The sign said, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” It advertised a scandalous entertainment establishment. On the same sign were also the words, “God Bless America!” The prayer for God’s blessing and the invitation to celebrate clearly carnal behavior were on the same sign. Amazing. The connection between morality and faith, immorality and judgment are virtually gone – at least in the mainstream culture. We have lost our ability to blush at sin. The concept of sin and iniquity, of subsequent judgment are dismissed. Even the church does not draw the lines clearly. So, culturally, we no longer believe that God’s blessing is connected to a standard of personal and corporate moral responsibility! People now not only live in sin, open sin, but they proudly promote sin – and simultaneously feel free to pray for God’s blessings. They see no disconnect between the holy God to whom they pray and the immorality they foster.
Sin, if anyone does believe such a thing exists, has been redefined. It is failing yourself, disappointing your friends, lacking success in some way due to some personal mistake or non-productive choice. Sin is now said to be a mere violation of some personal standard – there are no absolutes. Such a mindset privatizes sin. It makes all sin personal and relative – sin to you is not sin to me! Guilt is a neurotic condition that comes by imposing an overly harsh standard on oneself. Those who suggest that absolute moral standards apply to all are moral crusaders from a dark and unenlightened era. They are non-moderns who are cruel and malevolent, uncaring and joyless. They want to impose their own narrow values on others.
As a nation, we stand at a crossroads with either disaster or awakening as our only options. And repentance is the difference between the two.
This is an excerpt from the Praying Church Handbook, Volume II and can be ordered at alivepublications.org.