spared.

As God’s children, we must examine our own hearts and our confession of faith.

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

God’s patience is on our behalf, as His people, that we might be turned to Him. Persecution may be the only means to prove who belongs to Him. It is in these times that we turn to His Word and call out for the Holy Spirit’s power in our own hearts and lives, and proclaim this hope to others.

“Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,”
2 Peter 3:15
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Dear Father,  as we wait and hope, in the mercy and grace of our Lord, whom you did not spare for our sake, let us continue to pray, proclaim your kingdom, and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” In whose name we pray, praise, and thank you. Amen.  2 Peter 3:18
Audio: Things That God Did Not Spare

Photography: Mike Roberts

The Foot of the Cross ~ Ground Zero

Scan 142190000As Jesus was crucified the Jewish leaders looked up and ridiculed Him. He looked down and said, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.” By His death He was proving how desperate was man’s condition, with no means of escaping His Father’s wrath, except by a sacrifice given on their part. The purpose was that through Him a pardon would be provided, and eternal life given to those who would believe the “good news” (the gospel) and accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

Even as the Jews were in that day thinking they were privileged just by being a Jew, there are people, Jew and Gentile alike, who do not believe; who are blinded to their own sin. Jews, then and now, still hold to their own traditions, thinking that they have the advantage over other nations without the need of a Savior. There are even those in the church, having grown up with Christian parents or with an infant baptism, who are lacking the righteousness by faith that is required for salvation.

Abraham, the Law and Circumcision
In Romans 3 Paul continues to drive home the point that all stand condemned as sinners under the wrath of God. He has stressed the depravity of all mankind; the power of this depravity in oppression and sin, to the extent of denying that which is natural to all mankind. Now Paul addresses the Jews in particular who suppose that their advantage of being children of Abraham, having the law and circumcision, exempts them from the need of faith.   Although Abraham was their “father,” the “father of faith” to whom the promises of the everlasting covenant for all nations was given ~ who came before the law and circumcision ~ they are relying on their position as Jews for their status before God. They are depending on their own righteousness; yet they proved that none could keep the law.

Paul is saying, “No, having the law and circumcision will not save you from your sins, and the wrath of God.” “There is none righteous before God.” “All have sinned” and fallen short of the expectations of God; none can keep His law and live up to His righteousness and glory. Only one has done that; and in so doing able to give His life a ransom; dying so as to be a propitiation for our sins; appeasing the wrath of God, and so taking away the death penalty that we justly deserve.

He is continuing to build upon the necessity for faith in the gospel; the good news is to be believed. God’s word is to be accepted as true. Jesus’ life, His sacrifice, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father are all His work on our part. No matter how hard we try we can never keep the whole law; but He did it on our behalf. Faith in Jesus Christ and His work on our part is our means of laying hold of His righteousness, our justification and our eternal salvation.

The law is meant to show how far we are from the kingdom of God. The rules of His kingdom are more than anyone here on this earth is able to keep. The law convicts us of our sin, which Paul said was meant to be our schoolmaster until Christ came.

imagesimagesThe Law and the Gospel Now we have the law and the gospel, the bad news and the good news. (My notes on the Book of Romans as our pastor is preaching through it are meant to help me to sort out the gospel of my Lord Jesus Christ; what it means to me; and how I can document what I am still learning of the phenomena of the Christian faith; a phenomena that requires the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and none of my own.)

The work of God’s Spirit is to use the law to convict us of our sin. Had we been there in Jesus’ day we would have been part of the multitude that shouted, “Crucify him.” As a Jew we would have probably mocked Him and spit on Him. But, now we also have the gospel, which the Holy Spirit uses to convict us of the forgiveness and righteousness that is ours in Jesus Christ.

imagesThe Cross ~ The Ladder
The power of the gospel brings us to the foot of the cross, the place where man is stripped away of all pretension, pride and unbelief. In Christ we see the righteousness of God given to us, “justified by His grace as a gift; through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

In Luke 12:49 Jesus is recorded as saying, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” On the cross He said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Jesus’ work on the cross brought to shambles every idea that man has concerning his own righteousness before God. Our good works become ashes at His feet.

Jesus told Nathaniel that because he believed he would see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. (John 1:51) The first rung of that ladder for us is faith. In response to His revelation and regeneration (new birth), with a new heart we come in repentance to the cross of Jesus Christ believing the good news of our righteousness in Him. There is where His blood, His life, covered all the sins of those who believe in Him.

