by Albert N. Martin
Edited transcript of message preached July 5, 1983
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Now due to the unusual circumstances of our meeting last evening, I deemed it wise only to begin our consideration of the announced theme, namely "God's Word to Our Nation." And in what really was just an introduction to that very weighty subject and that very needful theme, I basically did two things: I, first of all, set a disclaimer before you clearly indicating that in speaking on this subject, I am making no fanatical claims to direct revelation or to special inspiration, but that all of the raw materials that constitute the word of God to our nation at this critical hour are derived from the once for all embodiment of the word of God in Holy Scripture. And then I made a disclaimer of any irresponsible equating of Israel with the nation in which we live. Well meant sermons and earnest preachers are often led into the error of making a direct equation between words spoken to the nation of Israel because of their peculiar covenantal relationship to God, which is not proper to apply to any other nation in a direct one to one equation, though there may be some very abiding and permanent principles. And then I proceeded to lay before you a justification from the Scriptures for addressing such a subject. Is it proper for a minister of the Gospel to speak on such a theme as God's word to our nation? Is it not the task of a minister of the Gospel either to proclaim the Gospel to the unconverted or to feed the sheep and the lambs of Christ? Is it proper for a minister of the Gospel to address a word to the nation? And I sought to demonstrate from the Scriptures that it is indeed proper because of these four fundament facts clearly asserted in the Word of God: First of all, God's sovereign rule over the nations, secondly, God's righteous judgment of the nations, thirdly, God's unrivaled right to address the nations, and fourthly, God's establishment of the principle that individuals stand in solidarity with the nations of which they are a part.
Now tonight, we come more directly to the subject at hand: God's word to our nation. And the text I want to use as constituting both the basis and framework for the more specific elements of that word to our nation is found in Proverbs 14:34: "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." And surely if there is a text that speaks with unusual application and pointedness to our own nation and constitutes in a very real sense God's word to our nation, the United States of America, at this point in its history, it is this text.
Now, as no doubt many of you know, in Hebrew poetry, you have a structure in which often there are two parts to a statement. The first is either amplified or repeated in different language in the second part if we call the first A. The second part is B. But sometimes there is a structure in which B is the contrast or the opposite, the antithesis of A. And we have that structure in the verse before us. We have, first of all, this positive statement, "Righteousness exalteth a nation." And here the word "righteousness" is used in the second sense. It speaks of conformity to the norms and to the revealed will of God.
Righteousness which exalts a nation is that pattern of life which reflects a sensitivity to and a conformity to the norms of Almighty God. And our text says that righteousness exalts not just the nation, in which case we would be tempted and rightly so, to believe that the text spoke primarily if not exclusively to Israel. But the language down to the very singular or plural usage is very significant. "Righteousness exalteth a nation," any nation of the earth, including the nation of Israel. Righteousness is the basis of it being raised up to a place of exaltation, a place that is honorable, a place that is useful in the purpose of God in the unfolding of history. But then by way of contrast, we are told that sin, that is, departure from the norms of God, sin when it becomes a way of life, sin when it is framed by statute and supported by the very so-called laws and jurisprudence of the land, sin when it comes out of its closet and becomes popular and becomes part and parcel of a national way of life--sin is a reproach or a disgrace to any people.
Perhaps the best summary of the meaning of this verse is found in the few choice comments upon it in the commentary of Kyle and Dalish on the book of Proverbs:
"The proverb means that all nations without distinction, even Israel not excluded; history everywhere confirms the principle that not the numerical nor the warlike nor the political nor yet the intellectual or the so-called civilized greatness is the true greatness of any nation and determines the condition of its future as one of progress. But this is its true greatness: that in its private, public, and international life conduct directed by the will of God according to the norm of moral rectitude, that is, the law of God rules and prevails. Righteousness, good manners, and piety are the things which secure to a nation a place of honor. Righteousness exalts a nation, while on the contrary, sin, that is, sin prevailing and more favored and fostered than contended against in the consciousness of the moral problems of the state--this is a disgrace to the people. It lowers them before God and also before men who do not judge superficially or perversely, and also actually brings the nation down to ruin."
Righteousness exalts a nation, not righteousness once as its hallmark in the past. And though we can with great gratitude to God thank Him for those periods in our national life, not when we were a Christian nation (we never were), but when righteousness, that is, sensitivity to and submission to the great overarching demands of morality as expressed in the law of God, there have been seasons when righteousness has marked our national life. But it is not enough that righteousness once marked our national life. For it is only when righteousness is the present mark of the life of a nation, that it will maintain a position of exaltation. Righteousness exalts a nation, not the past memory of past righteousness, but the present reality of present righteousness exalts a nation. And sin, present sin, national sin, sin as a way of life, regardless of what the past has been, is a reproach and a disgrace to any people. And surely if that text embodies the word of God to our nation, then God's primary word to this nation at this hour is a word, first of all, of rebuke and denunciation for our aggravated national sins. And it is, secondly, a word of summons to repentance and reformation in our national life if we would avoid the crushing judgment of Almighty God.
