The Bible contains numerous examples of God promising blessings to faithful nations and withholding blessings from unfaithful nations. Governments that set legislation in line with the moral standard of God can expect to prosper in many ways while governments that set legislation that directly opposes the moral standard of God can expect to suffer consequences and judgment. The purpose of this article is to see how this relates to the UK – as a nation, is it time to repent?
The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal. (Psalm 9:15-20 NIV, emphasis added)
Is God interested in conduct at National level?
Many passages from the Bible reveal that God casts judgment on nations that ignore or abandon him. Paul warns in his first letter to the Corinthians that events that happened to Israel in the Old Testament serve as an example or warning for believers in Christ:
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11 NIV)
This makes sense and seems fair – if God is willing to bless a nation that sets its laws in accordance with his moral law, it is logical to assume His blessings are removed when that nation replaces godly moral governance with laws that contradict and insult the holy nature of God. Why should God shower blessings on unrepentant nations, or individuals? God used the nation Israel as an example of his holiness which was to be a witness for surrounding nations. When Israel were obedient, they were greatly blessed – when they were disobedient, they were cursed. This is laid out very clearly in Deuteronomy chapters 28-30. There is no reason to doubt that this also happens today.
It is true that we currently live in an age of grace and that our salvation is dependant on personal repentance of sin and acceptance of Christ as Saviour. However, from an international perspective, nations rise and fall with God taking a strong interest in the spiritual state of individual nations. This conduct is most visible through the laws that govern that nation and how they measure up against God’s law as revealed in the Bible.
As residents of the United Kingdom, we are passionate about this nation and as followers of Jesus Christ, we are determined to please our Lord not only with our own personal conduct, but also to be part of a nation that displays actions that please God. Sadly, we are witnessing a rapid departure from God which we believe this clearly evident with the erosion of moral standards we see in British life.
It is no coincidence that the fabric of society in the UK is falling apart at a time when legislation is consistently forced upon us that is clearly contrary to biblical morality. Historically, Britain was at its zenith when it passed laws that honoured God and it is disturbing to see how quickly this is changing.
The moral law of God is articulated through the “ten commandments”, a foundation from which many of our historic laws have been founded on. With the rise of secular humanism (which seeks to elevate humanity to the position), we suspect many politicians would be unable to list more than five of the ten commandments.
When Soloman was King of Israel, he prayed an amazing prayer of dedication to God. In response to this, God appeared to him with a direct answer to his prayer – some of this applies to our nation:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NIV)
This reply from the Lord is important. Natural disasters can be a remedial judgment from God to grab our attention. See the following passage from Jeremiah concerning a nation’s ability to hear God’s voice.
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it. (Jeremiah 18:7-10 NIV)
God clearly takes a keen interest in the national conduct! Both of the above quotes apply to all nations and are timeless warnings – these passages apply as much today as they did when they were first written. It appears as though God looks for individuals within nations who are willing to obey and follow Him:
I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)
Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? (Psalm 94:16 NIV)
Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. (Jeremiah 5:1 NIV)
How many people in leadership up and down the UK genuinely stand up for God and pointing us towards his truth? How many apply a godly worldview to their leadership and point others towards faith? There are a few, but they usually find themselves severely marginalised by the media. In the world of politics, both the Liberal Democrats and Labour appear to be determined to marginalise candidates who take a stance on issues that would align with the Bible.
The most disappointing part of all of this is that the visible church itself is usually deafeningly silent on this – it appears to either be indifferent or too compliant with the secular narrative in a quest to remain relevant and popular.
Society in the UK is in deep decline – any cursory observation of the news will reveal a nation riddled with rising crime, family breakdown, drink/drug abuse, psychological disorders, rampant addiction, abuse of power and many other symptoms of social poor health. This is not only a direct result of legislation imposed by our own government (and the EU) but also evidence of God subjecting us to deserved remedial judgments. God may be allowing this to cause us to turn to him – instead of doing this, our nation turns in defiance the other way and continues its journey to self-destruction!
What has the UK done to anger God?
Successive governments of the UK have instigated laws that are in direct violation of the eternal precepts of law set by God. This PDF booklet – Britain in Sin – examines 57 pieces of post-war legislation in light of Scriptural standards and displays an aggressive departure from the morality of the ten commandments.
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. (Hosea 4:6 NIV)
Many of these laws have been instigated to accommodate shifts in society, political correctness and adherence to EU guidelines. Whatever the reason, there can be no doubt that this legal endorsement of behaviour that undermines God is causing our country to disintegrate before our very eyes. A long list of examples could be made, but below are highlighted a few main areas where we have departed from God’s counsel:
Bible: The Bible is the only sure authority for the Christian. The accuracy, relevance and truth of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures have been relentlessly attacked in the classroom, universities, the media and even the church itself. Christians who claim the Bible is the inerrant Word of God are mocked, ridiculed and labelled religious fanatics by virtually every sphere of society (including from those within the church!).
Abortion: Whatever your views on abortion it is difficult to comprehend what is taking place in our land. In 2010, in England and Wales 27% of all human death was due to abortion – this is simply astounding [ref].
