Note: From May 20 to June 5, Franklin Graham led the 10-city Decision America California Tour—a series of one-day prayer and evangelism events across the Golden State. This article was originally published in the June issue of Decision Magazine.
As you read this, I will be crossing the state of California to preach in 10 cities on our Decision America California Tour. We are asking people to pray for our nation, confess their sins and join us in sharing the only true Hope we have through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can hardly think of another state in our union that is more morally liberal than California. It sadly reflects the ungodly secular agenda of progressives who have gained control over much of the Golden State’s affairs.
The state of California continues to display blatant hostility toward Christians. The U.S. Supreme Court will announce their ruling on a California bill that would require pro-life pregnancy clinics to inform their clients of the availability of abortion. Signs promoting abortion services and where to find these killing places would have to be prominently displayed. Of course, there is no such reciprocal stipulation that abortion centers display pro-life materials. Why? I can only suppose that some influential leaders in the state of California are doing their best to ensure that the unborn are murdered in the womb.
In another godless progressive initiative, the California State Assembly recently passed a bill to prohibit “the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer” that “includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward individuals of the same sex.”
As I write, the bill awaits the approval of the Senate and the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown to become law. If passed, that could well mean that the Bible itself could be banned, as well as any efforts from Christian pastors and counselors to preach or share the Gospel truth on the meaning of marriage and sexuality. In essence, all Christian orthodoxy and Biblical principles could be effectively outlawed and banned, all in the name of progressive liberalism that seeks to do nothing more than undermine and remove all Christian influence and thought in the public marketplace.
Of course, it’s not just California where radical, progressive leftists are doing all they can to destroy basic Christian morality and values. In June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which involves the religious liberty of a Christian baker, Jack Phillips, who refused to decorate a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Update: On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, stating that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed in its Constitutional obligation to show religious neutrality in its treatment of Phillips. Read the full story.
The impending ruling will be a watershed moment for those who love religious liberty and believe in the freedom of conscience to abide by our Biblically informed convictions. Christian photographers, florists, bakers and others who have taken strong stands for their faith have been systematically opposed by the past administration. I hope that as the Supreme Court along with the state and federal courts are populated with conservative, principled justices, we will see a decided change.
Even in my home state of North Carolina, there is trouble. Conservatives recently organized a “sex-ed sit out” of public schools to protest the immoral progressive agenda on sexuality that is being pushed on children even in elementary schools. I call it nothing less than “Pornography 101,” and it’s simply outrageous. The left is bent on nothing less than propagandizing the next generation with their godless rubbish. They want to destroy the family and rip apart the moral fabric of our nation.
Just like the first-century Romans, they have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (Romans 1:25). “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions” (1:26) and “gave them over to a debased mind” (1:28). That is dangerous enough, but even worse, they “also approve of those who practice [ungodly behaviors]” (1:32). In other words, they revel not only in their own evil and rebellion but also look to applaud others who join in their debauchery.
I am not sure exactly where our great nation sits on this slippery slope of decadence, but I know we are perched on the precipice of great depravity unless God’s grace and mercy lead us to personal repentance and national revival. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).
Continued rejection of God’s kindness meant to bring repentance has serious consequences. “In accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
It is the wrath of God that ultimately will be poured out on all who spurn and deny Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).
God’s persistent call to unbelievers to repent and believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is a call not only to receive the free, gracious gift of everlasting life, but also to avoid the sure wrath of God that is coming upon Christ’s return. It is Jesus alone who “delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
The more persistent and presumptuous the rebellion of people and nations, the greater the risk of experiencing God’s wrath in temporal terms as well. When God’s people in the Old Testament turned their back on God, they quickly picked up the odious habits of ungodly nations, incurring God’s wrath in the form of captivity, lawlessness and corruption.
When the majority of a culture or nation continuously does “what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6), the consequences are inevitably heartbreaking. Obedience to God’s Word and principles is always right. Disobedience is always wrong. Sooner or later, people and nations will reap what they have sown.
I take courage in God’s Word, that says He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
True repentance is always possible with a gracious heavenly Father who has given His One and Only Son as the sacrifice for our sin, offering forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe.
The wrath of God was poured out on Christ, so that it might not be poured out on us. ©2018 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
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