Tonight, God willing, I want to begin at least to open up the fact that God's word to our nation, based upon this text, is a word of rebuke and denunciation for our most aggravated national sins. You see, the sins of any nation are like a mountain range. Those of you who are familiar with mountain ranges know that you, first of all, have the foothills of the mountain range. You may have been driving across a vast section of our country where everything was flat. And then you begin to see off in the distance little hills, the foothills of a mighty mountain range. And when you press beyond the foothills, then you enter into the spine or the heart of the mountain range itself comprised of many mountains, many of which are of relatively the same height and majesty. But in most mountain ranges, you move from the foothills to the spine of the mountain range. And then jutting up among the ordinary mountains, there is the Mount Hood of the Cascades on our West Coast. There is Mount Washington among the less majestic White Mountains on the East Coast. And it's true with almost every mountain range, that we move from the rolling foothills to the spine of the mountain range. Then we move to the Mount Hoods and the Mount Washingtons. We move to the Mount McKinleys and the other great mountains that jut up mighty in their splendor above even the great spine of the range of those mountains.
So it is, I say, with national sins. There are foothill sins. There are sins that comprise the spine, as it were, of the mountains of iniquity in any nation. And then there are those high peaks that stand up above all others. And it is certainly proper and Biblical, both from the perspective of the New Testament and the Old Testament, to describe in some circumstances everything from the foothills all the way to the mightiest peaks. We see our Lord Jesus Christ doing this to the nation of Israel. We see the Apostle Paul doing it to the existing Roman world in Romans 1:18-3:19. We find the prophets doing it again and again. And yet there are times when we need to concentrate upon those great peaks of national sin which, above all others, cry to God for judgment, those sins which, if they are not averted and turned away by national repentance, will inevitably bring the nation to destruction. And I submit to you that God's word of rebuke and denunciation to our nation for its aggravated national sins is a rebuke that concentrates upon two mighty shameful mountain peaks of national iniquity, on the one hand that that I am calling our sins of putrid moral degeneracy, and the second, our sins of horrible religious apostasy. And among the multitude of our national sins, the many foothill sins, the many sins which comprise the spine of the mountain of our national iniquity, standing up above all of them are these two mountainous sins: our putrid sins of moral degeneracy and our horrible sins of religious apostasy.
First of all, then, our putrid sins of moral degeneracy. And that mountain has two great peaks that constitute it such a mountain of iniquity. The first is the unrequited blood of the murdered multitudes. And the second is the unrestrained abandonment to sensuality and sexual perversion.
First of all, then, among our putrid sins of moral degeneracy, perhaps none is greater, and if viewed from the perspective of the Bible, none brings us closer to national judgment of the worse kind than the unrequited blood of the murdered multitudes. Now what do I mean by the term "unrequited blood?" Well, to requite someone is to pay him back; generally to pay him back in kind. And unrequited blood is the blood of murdered people that has not been paid back in kind; that has not been paid back according to the clearly revealed will of God. But you say, "Pastor Martin, surely among all of the great sins of our nation, you are not suggesting that this, perhaps above all others, is the sin which, as it were, tempts God to bring us to oblivion?" I am asserting that, if we think Biblically, more than any of the other sins that receive so much attention in our churches, in Christian literature, and popular preaching, it may well be that this sin, above all others, is that which cries to heaven for the vengeance of Almighty God. And in order to try to convince you from the Scriptures that this is so, I want you to take a quick trip with me through the pivotal passages in the Word of God dealing with this problem of unrequited blood; how God feels when blood is split in wanton, willful, heartless murder, and that blood is not requited by taking the life of the murderer.
