What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” —Romans 11:7–10
What is happening in America is the same thing that happened in Israel. Everybody thinks they’re believers, but many of them aren’t. This may surprise you, but in the eyes of many, America is the new Israel. The Revolution is our Exodus. The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution are our canon of sacred Scripture. Abraham Lincoln is our Moses. Independence Day is our Easter. Our national enemies are our Satan. Benedict Arnold is our Judas. The Founding Fathers are our apostles. Taxes are our tithes. Patriotic songs are our hymns. The Pledge of Allegiance is the sinner’s prayer. And the president of the United States is our senior pastor.
This culture is a counterfeit, because it is trying to make good people instead of God’s people. Many people will say, “I’m a Christian.” Then there are sociologists who come along and do data research. One such sociologist is Bradford Wilcox, a leading data analyst on religious faith from the University of Virginia. He begins with a simple question: “Are you a Christian?” Then he digs deeper:
Do you believe the Bible?
Do you believe Jesus is God?
Do you believe you need to turn from sin and trust in Jesus to have eternal life?
If a person answers no to any of these questions, then they are not, in fact, Christians.
How can you profess something that you don’t possess or practice? Allow me to ask you another question: have you ever had a gym membership but not gone to the gym? It is possible to be a gym member but not be in shape? In the same way, you can also be a member of a church but not be in relationship with God.
John Dickerson authored a book called The Great Evangelical Recession, and in it, he publishes research that shows only 7 to 8.9 percent of Americans are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, born-again Christians.75 This means there are more Texans than Christians. There are more left-handed people than Christians. And there are more cats than Christians in America. We have a crisis, and I believe we’re getting down to the remnant. There’s no reason to say “I love Jesus” in today’s America unless you really do. The cultural benefits are gone.
Does it surprise you to know that the number of true Christians in America is so low?
This is an excerpt from Theology for Everybody: Romans, a 365-Day Devotional, Click here to get your copy.
To get daily devos texted to you Monday-Friday, text DEVOTIONS to 99383. Click here to find the sermon series that accompanies this devotional series.