The Problem with Repentance
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, (Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV)
The United States of America is at a crossroads. It is a far greater decision we must make than choosing between capitalism or socialism, conservative or progressive, Republican or Democrat. We stand at the junction of survival and desolation. God has put the ball in our court so to speak. We have the power to choose whether we will be the recipients of His continued benevolence or whether we will feel the wrath of His judgment. Our collective decision hinges on a single issue; obedience or continued rebellion against the commandments of God.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 ESV)
However, The United States of America cannot repent. A government can neither rebel nor repent. Real estate set apart by geographic boundaries does not have a heart, a mind, or a conscience. When we call upon any nation to repent, we are calling upon the men and women who live within those borders to repent. We are not calling upon a government to repent. We call upon those who hold offices within that government to repent of their personal and corporate sins, and having repented, to show the fruit of their repentance by enacting legislation in keeping with the laws of God and repealing laws which mock God.
As they laid the foundations of the nation, our founders entered into covenants with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In his inaugural address our first President, George Washington, spoke these powerful words:
“Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
Washington could not have been clearer: No nation should expect the blessings of God should they turn away from Him, and reject His “eternal rules of order and right.” The nation that turns away from God will surely lose the blessings He has bestowed upon her.
Upon taking the oath of office, Washington became the federal head of the United States of America, and as such he entered into a covenant with God. This Covenant was not made with some “higher power” or an unknowable theistic force of the universe. He entered into covenant with the God of the Bible; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Washington entered into a covenant on behalf of the nation that America would follow God. That covenant, made with the agreement of the Congress, stipulated that should America turn from God America would lose His favor and blessings. Washington was sure God would keep His promise. God always keeps His promises. The greater issue is this: Would America honor the covenant as well?
America has not kept the covenant and as a result America has forfeited the blessings of that covenant. One piece of shocking evidence of this forfeiture was delivered to our shores early on the morning of September 11, 2001 when for the first time since the Revolution, America was successfully attacked by the enemies from which God had so long protected the nation.
Many politicians in Washington, as well as state and local levels are moving America further and further away from that covenant. It goes much deeper than states enacting laws which establish state sanctioned infanticide. We have not simply forgotten God, we have tried to kick God out of office. We have foolishly thought we could impeach God, and America is paying the price of that disastrous delusion. I watch and listen to the inflamed rhetoric that consumes our nation today I am reminded of the warning of God, “professing themselves to be wise, they have become fools.” (Romans 1:22)
Selling out to sin has made us stupid. Stupid people say stupid things, they do stupid things, they embrace stupid ideas as they parade themselves about shouting their stupidity as if it were political and social genius when it’s still the same ungrateful heart of the prodigal wallowing around in the pig slop of his own making – – all sides declaring that their particular brand of pig slop is better than the other. And here is the greatest evidence of our political and cultural stupidity: Despite every malicious attempt to marginalize godly influence, God is still on the Throne of the Universe and despite our prideful national confidence, we cannot sustain our nation apart from the favor and protection of God. Yet, here we are, waving our partisan flags and spewing our oppositional defiance, vomiting out our profanity, protesting and counter protesting, name calling, beating up old men with red hats and gleefully leaping on the carcasses of our fallen enemies in hopes that our howls will mask our own guilt, woefully unaware that dark clouds of judgment are gathering over us.
Our problem is not that we have the wrong man in the White House or the wrong speaker in the House – our problem is we have the wrong god on the throne.
Josiah became king over Israel at the tender age of eight years old after his father had been assassinated in 604 B.C. He reigned for 34 years and during his reign Josiah was instrumental in bringing the people of Israel to a renewed relationship with God. He was responsible for closing down pagan worship sites and practices and restoring the Davidic worship to the temple. My friend John Goyette says in his book, THE POWER OF RETURN, that every spiritual renewal in Biblical history saw the rise of strong and godly leadership. We need strong, godly leaders who will walk in the anointing of God, who are fearless before the enemies of God, and who will set their face like a flint to the restoration of America to the covenants of God established by our founders. This type of leader cannot be merely elected; he must be raised up by the Hand of God Himself. This one will come only through much prayer and fasting.
There is open warfare in Washington right now. We can see the political warfare, but most are not aware of the warfare in the shadows, in the spiritual, unseen realm. It is not a warfare between Republicans and Democrats — it is a war waged with powers and principalities, spiritual wickedness in high places. It is a warfare for the soul of America, and it troubles me that so many within the church somehow feel that this warfare can be won in the political arena. It cannot be won through elections and legislation. This war must be won on our knees using spiritual, not carnal weapons of warfare.
America has abandoned our covenant with God and America needs a Josiah.
The church can show the way by the confession and repentance from our own sins, which are far greater than we would care to admit. However, the church as an institution cannot repent. Institutions do not repent, people repent. As with America, the church needs strong, godly leadership to rise up in this generation to pull us back from the brink of complete apostasy. In fact, much of what we see in America is not the church; it is not the Bride of Christ. There is a religious whore passing herself off as the church.
The church of 21st century America is essentially apostate. Wolves roam around in priestly vestments daring to say they speak for God as they cunningly lead witless sheep into perdition. Under the banner of “God is Still Speaking,” they declare that God speaks differently now than He once did. The God of the 21st century is nicer, kinder, more tolerant, universally accepting. There is no blood, no cross, no confession of sin, no repentance needed; and absolutely no judgment. Church councils sit in judgment of the Word of God, declaring His verdicts to be unreasonable and invalid in today’s enlightened society. Men and women in clerical garb walk through abortion clinics, sprinkling “holy water” to bless torture chambers where the innocent are heartlessly ripped in pieces from their mother’s womb, declaring abortion to be God’s work. Those deceivers must be named for who they are and identified for what they are. Of course, anyone who exposes the false prophet is called divisive and hateful, destroying the unity of the church; as if these soothsayers are actually a part of the church. They are not, and all true believers must separate themselves from them. Leaders in the Body of Christ must repent of our cowardice as we have allowed ravenous wolves to ravage and destroy lives in the name of God.
The church must repent of its tepid defense of Biblical principles and spiritual lifestyle. Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16. ESV). As false teachers have systematically reduced the Word of God to a collection of fables, stories, and platitudes; principles suggested, but not commanded, we have stood by while the justice of God has been subjugated to the love of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has been reduced in the eyes of men to little more than a pussycat. Pulpits have been bullied into silence by feminist, LBGTQ, and pro-abortion activists under threat of harassment and prosecution. We have become so desensitized to the horror of abortion that even our opposition to the practice of murdering babies has become little more than a groan as opposed to the roar it should be.
The problem with repentance is that it must be accompanied by agreement with God about our sin. It must be bathed in genuine sorrow for not only what we’ve done, but what we’ve become – and it requires that we abandon our sin. The problem with repentance in America is that America is not in agreement with God.