Turn to Genesis 4. Here in the 4th chapter of Genesis, we have the record of the first murder ever perpetrated upon the face of the earth. Most of you children are familiar with the story. Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve, has a brother named Abel. And in the process of time, Cain became jealous of Abel. And according to 1 John, he also became irritated in his conscience with the righteous life of Abel. So he took the opportunity described in verse 8: "And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." And as we shall see from the language of verse 10, he apparently slew him in a manner in which his blood was actually spilt, perhaps taking a sharp instrument and stabbing him or cutting his throat. But is was a violent, wonton, deliberate, highhanded act of murder. No sooner is Abel murdered by Cain but that God comes to Cain and speaks to him. Verse 9: "And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And He said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And He said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground." And here God uses a vivid image of speech. The place where Cain rose up--and if he used a sharp instrument and stuck it into the back or heart of Abel, by whatever means the blood was spilt, that blood dropped to the ground, and no doubt, a pool of it collected where his murdered body lay. And now God says,
"Every drop of that blood that has been soaked into the sod has been turned into a mouth, a tongue, and a larynx. And now, every drop of that blood is speaking. And it speaks so powerfully, it speaks so eloquently, it speaks so forcefully, that its voice has pierced My ear upon My throne in heaven, and I've come down to see what the facts are."
It's a figure of speech, of course. But O, what a graphic figure of speech in which God is seeking to impress not only upon Cain but upon all who would ever open the pages of the Bible. Right in its opening chapters, God is saying something tremendously important to us, and it is this: whenever the blood of a human being is shed in murder, innocent blood is split; that blood has a voice, and that voice always, without exception, reaches through to the very throne of God in heaven and summons God to come and to do something to requite the blood of the innocent slain. Now, in this particular case, God did not kill Cain. He placed him under a severe judgment that caused him to cry, "My punishment is more than I can bear." But the point that God underscores with tremendous force is this: unrequited blood of the murdered cries to heaven for the intervention of Almighty God in judgment.
Now turn to Genesis 9 where we have the next instance of an explicit development of this whole theme of unrequited blood. God has blotted out the entire human race with the exception of the family of Noah. God is now reinstituting His whole arrangement with this earth in its present reconstituted state after the flood. He is giving directions. He is giving promises. He is making a covenant with all men as men and with the earth as the earth. And these covenantal engagements will obtain until the Lord Himself descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. And during this arrangement from the flood until the return of the Lord Jesus, God articulates this principle to Noah. Genesis 9:5: "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man." Now notice this intimate connection. God says, "I will require the blood that is shed of any one of My creatures." But notice, He works by the instrumentality of man the creature. "At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed...." And in this situation, the man, the nearest of kin in his family, shall his blood be shed. And here, God is instituting what we call capital punishment. But God is saying that it is an expression of His own righteous government. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Why? "Because I require it. I require it by the hand of his brother, but it is My requirement. For the blood of one innocently slain and murdered cries to heaven, and the cry reaches My ear. I will, I must, I shall require it."
Then there is this additional perspective nestled in the text. Notice the latter part of verse 6: "...for [this is the rationale behind it] in the image of God made He man." In other words, man is such a dignified creature; man is so totally and qualitatively different from all of the creatures of God that there can be no constant maintenance of that perspective of the essential, the profound, the glorious difference between man and beast in a sinful world where sinful hearts will break out in hatred, the mother of murder. There can be no maintenance of the dignity of human life unless he who wantonly takes human life pays with the forfeiture of his own life. And contrary to all of the sentimental mouthings of current lawyers, judges, sociologists, and even evangelical theologians, it is a slap at the dignity and uniqueness of man to let murdered people's blood be unrequited. It says man is cheap. He can be snuffed out. And all you'll pay for it is a few years of easy existence in prison at the expense of hard-working tax payers. It is not maintaining the dignity of man to forgo capital punishment. It strikes at the heart of the dignity of man. How dignified is man? So glorious in his dignity as an image-bearer of God that whoever takes upon himself wantonly to murder an image-bearer of God must declare, as it were, to the entire world that knows him that worth is such as to demand the forfeiture of his own life.
Now I remind you that these perspectives predate the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai. They predate all the details of the Mosaic legislation. They are woven into the fabric of humanity by the will and purpose of God, the Creator. But when we turn to the Mosaic legislation, what do we find? We find these great principles incorporated into the national life of Israel, expanded in great detail. To what end? Not only to preserve righteousness in Israel, but remember, Israel was to be the mirror of God's righteousness to the entire world. God said, "I have set thee a light among the nations." And when the queen of Sheba came and saw Solomon and his kingdom, she said, "What nation has such laws?" You see, the Mosaic legislation was not merely the legislation for the regulation of the national life of Israel for Israel's sake, but it was to declare the righteousness of God in human relationships to all the ends of the earth. And it's very interesting when one studies in detail the amount of legislation pertaining to murder; the distinction between manslaughter, that is, unpremeditated accidental taking of human life and wanton, willful murder. And then, again and again, we have the record of the establishment of the cities of refuge, the legislation for the necessity of two or three witnesses.