There, when we realize what took place, we will as “all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle” leave the ashes of our own ideas and works. We will in humility, as they “returned home beating their breasts” live in the reality of what our sins cost our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We will not, as some, throw out the law; but, by His grace, we “establish the law” as God’s first means of our understanding the need for the gospel. We see it as God’s rule for life, the standard of His kingdom, which He is building within each of us as He is conforming us to the image of His dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ ~ that image, that standard, will be complete and perfect when He brings us into His final glory. Now, it is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path as we continue in obedience of faith toward our final goal in Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We praise you for your law on which we meditate day and night, seeking your kingdom and your righteousness that is in Christ, by faith in Him alone.  Thank you for the authority of your word commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit, shining that light into our hearts, convicting us of our sin and the salvation that by grace is given to us.  Thank you that it does not depend on anything we can do, but that all has been done in Christ for us. Open our hearts to Him, today.  Let us see Him; enable us in humility and faith to follow and obey.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.  Amen

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Impressions and Expressions of the Gospel (Romans 1:16-32)

As our pastor is preaching through this most images powerful of Paul’s letters (to the Roman Christians) my desire is to make note of the impressions that the Lord is leaving on my own heart and life; with the prayer that the gospel to which Paul was called and set apart, and was not ashamed, would be revealed in me, so powerful and impressive; so as to be the expression of my own life.

In the middle of the first chapter of Romans (vs. 16-17) he speaks of “the power of God,” a reference of the same “power” in verse 4 ~ “the Son of God in power.” It is the same power and the same “gospel of His Son.” (vs. 9)  In these verses he also is setting the stage for the whole of the letter, as it refers to “salvation,” “righteousness” and “faith.”

Before he goes on to encourage with the main elements of the gospel for salvation he inserts the reason for this salvation, the knowledge and need of the gospel, using the backdrop of God’s wrath. Why can we not look over the wrath of God when we speak of the gospel? Why can’t the gospel be preached simply from the center of God’s mercy and love?

Before we can know where we need to be we must know where we are. Without understanding the power and depths of our depravity we cannot fully understand the need for the gospel and its power.

Oppression and Suppression of the Truth
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”   In Romans 1: 18-32 we have a description of humanity in its lowest state of sin and misery. Since the antithesis began in the garden oppression has a grip on the hearts and minds of the creatures that God created to be His image-bearers. Instead of obedience to God man has rebelled, and stirred the wrath of God upon us all.

Instead of accepting all that God has created as evidence of His rule and reign over us, man continues to suppress the truth. “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

Even as God proved the weakness of our thinking and living on our own, with Adam and Eve, so in giving man up to their own lusts, He reveals how deep into our own depravity we come without Him. Under the power of oppression and sin man suppresses the truth and love of God; and becomes as the lowest creatures, following their own lusts as they have no power of righteousness within them.

Having read and studied Paul’s letter to the Romans, meditating on the truths that are written there, I was not prepared for the tears that came during this sermon. Knowing the mercy and love of God that comes through the power of the gospel of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and how Paul was not ashamed to live and proclaim this salvation for righteousness, I am amazed at how the ungodly are not ashamed of their sin, and of those who “give approval to those who practice them.”

We, as a congregation, were reminded that we, though believers are part of this fallen humanity, still subject to the oppression and temptation to sin.  It is only through the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ that we have any hope of righteousness and of escaping God’s wrath.

I praise the Lord for such power of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit that works faith by His grace, (Ephesians 2:8-10) to make known to us and overcome the ungodliness and unrighteousness in us who believe.  This power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  (Ephesians 1:19-20; Ephesians 2:1-6) a power greater than the oppression of this world and our sin.

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:11

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for this letter to the Romans. Please open our hearts to hear, and obey the gospel wherein your righteousness is revealed from faith for faith to us. Keep us aware of our own nature; keep us close to you. Search us and know our hearts; try us and know our thoughts; see if there be any wicked way in us; and lead us the way everlasting. Fill us with the power of your Spirit to speak the truth of Christ ~ not ashamed but eager to share the gospel of Christ wherever you lead us.

Related articles:
The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Obligated and Eager
The Father’s Glory and Mother Nature