We too often have a simplistic understanding of sin and judgment. This understanding is true as far as it goes, and is consistent with the teaching of Scripture that a man reaps what he sows. This is obviously true, but Scripture also encourages us to think past this point. It is also true that a man is reaping while he is sowing.
Our tendency is to think that if we do thus and such then at some future date we will receive a righteous recompense. And this is true. The Bible teaches that every idle word spoken will be considered in the judgment. It is appointed to man once to die, and after this the judgment for deeds done in the body, whether good or evil.
But there is more to it. The Bible teaches in numerous ways that sin is a judgment. In the book of Romans, Paul tells us that the wrath of God is visited upon men by God giving men up (Rom. 1:18,24). When He gives them up to their lusts, they then run headlong into more sin, and this blind state of theirs not only incurs more judgment, it has to be considered as a judgment in itself.
Another example can be seen in the book of Proverbs. “The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein” (22:14). The sexually promiscuous think that in their behavior they are escaping from God and His standards at just the moment when they are falling under His judgment. In a frenzy of unbelief a man has leaped off a high cliff – with God’s intention for him seen in the rocks below. But for a short while the man thinks he is flying.
This has general cultural ramifications. Many conservative Christians who are concerned about the state of our nation are concerned about judgment in the simpler sense. They believe that if we do not turn from the course we are on, then at some future date we will fall under the judgment of God. Almost no one sees that we have already fallen under the judgment of God.
There are countless examples of this. Consider for a moment the abortion carnage. We still think that abortion-on-demand will cause God to visit us with some horrible judgment. But we should consider for a moment the possibility that this judicial frenzy is a blow from the hand of God. Our Supreme Court is clothed in black robes and blindness. In the abstract, if someone were to tell us about a nation that executes a million and half babies a year, legally, the conclusion ought to be that this was the result of God’s anger with them. What did they do that He would visit this horror upon them? Of course, more judgment is to come, but rightly considered, the judgments have already begun to fall.
Not only can sodomy be publicly celebrated in our streets, but we have mechanisms of discipline in place for any who might object. To protest such things is to be guilty of some kind of “hate crime.” Not only have we as a people lost the ability to distinguish male and female, we have also lost the ability to tell the difference between hate and love.
Questions about women in combat are raised, and no one in the church knows how to answer them. This is because we have been judicially blinded. If a wise man were somehow to get the floor in Congress, it would make everyone laugh out loud. What a throwback. Unfortunately, the same response would be likely at more than one denominational conference.
And things are no better among heterosexuals. Many men among us have pursued many strange women. And why? Because God detested them. And as this has become the norm for us culturally, we have to say that God detests that too. The free love revolution of the sixties was a judgment from God, and not just fodder for future judgments. What were we doing that brought this upon us?
Instead of seeking to persuade others that we should confess these sins lest God respond in judgment, we in the church should begin to confess the sins for which these things are the judgment. This is hard for us because when we think back to the time before this cultural meltdown began, we do not see a self-satisfied complacency which angered God. Rather we see a paradise of traditional values. Conservatives like to look back at that golden age, before the Beatles came to America, before Harriet divorced Ozzie and left him for a New Age lesbian. We want to think that we had it good back then, but we threw it all away. But we actually were in high rebellion against God back then, but liked to pretend we were not. This means that in the judgments that have befallen us since, God is stripping away our illusions. And about the only people today who are seeking to retain those older illusions are the Christians. More than a few Christians are urging us to try to get away from the judgments – and back to the sin. But the prophet Jeremiah warned about the sin of healing the wound lightly, crying peace where there is none. But this is what we in fact do.
In the church we have not worshipped God as we ought to have done. We have not let His Word settle what we believe and do. We have submitted to a false teaching that says that salt doesn’t really have to make anything salty, and that light does not have to actually illumine. We have maintained, as a point of doctrinal principle that salt exists to be trampled upon by men. And this in its turn is a chastisement of God’s upon the church. Faced with the spiritual poverty of the modern evangelical church, we still love to have it so.