"Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:11-13)This charge is true in many churches today. Professing Christians reinvent God to suit their own tastes, a god who has no expectations, a god who requires no repentance from sin, a god who will save them no matter how sinful they continue to be.
Witness the overwhelming success of The Shack. That book redefines God as a less-than-holy, do-anything-you-want-and-I'll-save-you kind of deity that is far removed from the God of the Bible.
And it's even more common to hear people claim that we have a blind god, that somehow God doesn't see them sin, because when He looks down from heaven, He sees Jesus instead of a sinner. Nonsense. Jeremiah has something to say to these people, as well:
"Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered!'--that you may do all these abominations?" (Jeremiah 7:8-10)God is not blind. He sees what everyone does, and he sees real Christians as holy and pure, because we are holy and pure in reality.
As Jeremiah continued in chapter two, I found this interesting:
"Is Israel a slave? Or is he a homeborn servant? Why has he become a prey? The young lions have roared at him, They have roared loudly. And they have made his land a waste; His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant. Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes Have shaved the crown of your head. Have you not done this to yourself By your forsaking the LORD your God when He led you in the way? But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the Euphrates? (Jeremiah 2:14-18)Why did Israel want to go back and drink from the waters of slavery? It simply doesn't make sense. Yet, we see it in the church today, people who time and again revisit their sinful past.
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:35-26)Why would a professing Christian want to go back and drink the waters of slavery? They guzzle the filthy sewage of sin, and not only commit sin, but claim that we all sin, thereby making themselves feel better about drinking the dirty water.
Fellowship in the mire of sin doesn't help their case. It's still filthy sewage. But they ignore the taste, they endure the nausea, and they reinterpret the warnings of Scripture so they can keep imbibing in the swill that holds them in bondage:
For if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)And our nation is also drinking dirty water. Over two hundred years ago, we won a war that helped us break free from the shackles of tyranny. Since that time, we have sacrificed blood and lives to keep us free from facism, socialism, and communism. We swept out that dirty water and preserved the fresh water of liberty.
So what are we doing now? Apparently electing a president who holds to every ideal the dirty water stands for. This nation has forgotten what it was like to live under tyranny. It has forgotten the sacrifices we made to keep us from living under the boot of socialism. And now we have apparently turned on the nozzle to the sewage pipeline and are waiting to drink freely from the filthy water.
Why has this happened? I think Jeremiah provides the answer.
"Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the LORD your God, and the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord GOD of hosts. "For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your bonds; But you said, 'I will not serve!' For on every high hill And under every green tree You have lain down as a harlot. Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD. (Jeremiah 2:19-22)As Jeremiah indicates, God is not blind to sin. He sees the stain of iniquity. And it's interesting to note how this nation will likely be corrected ... by its own wickedness. As this country turns to socialism, we will bring about our own downfall. We will once again learn what it means to suffer under the yoke of tyranny, and when we learn that lesson, maybe we'll be able to cast it off once again.
Then again, maybe not. When we cast the yoke off before, many in this nation held to a semblance of spiritual truth. It seems that this Shack church society has lost any concept of truth and how it is derived and maintained. They look to feelings and not to God as He is revealed in Scripture.
Without the faith of the bedrock people of the land, when the boot of socialism presses down on our necks we might crumble and be blown away. Why? Because there will be too few left who understand the principles of faith in a God who is holy, just, and filled with wrath against sin. Only He can keep us from buckling. Only He can restore us, both the nation and the church, to the great institutions we once were.
But we have to sweep out the dirty water. Just as we cannot abide with socialism in our republic, we cannot abide with sin in our church. We cannot be like those Jeremiah derided, those hypocrites who stand at the altar and shout, "We are delivered," while lifting up their sin-stained hands. We cannot pretend that we have a blind god who cannot see sin.
We desperately need a new standard in the church today, one that strikes down the old banner across our doors that says, "Sinners, saved by grace." No, our banner should read, "Saints by the grace of God and in practice." For that is what we are called to be, saints who drink only the water of life, the life of true liberty, for we refuse to be bound by those chains again.