Scripture and the Church

Present World Conditions: 'Judgment Must Begin At the House of God'

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The job of Christ's Church is not to bring pressure, to protest, or otherwise engage in political action. The unbelieving world can do all of that, but it cannot do what only we can.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

The job of Christ's Church is not to bring pressure, to protest, or otherwise engage in political action. The unbelieving world can do all of that, but it cannot do what only we can: Engage in intercessory prayer for the nation, preach the one true Gospel and the righteousness it alone can bring about, and pray for the anointing power of the Holy Spirit - and live out the righteousness of God as Christ-like examples before a world that will frequently scoff at us. Only the Gospel can change the hearts of a rebellious people, and the Holy Spirit does that one soul at a time. Salvation is not national, but individual.

America, along with much of the rest of the world, is plunging into moral and spiritual disaster at breathtaking speed. As one columnist put it, we live in a time of "the insanity that passes for normal and the wrong that masquerades as right." The commentator went on to say,

We haven't just accepted as normal what was heretofore considered abnormal; we are, increasingly, embracing evil while calling it good and demonizing those who are still "clinging" to traditional [to put it more accurately, Biblical] values. Unless you buy into the self-destructive course much of our society has decided to pursue, unless you consent to the systematic dismantling of our core foundations, you are the problem.

This perverted view of good and evil may be the "new normal" in America, but it is not new in world history. Nearly 3,000 years ago, God spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah against Israel and Judah:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21).

Much more recently, the United Kingdom, having long ago rejected authentic Biblical Christianity, within a span of four years (1965-1969) legalized abortion, abolished capital punishment, decriminalized homosexuality, and instituted a so-called "no fault" divorce law which made Biblical marriage the exception rather than the norm. In the ensuing decades most other European nations, the United States and Canada, and many Latin American countries (including Argentina, the home of the present pope of Rome) have followed a similar course, and worse.

During his second term in office, President Barack Obama made a speech of commendation to an organization that has slaughtered millions of the unborn, and he strongly criticized those who oppose the horror of abortion. He concluded by saying, "We are truly grateful to you. Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you."

Friends, God does not turn a blind eye to such blatant moral perversion. A pro-life commentator truly said that this vile organization should be called "Planned Butcherhood". Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), one of the founders of Planned Parenthood, wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization that blacks, latinos, those born with birth defects, and the disabled were "inferior" blots upon society who should be removed from it through abortion, euthanasia, and withholding medical treatment - and, by implication, other sinister means including outright genocide. A century later, America and many other countries are carrying out Margaret Sanger's satanic vision. I tremble to think of the condemnation that is building up against this nation. Truly there is "woe to those who call evil good, and good evil."

All of this moral decay shares a common root cause: The abandonment of the authority of the Word of God. That abandonment began not in the unbelieving world, but generations ago in evangelical churches. It has spread from there throughout society. In the present generation nominally evangelical churches in America and elsewhere, having substituted worldly philosophy for sound doctrine, bear a great responsibility for the present headlong decline.

Likewise, the decay in America and elsewhere can only be reversed by repentance - submission to the unique authority of Scripture, beginning in Christ's true Church. As the Holy Spirit warns us through Peter,

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the Gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" [This is a reference to Proverbs 11:31] Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:12-19)

Christ's true Church has almost always been a relatively small remnant traveling in the ark of Biblical safety on tumultuous seas of unbelief, but God has always done His greatest work through such remnants. Dear friends, we must stand fast as God's remnant in this remarkably evil time. The job of Christ's Church is not to bring pressure, to protest, or otherwise engage in political action. The unbelieving world can do all of that, but it cannot do what only we can: Engage in intercessory prayer for the nation, preach the one true Gospel and the righteousness it alone can bring about, pray for the anointing power of the Holy Spirit - and live out the righteousness of God as Christ-like examples before a world that will frequently scoff at us. Only the Gospel can change the hearts of a rebellious people, and the Holy Spirit does that one soul at a time. Salvation is not national, but individual. The Gospel of Christ alone is "the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). We must recognize that the battle is not merely a matter of the visible, but far more vitally a conflict of the invisible:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

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