In Romans, Paul tells us how God deals with people in rebellious nations. He says that God "gives them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity" (Romans 1:24). In other words, God steps back, lowers His hedge of protection around the nation, and allows sin to multiply as a judgment upon the nation.
The first consequence is a sexual revolution like the one that occurred in America in the 1960's. Paul refers to it as the "dishonoring of their bodies" (Romans 1:24).
Paul says that if this judgment does not produce repentance, God will take another step back and lower His hedge of protection even further. In this second stage, He will deliver the nation to "degrading passions" (Romans 1:26). Paul explains that this judgment will be manifested in a plague of homosexuality. He says women will exchange the natural function for that which is unnatural, and men will abandon the natural function of the woman and burn in their desire toward one another, "men with men committing indecent acts" (Romans 1:26-27). Paul even mentions that those who participate in such evil will receive in their own bodies "the due penalty of their error" (Romans 1:27). Thus, the modern day AIDS epidemic is portrayed clearly as a judgment of God.
Nor is that the end of the process. Again, Paul notes that if the society persists in its rebellion, God will take another step back and lower His hedge of protection even further, giving them over "to a depraved mind" (Romans 1:28). At that point Paul says the society will become like the one he describes in 2 Timothy 3 — "filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful..." (Romans 1:29-31).
He then adds a sobering thought: "We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things" (Romans 2:2).
Teetering on the Edge of Destruction
America has reached the third and final stage that leads from judgment to destruction. God has placed judgment after judgment on our nation in an attempt to call us to repentance — judgments like the war in Vietnam, the drug epidemic, the AIDS plague, the disintegration of the family, civil riots, violence in the schools, and natural disasters.
But we have refused to repent. We have, in fact, set our jaw against God, determined to go our own way and do our own thing. This attitude was manifested in the incredible proclamation issued by President Bill Clinton in June of 1999 when he called for Americans to "celebrate" homosexuality. He declared June 1999 to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.8 I responded by sending him an email message in which I asked, "What will you ask us to 'celebrate' next? Will you proclaim Adultery Pride Month? What about a month honoring prostitutes or pedophiles?" President Obama resumed this practice of designating the month of June to celebrate sexual perversion, but he has expanded it to include the LGBT community (lesbians, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered).
[The following paragraph was written in the year 2000.] The interesting thing is that despite our continuing rebellion, God has not yet touched our false god — the Almighty Dollar. I suspect He is still patiently waiting for us to repent, and if we fail to do so, He will destroy our god with the greatest economic collapse in recorded history, one that will reduce us to Third World status and remove us from our position as the world's only super power.
God brought the Soviet Union down overnight, and He can do the same to us, just as He did to the super power Babylon in ancient history. At the time He touched the Soviet Union, it was the world's greatest military power. But all its nuclear weapons and missiles could not protect it from the hand of God. Overnight the Soviet Union was reduced to political and economic chaos.
Begging for Judgment
The destruction that will fall upon us will be much worse, "for to those to whom much is given, much is expected" (Luke 12:48). The Russian people can say, "We did not know." But what can Americans say? We have been blessed like no other nation since ancient Israel. In addition to our political and economic blessings, we have been blessed spiritually with a saturation of the Gospel. We have an average of five Bibles in each home, we have radio and television evangelists, and we have an over abundance of churches. We have no excuse before God.
The Bible teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning. He has been warning America for three decades through His judgments and His prophets. He has raised up prophetic voices throughout the land to warn the people of impending judgment — voices like Dave Wilkerson in New York City, whom I considered to be God's Jeremiah to America. [Wilkerson was killed in a car accident in 2011.]
Non-Christians have understandably mocked these warnings as "millennial madness." What is tragic is that many Christian leaders have also responded with ridicule. Many Christians seem to believe that God sits on His throne draped in an American flag, and that He would never touch His "anointed nation." After all, isn't He dependent on the wealth and influence and technology of America to spread the Gospel all over the world?
A Biblical Example of National Arrogance
It has happened before. When God got ready to pour out His wrath on ancient Judah, He raised up prophets like Micah and Jeremiah to warn the people of their impending doom. And what was their response? They pointed to the Lord's Temple and assured the prophets that God would never allow anything to happen to it (Jeremiah 7:1-4). They were safe, they thought, because the Shekinah glory of God resided in their Temple. The prophets were "full of wind," they argued, because God would protect His Temple and the nation to which He had entrusted it (Jeremiah 5:13). Their attitude was arrogance gone to seed.
And so it is in America today. We are a proud nation. After all, we are "number one." In our pride we have turned our back on God. Like the Jews of biblical times, we want the blessings of God but not the God of the blessings.
In the final segment of this series on the decay of society, we'll answer how believers should face the inevitable persecution.
8) Bill Clinton, "Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, 1999," June 11, 1999. A proclamation by the President of the United States of America. Presidential proclamations are available on the Internet at http://www.whitehouse.gov.