I've been hearing a lot of lamentation of late from my American brothers and sisters over the moral decline, political direction, holocaust of the unborn, and diluted gospel preaching that is happening there. Many of these people fear that God will bring His judgment because of these things. But what if these trends are the judgment?
I am currently reading through my John Macarthur Study Bible and just loving his commentaries on the passages. To be sure, it doesn't guarantee that Macarthur will expound every passage correctly, but you do get the precious insights of a true laborer in the Word of God who has applied consistent historical grammatical hermeneutical (whew!!) principles in Scripture interpretation. One of the things that recently struck me in the book of Exodus was Macarthur's commentaries concerning the passages that say that God hardened Pharoah's heart. Many people wrestle with the idea of personal accountability for actions living alongside a Sovereign God Who controls EVERYTHING. Macarthur suggests that the hardening of Pharoah's heart is actually the lifting of God's common grace that would otherwise restrain Pharoah's heart from manifesting the wickedness it is capable of.
Common grace is what restrains society from acting out all the lust and corruption that dwells in the human heart. It maintains a certain level of order so that the Gospel can be preached and wicked hearts regenerated (yes, Scripture overwhelmingly concludes all men to be utterly depraved and unable to do anything pleasing to God outside of the regenerating work of His Holy Spirit, see Romans 3). There are many other aspects of common grace that I'll discuss in the coming days because I believe it will help us appreciate the unbelievable goodness of God so easily taken for granted. But, back to my initial question raised regarding whether the downward cultural spiral occuring in the USA will bring God's wrath or actually is God's wrath.
The first chapter of Romans seems to indicate that the lifting of common grace is part of the judgment of God on a society that opens the floodgates of perversion.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)
Do the words "God gave them up" send a chill down your spine? Does this sound like what we're seeing today. Marshall Foster once said that the difference between an American pagan and a European pagan is that the American will go to a porn cinema in a hat and dark glasses whereas the European will wave to his friends across the street as he enters the doors of that house of perversion. Unfortunately I am no longer shocked by sin, but the lack of shame about it really does shock me as a European resident. America, America, is this where you're heading?