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#PrayForBoston #RepentForAmerica

repentWhen a tragedy like yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon strikes our nation one of the first reactions is to pray. One of the top trending hashtags on Twitter was #PrayForBoston. Facebook and Twitter accounts went up within minutes of the breaking news (some fake, some genuine) that were calling for prayer for Boston. The President echoed these sentiments, saying, “the America people will say a prayer for Boston tonight, and Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in this senseless loss.” But I have to wonder, does God even hear those prayers.

The prophet Isaiah told the people of Israel:

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That is cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from you God;
Your sins have hidden his face from you
So that He will not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.
No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
Wasting and destruction are in the paths.
The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace (Isaiah 59:1-4; 7-9, NKJV).

As I read these words of the Old Testament prophet, I can’t help but think of the moral state of our nation. Our hands are defiled with the blood of over 3,000 babies every day. Our lips speak the lies by calling good evil, and evil good. Our tongues are muttering perversities by promoting sexually immorality. No one is calling for genuine justice, we’ve actually perverted justice by calling theft “justice”. No one is pleading for truth, rather we are perpetuating lies. There are empty words spoken every day and evil thoughts that lead to sin on a regular basis.

It’s really no wonder that we have been at war for over a decade now. As we continue to ignore God’s Word and travel down crooked paths leading us farther and farther away from God, we will not know peace. Neither will God hear our cries for deliverance.

I wonder if we even believe in this God to whom we are praying? James said that we are to “ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-7). Hebrews 11:6 says that “[W]ithout faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” If we do not believe in Him, He cannot be pleased with us, and if we do not seek Him, He will not reward us.

In the words of our President, “We are no longer a Christian nation.” This accepts the fact that we once were a Christian nation. If we are no longer, that necessarily implies that at one point we were. But if we have now rejected God, why would God accept us?

After the nation of Judah rejected Yahweh and went after other gods they were punished and taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. While they were in captivity they prayed and fasted. After their return home, the prophet Zechariah records the words of God:

“Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?’” (Zechariah 7:5-7).

So, when we pray and mourn for Boston, are we really praying and mourning for God, or are we praying and mourning to make ourselves feel better? Should we not have obeyed the words of the Lord before these tragedies started happening?

If we would have listened to the preachers of righteousness during the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s, would we have to pray for a cure for HIV/AIDS and other STDs? If we did not have immoral war policies, would 9/11 have happened and would we need to pray for our soldiers? If our tax policies were not a violation of the 8th Commandment (Thou shalt not steal), would we have this economic crises. If we had not undermined the institution of marriage with no-fault divorce, would our drug, alcohol, and crime problems be as severe? Could it be that obedience to the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God would result in blessings rather than cursings?

We were once a Christian nation. We did at one time honor God and His Law. And there were blessings that followed. It was when we, like Israel, began to forget God and disregard His Law that the problems began.

Zechariah continues:

“But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts. “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate” (Zech 7:11-14).

It’s time we start heeding, and stop shrugging our shoulders at God. We need to open our ears and hear, soften our hearts and listen to the words of God.

The good news is that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we start listening to God, God will start listening to us. But it has to start with repentance.

So, next time you send out a tweet with the #PrayForBoston hashtag, add a #RepentForAmerica hashtag. If we will humble ourselves, and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin and heal our land. Let it so be, Lord Jesus.

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The Unpardonable Sin?

Mark 3:28-30 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

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This verse has struck fear in the hearts and minds of young Bible readers everywhere. The Unforgivable Sin, just the sound of such an act is simply horrifying. It could be the title to some horror movie.

Could there indeed be a sin so terrible that God could not, or would not forgive? I’ve heard elementary teachers at Christian schools use such guilt tactics in order to develop better behavior out of us students. However, Jesus is on the record for this idea of the “unforgivable sin.” The problem: what was Jesus referencing when speaking of Blasphemy.

What happens to a grace of God, and the blood of Christ that “can’t” cover all sin? One commentator wrote,

“…The unpardonable nature of the sin must be related to the hopeless warping and perversion of the moral nature, which would make one capable of such blindness to the truth as to attribute works of mercy having their origin in the power of God’s Spirit to a diabolic source, a malignity so deep-seated as to make one insusceptible of redeeming grace.”[1]

I believe Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees’ disbelief in Him and His work as the Messiah. Because of that disbelief, their actions lead them to blasphemy.  In this case the Pharisees were so blinded by their hatred for Jesus that it seemed there was no way their sins could ever be forgiven. Although, Jesus never says that the Pharisees sins were “unforgivable” it is strongly implied. Another author agreed with this concept,

“In such a frame of mind repentance is not possible to the hardened heart because the recognition of sin is no longer possible, and God’s offer of mercy is in effect peremptorily refused.[2]

The same concept is seen when Paul is speaking of the fate of the apostate brothers.

Paul says that their “consciences have been seared with a hot iron” implying that their thinking is numbed to truth. He “delivers them over to Satan” in order that they would learn from their mistakes. Paul uses the term “shipwrecked,” implying that they are hopeless. However, these attributes are not because God’s grace can’t reach them, but it is because they themselves do not want, or feel they do not need to be reached.

The mind has been warped and deceived to think that their path is true and all others are false. They are hopeless without a total paradigm shift. Like the “shipwrecked,” it would take a miracle for them to turn to God in repentance. To say that God can’t forgive their sin is a misunderstanding of what Jesus is saying. Jesus is talking about certain individuals that have reached the point of no return in regards to their faith. Furthermore, The church, nor anyone in the church, is qualified to make predictions on who is in such sin. The apostate heart can only be known by God, thus every person is worth our time and effort.

One thing we can be sure, is that if a person is struggling with whether or not they have committed such a sin, than there worry is proof of innocence. The nature of the sin is a person who vehemently rejects the teachings, work, and person of Christ, and even goes as far as to believe it is false and demonically influenced. One author said,

“It is a desperate condition that is beyond the situation of forgiveness because one is not able to recognize and repent of sin. Thus one wanting to repent of blasphemy against the Spirit cannot have committed the sin.[3]

What do you think??? do you think there is a sin that the Blood of Christ can’t cover??? 

Share your thoughts!


[1] Merrill C. Tenney G. Ed. The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, 201 (Grand Rapids, MI,: Zondervan, 2009).

[2] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed., 142 (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996).

[3] Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 223 (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003).