"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14).
I fully realize that this statement from Jehovah is primarily aimed at Israel of old. However, I also fully realize that God's principal and fundamental character remains the same throughout generations. Who is "Israel" today? Who are the people who are called by His name today? We certainly agree that it is the church of Christ, do we not?
Speaking of the church of Christ, the apostle Paul emphasized that we are made up of both Jews and Gentiles. He writes, "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in O`see (Hosea), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God." (Romans 9:24-26).
The apostle Peter also emphasizes this fact: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10). Peter was certainly writing to the church, to a "begotten" people, a "born again" people. (1 Peter 1:3, 22-23).
Indeed, the church of Christ is the family of God. We are His children. "...that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15). The "house of God" is the "family of God," and this is "the church of the living God." God has loved us and called us, through the gospel, into His family. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God ..." (1 John 3:1). We are therefore children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:14-18). We ARE His people!
The passage we began with, 2 Chronicles 7:14, says that if God's people would humble themselves, pray to Him, seek Him, and turn from wickedness, He will hear, forgive, and "heal their land." Almost all readers of this article are Americans, citizens of the United States of America. Our nation is in peril, and it is because of wickedness. When God's people (the church of Christ) are strong and sound, the nation prospers. However, when God's people become weak and sickly, overlooking and even condoning doctrinal and moral sins, then the nation in which they live cannot prosper. Any nation is blessed because God's people are citizens of it. I have always believed that the United States of America providentially came into existence and is strong because of the church of Christ! Our nation is strong when the few faithful members of the church are strong.
This principle is seen in the record of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord said that He would not destroy those wicked cities if just ten righteous people could be found there. (Genesis 18:26-33). It is also seen in the record of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was told that if he could find a righteous man, God would spare them from Babylonian captivity. (Jeremiah 5:1). Sadly, in both instances, the few could not be found.
Many, today, are looking in politics for a balm for our sin-sick society. We are currently immersed in what promises to be a hotly contested Presidential campaign. I urge Christians to understand that the cure for our society's ills is not to be found in a certain political party, but in Christ. Surely you believe that God is in charge. Christians, do not overly concentrate your energies and efforts to support some party, but do all you can to help the church of Christ to be stronger, sounder, more solidly built upon the verbally inspired Scriptures. Our strength is in the Lord. (Psalm 18:1-2; 19:14; 28:7; 71:16; Isaiah 26:4; etc.). We need to be emphasizing God's revealed righteousness to this dark and lost world and to those children of God who are in error. (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Titus 2:11-12; James 5:19-20).
"Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34). When God's people are truly righteous, following the Word, God will lift up their nation - whether that nation is the United States or another. God will bless the nation of those who truly follow His right ways, even if they are comparatively few in number. The faithful have always been the few! -P.O. Box 285, Crum, WV 25669. firstname.lastname@example.org
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