But I want you to look with me at just a couple of passages that have tremendous relevance to our own nation at this time. And remember, I am not equating the United States with Israel. But the principles are so clear in these passages that we cannot miss them. Turn to Numbers 35:9-15. These verses give a description of the cities of refuge, these six cities to which a manslayer can go. A man is out in the field, and he's working with his friend chopping wood. And his ax-head flies off and hits his friend in a vital spot, and he dies. He did not murder him. It was accidental death. But the nearest of kin who is called the avenger of blood would seek to come upon this man who took his brother's life and kill him. God made provision that he could flee to a city of refuge and stay there until the death of the high priest, and he was protected. But now verses 16-21:
"And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself [the nearest of kin] shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him."
Then in verses 22 and following, we have an expansion of some of the cities of refuge legislation. Why is God so concerned about this whole issue in Israel? What lies behind all of this legislation, all of this careful delineation of the difference between manslaughter and murder, and the place of refuge and the necessity of avenging the blood? Here's the rationale in verses 29-33:
"So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."
Do you see the emphasis? Polluting the land. Blood pollutes the land. No expiation can be made for blood but the blood of the murderer. And wherever there was unrequited blood in Israel, the land was defiled; the land was polluted. That blood cried to God for vengeance, even as did the blood of the slain Abel.
Now turn to Deuteronomy 19. And please be patient. You may not see the necessity of this at this precise moment. But I trust that in about 7 or 8 minutes, it will all come together. We read in this chapter again a repetition and an expansion of this cities of refuge legislation. And I want to underscore now why God is concerned with this legislation. Verses 9-10:
"If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in His ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three: that innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee."
God says, "I must make this provision, or else the man who is guilty of mere manslaughter will be slain as a murderer. He's an innocent man; therefore, innocent blood will be upon the man who takes his life. And there must not be a situation in the land where innocent blood is shed and innocent blood is unrequited." Now then, notice verses 11-13:
"But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities [here's a man who runs to the cities of refuge even though he's a murderer]: then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee."
This is what we would call in our day a heartless, cruel, uncompassionate act. The elders find out this man is not a manslayer. He's a murderer, and they deliver him up to be slain. It was the most gracious thing the elders could do, for it meant that the land would not be stained with innocent and unrequited blood.
Then if you turn to Deuteronomy 21, you have one of the strangest bits of legislation in Israel. But O, how it speaks so eloquently of this great principle in a different way. Verse 1: "If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him." Someone goes out one day to plow his field, and there he sees a dead man, a man obviously with all the marks of a brutal murder. Someone has slain him, but there are no witnesses. You cannot bring forward the two or three to establish who killed him. What are they to do? Are they simply to say, "O God, You know. We don't know who killed him; therefore, blot out that blood from the ground. Lord, surely that blood doesn't cry for vengeance. We don't know who killed him. We can't requite the blood. Lord, You'll not hold us guilty for that, will You?" God says in sense, "No, but I want to impress upon you the seriousness of unrequited blood even when you don't know the guilty party." And so God gives them a ritual. They're to measure the distance between the slain man's body and the cities. Then when they found out what city his body was nearest to, the elders of that city have a solemn responsibility along with the priests. Verses 4-9:
"And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer unto a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley: and the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD thy God hath chosen to minister unto Him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried: and all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Be merciful, O LORD, unto Thy people Israel, whom Thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto Thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD."
Let me ask you children something. Does God love heifers? Psalm 104 says that the goodness of God is over all His works. He feeds man and beasts. In the original creation, He beheld all that He made, and it was good. God loves His creatures, even poor dumb heifers. Why would God tell them to do such a cruel thing and then go through a strange ritual of washing their hands in clear water over the broken neck of that heifer. God is saying to them in ways that they could not mistake: the blood of the murdered cries for vengeance. And even when it is humanly impossible to lay hands upon the murderer and spill his blood to requite the blood of the innocent, a life must be given for that life. And so God says to take the life of the heifer, break its neck and go through a symbolic washing and then a plea, "O God, take away innocent blood, though the ordinary way is by the blood of the innocent to be requited with the blood of the guilty, the blood of the slain with the blood of the slayer. O Lord, it is impossible. So God, forgive; wash us from the guilt of innocent blood that our land be not polluted before You."
