The Spiritual Condition of America–Memorial Day 2016
I want to start by saying that I respect, honor, and cherish all the fallen soldiers who have died fighting for our country. These men and women have sacrificed to great measures to ensure our freedom here in America May God continue to pour out his blessings upon their families, as well as the families of those who served in the past who are still living, and for those who are on active duty.
Today, I wanted to also talk about the spiritual condition of our nation. On every patriotic holiday, I write this article to give an update on how things are progressing spiritually in our country.
As I was praying to the Lord about what to write about in today’s article, God took me to a passage of Scripture in Romans 10:
Romans 10:16-21 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (20) But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. (21) But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Alright, let’s break this down verse-by-verse.
In Romans 10, Paul is primarily writing about the Gospel and salvation. In fact, the entire chapter appears to be centered around the salvation that is offered through Christ Jesus. In verse 16, however, Paul transitions from talking about how to be saved to those who have decided to reject the gift of salvation. He says, “But they have not all obeyed the Gospel…”
If we look at the word obeyed in the Greek, it means to to hear under (as a subordinate), that is, to listen attentively; by implication to heed or conform to a command or authority: – hearken, be obedient to, obey. If we look at the root word for obey in the Greek, we also see that it means to be “under or beneath something”. The second root word for obey can literally mean to “hear or give.” Thus, the phrase “obeyed the Gospel” in verse 16 most literally means: they have not all been under the hearing/reporting/proclaiming of the Gospel. Basically, there are some that have simply refused to hear the Gospel.
In the next half of the verse, the Apostle Paul quotes a passage of Scripture in Isaiah:
Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
If we look at the word report in the Hebrew, the word report literally means an announcement:—bruit, doctrine, fame, mentioned, news, report, rumor, tidings. The root word for the Hebrew word used for report in Isaiah 53 interestingly means to stun (or intransitively, grow numb), i.e. devastate or (figuratively) stupefy (both usually in a passive sense):—make amazed, be astonished. Thus, report means an amazing doctrine/an amazing news/an astonishing thing. Of course, the only amazing news that has been made in the entire Bible is the Good News–The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
However, Isaiah in this rhetorical question, “Who hath believed our report?”, bears witness to the fact that there are several people who have refused to hear the Gospel. Paul answers this rhetorical question in verse number 17 of Romans 10.
(17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If the word obedience means to be “under the hearing/instruction of” and if the word report means “an astonishing announcement/doctrine, an amazing news”, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, comes to the conclusion that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Nobody can just inherently get saved. Someone has to HEAR the Gospel preached to them, either by a Gospel tract, a soul-winner, a preacher, etc. Someone doesn’t just wake up knowing the Gospel. It has to be preached unto them.
In verse 18, however, Paul puts his emphasis on those who have refused to believe:
(18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Paul asks a rhetorical question here to exemplify his point: Have they not heard? The reason why Paul asks this question is because he knew good and well that the first people he (and the rest of the apostles) preach to were the Jews.
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
The book of Acts actually records the first places in which Paul preached the Gospel after his conversion. The Bible lucidly states, “But SHEWED FIRST unto them of Damascus, AND AT JERUSALEM…” When Paul asks the rhetorical question in Romans 10:18, he was well aware that he shewed first the Gospel to the Jews. The Jews were among the first to hear the Gospel. Thus, there is absolutely no question whether or not the Jews have heard the Gospel.
As Americans, we have been blessed to live in a nation that allows us to worship God freely. There is a church on almost every street corner and there are several hundred Bible-believing churches in the United States in which the Gospel is preached every time the doors are open. However, with so much of the Gospel being preached in our nation, America has shut their ears to the hearing of the Gospel, and has refused to get saved because of their own unbelief.
(18b) “…Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
Notice how in verse 18, the Apostle Paul says that their sound (the Gospel) not only reached the Jews, but “went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” This ought to tell us that world evangelization was accomplished in Paul’s day. The whole world heard the Gospel. In other words, Paul is saying that the Jews, being the first ones to hear the Gospel, have absolutely no excuse as to why they did not get saved.
Once again, America has had the privilege of being able to worship freely and hear the Gospel preached in thousands of churches every Sunday. Yet, America has become the most wicked, carnal, gainsaying, disobedient nation on the planet. Why? Let’s take a look at verse 19:
(19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
While this verse is specifically directed to the Jews, it can apply to us as well. While America has an abundance of Gospel preaching and abundance of Bible-believing churches, more people have been genuinely won to Christ and are making a difference in other countries than in America. It is a sad but very true reality. As America becomes more and more carnal, the more other people in other countries start getting saved and making a difference in their countries.
Just like in Paul’s day, as the Jews continued to reject the Gospel, multitudes of Gentiles would get saved and begin making a difference in their countries. The same concept applies today.
Finally, let’s take a look at verse 20:
Rom 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
In this verse, Isaiah Isaiah is saying that the Jews, who had the Old Testament to show them that a Messiah would come, and who had the prophecy to tell them that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah, they refused to believe and rejected God’s gift of salvation. The Gentiles, on the other hand, who did not have the Old Testament prophecies, were the ones who believed and got saved. Of course, not all of the Gentiles believed, but there were several that did because they had the child-like faith to believe that whatever God’s Word said was true.
Unfortunately, for America we have become a disobedient and gainsaying (denying, contradiction, opposing) people:
Romans 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
May God bless you all.