Will God continue to bless America? Or does He see a nation full of sin? It’s important to know, because sin inevitably brings its consequences.
Many in the United States probably think that God is just fine with us—we sing “God Bless America” and proclaim “In God We Trust” on our money. But are we truly trusting God?
Some likely think that since they aren’t atheists or pedophiles or armed robbers, they are okay before God—they don’t consider themselves to be sinners. But are there other evil and wicked things that God considers to be sin?
What is sin?
Many people hold different ideas about the meaning of sin. The Bible, however, provides a very simple definition: “Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). What is lawlessness? This English word is translated from the Greek word anomia. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, “The word has the objective sense of ‘having no law’ and the subjective sense of ‘paying no heed to law.’” The Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon further adds that the word means “to behave with complete disregard for the laws or regulations of a society; to live lawlessly; living without regard to law, in the sense of refusing to obey laws.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says it also means “contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness.”
Those who practice lawlessness—living as if God’s laws do not apply to them—do not have a good future. Notice what Jesus stated in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Our society is filled with lawlessness, and it infects all of us. If we truly followed the laws of God, we wouldn’t be committing the various sins that are so rampant today.
A look at one sin
Take adultery, for example. Jesus taught us that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). All one has to do is look at the increase in pornography to realize that adultery is ever present.
Rather than following God, we are not only tolerating, but even normalizing strip clubs, nudity in movies and magazines, X-rated sexually themed cable TV programs, Internet porn sites that include despicable child pornography, violent and overtly sexual video games, the production of sex robots, and the acceptance of outright liaisons with mistresses.
How many famous actors, business leaders and presidents in our nation have had adulterous relationships? The growth in pornography and increasing numbers of marriages that end in divorce bear witness that many Americans break and disregard God’s command against these activities.
Thousands of marriages and families have been broken because of this one sin. Too many have been hurt—including children who’ve had the security of their homes ripped to shreds.
We tend to sweep all this under the rug and say that one’s personal sex life is nobody’s business. But the moment it affects someone else, it’s no longer “nobody else’s business”! And most important, it is God’s business. He sees all that is going on; He is saddened and angered that so many are being harmed by this sin; and He wants us to repent (2 Peter 3:9).
We can’t change society, but we must change ourselves and put away the lawlessness of adultery.
The sin of murder
What about murder?
God sent the prophet Ezekiel to warn ancient Israel of their sinning. And when we read Ezekiel’s words, it’s as if he was writing to us. That’s not surprising because God’s warning through Ezekiel applies to all people at all times and especially to the modern descendants of Israel. That includes the peoples of America and Britain. (For more on this, see our booklet The United States, Britain and the Commonwealth in Prophecy.)
Among Ezekiel’s many prophecies, in one particular chapter he highlighted a number of sins that infected ancient Israel. Those same sins are found in our country today.Among Ezekiel’s many prophecies, in one particular chapter he highlighted a number of sins that infected ancient Israel. Those same sins are found in our country today. Notice what Ezekiel wrote beginning in Ezekiel 22:1-2: “Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Yes, show her all her abominations!’”
What were all her abominations?
The shedding of blood is mentioned first. “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘The city sheds blood in her own midst. … You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed’” (verses 3-4).
What would God say of us today? How much bloodshed is occurring in our country’s streets? Chicago, Baltimore, East St. Louis, New York, San Francisco—everywhere—there are murders. And abortion is murder too (see our article “Is Abortion Wrong?”).
And there is something else to consider. Some may think: “Well, I haven’t murdered anyone or had an abortion—so, I’m not a murderer.” But Jesus said that “whoever is angry with his brother … shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22). And we read from the apostle John: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15).
Just look at the hate and anger that crop up because of bigotry against one’s race or color or politics. Look at the almost daily reports of road rage—people have lost their lives fighting over parking places! Many people are sensing a general spirit of anger growing.
Where is the love toward neighbor? Jesus Christ warned that “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). That is already happening!
The sin of Sabbath breaking
Another sin listed in Ezekiel 22 has to do with God’s Sabbath: “You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths” (verse 8).
Do we even know when God’s Sabbath is? Most people see Sunday as the day of worship—but that is not the biblical Sabbath. Sunday was the day on which pagans worshipped the sun god—Baal. (Read the article “When and How Did the Change in Worship From Saturday to Sunday Occur?”)
Do we honestly believe that God doesn’t care which day we worship on?Do we honestly believe that God doesn’t care which day we worship on? He set aside the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) as holy beginning at creation, and the Fourth Commandment tells us to remember Him on that day. Are we doing that?
What about the other commanded festivals of God, such as the Days of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles? Rather than the religious holy seasons God gives in the Bible, somewhere in the past we replaced them with Christmas and Easter, both originating in paganism. Christmas is based on Yule, a pagan festival of the winter solstice, and is one of the “days of the Baals.” And God said to Israel, “I will punish her for the days of the Baals” (Hosea 2:13).
God also condemned the religious leaders for not obeying Him. “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).
Ancient Israel went into captivity because of these sins they had not repented of (2 Kings 17). And this will happen in one way or another to America and Britain, too, unless we repent of Sabbath breaking and substituting pagan holidays for God’s holy days.
So, isn’t it time we quit keeping pagan holidays and stop profaning God’s Sabbaths? (To learn the difference between these days, read the booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You.)
Greed. Greed saturates our society today, permeating all institutions of business, government and education. Millions of people have been harmed by its insidious effects, such as fraud and corruption.
In this same chapter, Ezekiel 22, God lashed out against Israel for her greed and taking advantage of others—especially the needy. This section indicted the government leaders, the religious authorities and the people themselves.
- “In you they have made light of father and mother; … in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow” (verse 7).
- “‘In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take usury and increase; you have made profit from your neighbors by extortion, and have forgotten Me,’ says the Lord GOD” (verse 12).
- “Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst” (verse 13).
- “The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst” (verse 25).
- “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain” (verse 27).
- “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy” (verse 29).
This sounds all too familiar today. The Bible clearly shows there is nothing wrong with working hard, making a profit and becoming wealthy. But it is sinful to profit at the expense of others or to neglect those needing financial relief.
Many have noted our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage as a reason for our prosperity. But that heritage should have included more than just having a good work ethic or having comparatively good morals.
What we should be emphasizing is the need to have a godly heritage. The Psalmist set us an example: “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever” (Psalm 119:111).
Yet how many people in this country even know what the testimonies or commandments of God are? If we don’t start following God’s words and quit practicing sin, we are going to be punished. “I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you” (Ezekiel 22:15).
God looked on ancient Israel and came to a sad conclusion. “So I sought for a man among them who would … stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (verse 30).
But what about us? Will we be the ones God can find so that He doesn’t destroy the land? Just think if everyone would repent as the citizens of Nineveh did during the days of Jonah. Disaster was avoided. People were saved from destruction.
However, even if our nation will not repent, you and I must change! We have to quit hating, lusting in our hearts, celebrating pagan-based holidays and being greedy. And we must determine to keep God’s Sabbaths holy—all of them.
The 10 Commandments define God’s laws, and they are not suggestions. They are the basis for loving God and loving our fellow man. They are for all people, and while this article has focused on how poorly Americans are heeding God, all other nations need to seriously address this issue as well.
This is the challenge set before us. Will we do it? For help in that endeavor, please read the booklet Change Your Life!