The Bible talks about God's judgment, and He has judged nations in history. Does God judge nations even today, and if He does will America also be judged? Theologian John Piper answers these questions in his latest post on the Desiring God blog.
In judgment, God hands over the impenitent to hardening in this life and also punishes nations in history, both Israel and others, writes Piper, founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, as he shares how the Scriptures speak of God's judgment.
There will be a final judgment of all people at the end of history, Piper adds. "The death of Jesus was God's final punitive judgment on all who believe in Christ … Individuals are sometimes judged in this life, but, for Christians, all judgments are disciplinary, not destructive."
Piper, who served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minn., then asks what about judgment on nations today? "What about America as a whole?" He shares three biblical pointers to how God deals with nations today.
First, God is portrayed in the Bible as sovereign over the nations and ruling them for His purposes. Second, God tolerates sin in relation to nations up to a point, and then brings calamity. Third, the Bible also mentions the kinds of iniquity God has in mind when He says, "the wickedness of these nations."
Piper then turns readers' attention to the sequence of sin in Leviticus 18:20-25, where Moses refers to the sins that brought the nations of Canaan to the point of judgment.
It starts with adultery, and then child sacrifice – we call it abortion, Piper remarks – and then homosexuality and finally bestiality.
"In the West, we have moved to the point of open approval of adultery, child-killing, and homosexual intercourse. Will the open approval of bestiality be next? Probably," Piper goes on to say, pointing to a recent story in The Huffington Post about a woman finding on her boyfriend's phone pictures of him having sex with her dog.
Piper adds that our reaction to bestiality is about the same as most people's reaction to so-called homosexual "marriage" 50 years ago. "Is there any good reason to doubt that in fifty years the laws against bestiality (zoophilia) will have fallen the same way laws against homosexual intercourse have fallen in recent years?"
There is, therefore, a reason to anticipate that God would bring to ruin the nations that follow this course of corruption the way the Canaanites did, he argues.
However, history is not a straight line of inevitabilities, Piper adds. "God himself may step in and bring to His church a great revival of radical obedience, and a great awakening to the countries of the West. He is able. He has done it before. We should pray that He does."
In any case, the Gospel of Christ remains the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, according to Romans 1:16, Piper concludes. "No individual in Christ needs to fear God's judgment. We may be killed proclaiming biblical holiness, as Paul said in Romans 8:36, but in all these things we will be more than conquerors through him who loved us."