We have become so desensitized to this issue and the offence caused to God in this unspeakable act of barbarity. In ancient times, some civilisations committed the abomination of child sacrifice “to the Gods”. It may come as a shock to learn that even they would never kill a baby in the womb of its mother as this was considered so grotesque. We currently live in a society that has sunk to lower moral depths. With strong trends towards the introduction of laws on euthanasia, it will not be long before we also murder both the oldest as well the youngest in our society for convenience.
Marriage: God created the sacred and solemn institution of marriage for the good of society. The Bible clearly prohibits any form of sexual relationship outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage – this is crystal clear. Anyone promoting Godly standards of behaviour in this area is universally scoffed at and marginalised in the public sphere. Is it any surprise that the dramatic increase in one-parent families, an exponential rise in STD’s and acceptance/encouragement of all forms of sexual sin is happening in tandem with the “softening” on laws that promote biblical marriage? Now, the legal definition of marriage has been changed to promote secular worldview throughout the nation.
Education: God has slowly been removed from the classrooms across the land and while children are taught that they are chimps and we wonder in amazement as they start to act like animals before us with no fear or respect for authority or anyone. A selfish “survival of the fittest” worldview is promoted in school that degrades the value and uniqueness of humanity from God’s perspective. We can only imagine the effect this teaching will have on generations to come.
Science: There should be perfect harmony between science and The Bible – there should be perfect harmony between the creator of the world and His creations (us!). Unfortunately, the scientific establishment at large will only interpret scientific data through a Darwinian evolutionary worldview. This is a great insult to God – the Bible is littered with texts describing the world as bearing the signature of God and yet within scientific circles, there is aggressive persecution of anyone who challenges this worldview.
Church: The visible church in the UK is currently dying and in disarray. This is not just because of the decreasing numbers of those who attend church, but also the way the gospel is diluted and redefined to accommodate a secular culture. The accurate delivery of the gospel message is the primary purpose of the church. It has lost sight of its mandate and has compromised the truth of God in just about every area of doctrine. There are now many churches denying the virgin birth or the resurrection of Christ as well as many other Bible-based doctrines. You would never find a Catholic priest denying this – it is unbelievable that many protestant denominations now believe less of the Bible than the Roman Catholic church. In some ways, the Protestant church is now worse than the Roman Catholic church which the protestant church sought to reform! The mainstream church is often now seen as irrelevant by society and in many cases has resorted to entertaining congregations instead of warning them of the judgment to come and appealing to people to turn to Christ in repentance. The gospel message is routinely watered down and diluted into some palatable “social” gospel that cannot save anyone and makes a mockery of Christ’s work on the cross for humanity.
Israel: There are several specific references to how individual nations would be blessed (or not) depending on their treatment of the nation of Israel;
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3 NIV)
The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. (Obadiah 1:15 NIV)
For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12 NIV)
The implications of the above verses are very simple and it does not matter whether we agree or not. If it is stipulated by God our Creator, we have a choice: we obey Him and prosper or we disobey and face the consequences. If we treat the Jews as friends and respect them as God’s elect and chosen nation – we will be blessed in the process. If we turn our backs on them, particularly when the world at large are sworn enemies of the Jews, we will incur the judgment and wrath of God. For more information about international attitudes to Israel, please see our Why Israel? article.
When using the examples above, it is important to stress that we are referring to National policy on these issues. There will naturally be a huge variety of views and approaches to these issues among the populations, however, when government policy indicates a position that deviants from biblical parameters on many issues, that nation will be on a collision course with God.
A Good example!
Are there recent examples of a president leading his country to national repentance? The prayer below is a quote from the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni celebrating Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event in Oct 2012 by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation.
What a wonderful example to the “Christian” nations of the West. Sadly, it appears there is no chance of a similar prayer being offered to God by a prime minister of the UK and even if it could happen, the majority of the population would be outraged if it did happen.
The White Throne judgment
The Bible speaks of a day coming when all nations will be gathered before Jesus Christ to receive judgment:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46 NIV)
This Scripture declares that all nations will appear before the judgment seat of Christ for the “sheep and goat” judgment. We believe that where Jesus refers to “these brothers and sisters of mine” here, he could be referring specifically to the Jewish people. How will the leaders of the UK fare when they meet Christ in this judgment? How will fare when you are asked whether you were defenders of his people or if you remained silent, or worse still campaigned against them?!
A Plea for Repentance
As mentioned above, Moses concludes an amazing three-chapter passage by appealing to the people of Israel to follow the Lord carefully and diligently. Although this passage (Deut 28-30) applies specifically to Israel (and still does), the UK would be very wise to heed the same words. Do we as a nation want to choose God’s ways and the life and blessings that come with those choices? Or are we going to do things our own way (as history teaches many nations have done) and suffer the death and curses that come with that?
There are two doors open ahead of us and we believe it is very late in the day for the UK. The Lord is trying to get our attention. When will we as a nation recognise that we are on borrowed time and that if we continue on this path we as a nation can expect nothing other than the judgment of God? Can we urge you to repent on behalf of our nation and pray that God would forgive our brazen rebellion and shepherd us to obedience and holiness?
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV)
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. (Psalm 33:12 NIV)