When we turn to the New Testament, we find that this power to requite the innocent blood of the murdered has passed beyond the family, beyond the elders and the priests of Israel, and now is deposited in the state as an institution of God. This is clearly taught in the 13th chapter of the book of Romans: "There is no power but of God." And Paul goes on to say the civil power is placed there to be a terror to evil workers. What kind of a terror? Even the terror of executing capital punishment, for we read in verse 4: "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he [the civil governor] beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
Now notice, chapter 12 closes with the individual Christian ethic in which God says as an individual believer, when I am individually wronged, I am never to return vengeance upon evildoers. I am to give place to the wrath of God. I am never to requite personal injuries on a personal basis as a Christian. But the same Holy Spirit who inspired the Apostle to write the words at the end of chapter 12 for individual Christian ethics has a totally different framework for the ethics of the state. And the woolly-headed evangelical theologians who are trying to impose upon the state the individual ethics of the Christian believer are cooperating with liberals and humanists to bring innocent blood upon us to the place where Almighty God will come forth and requite the blood with His own hand. He is a minister of God for vengeance. And when self-confessed and duly convicted murderers are not executed, the blood of the innocent slain cries to heaven for vengeance.
Now do you see something of the Biblical doctrine of what a horrible thing for a land to be polluted with innocent blood? This land is polluted with blood, not just a few clods from the blood of one innocent Abel slain at the hands of Cain; not just a few clods of blood there because a few murders have gone unrequited. But I suggest it is nothing less than a pool of blood from the children and adults who are wantonly murdered and whose murderers are not put to death, the murders that go on in our country by the dozens every single day--self-confessed, duly convicted murderers who yet live.
Do I stand as a vengeful man longing to see murderers get what they deserve? No, I do not. I know enough of my own heart to know that if anger is the seed of murder, I stand as a cleansed sinner purged in the blood of Jesus from the sin of murder in the heart. I do not stand here with a personal vengeful desire that murderers get what they deserve. That is totally foreign to the spirit of the Christian who knows that he is what he is by the grace of God. But I stand here to speak God's word to our nation. And our nation is stained with innocent blood.
There is a veritable pool of blood from all of the murdered boys and girls and men and women whose murderers live. And there is nothing, according to the Word of God, no ransom, no expiation--I say it reverently--if God were sovereignly to send the Holy Spirit and regenerate every self-confessed, duly convicted murderer in murderer's row. They should still die to requite the blood of the murdered. Thank God, they would die and go to heaven. But the blood of Jesus that cleanses their souls, does not cleanse the blood that stains the ground. It can only be cleansed by the death of the murderer. That's the teaching of Almighty God. And no Supreme Court, and no judge, and no country, and no system of jurisprudence has any right to defy the God of heaven with impudence and with a high hand and think it can long exist upon the face of the earth.
And if there is a pool of blood from the children and adults wantonly murdered, whose murderers are not put to death, then surely there is an ocean of blood from the murder of unborn children in their mother's wombs. I say, if the one constitutes a pool, the other constitutes nothing less than a river with cold and calculating statistical analysis. We are told last year there were 1.5 million registered, state-condoned murders in mother's wombs in our nation. O, the blood that cries from trash bins of our sterol operating rooms. O, the blood that cries from the soaked sterol labs of the Dempsey Dumpsters at the back of our hospitals.
What an outrage there would be if on the front page of all of our papers tomorrow, we read something like this: "Madman goes berserk in hospital in New Jersey." Nearby us there is a very advanced medical center with a very large nursery, and in that nursery, unusually advanced equipment to care for little primies, some of whom hardly weigh a pound and a half or two pounds, born four months, sometimes even a little less than that before full term, born in the second trimester when one can still legally get an abortion. And suppose the byline read that a madman went into that particular part of the nursery where all the premies were kept, some of them weighing only two pounds; kept alive by the life support system of the incubator with its oxygen hose and with the intravenous feeding. And if that man were to take a machine gun and riddle the bodies of six little premies until they were nothing but raw flesh and bones, O, what an outcry there would be. "Madman slays six helpless premies under the life support system of an incubator with its oxygen hose and its intravenous tubes." What an outcry there would be. But let the surgeon with his sterol gloves and his suction tube and a consenting mother agree not to riddle the unborn life with the support system of an incubator and an oxygen tube but in her life support system called the womb, and that's called the destruction of fetal tissue, termination of pregnancy--it's called a woman's choice. I say to this nation, Almighty God calls it murder and the shedding of innocent blood! And Dear Christian, if it hasn't gripped you, it better. Because if anything will move God to move some man in a silo somewhere to push the button and blow this nation into a cloud, I say, it is the blood of the millions of unprotected, helpless lives in the life support system of mothers' wombs!
"I break for animals." The generation that produces bumper stickers to protect animals, that has an outcry when some bear are brutally killed; the generation that speaks so movingly of women's rights and humans rights is the generation that with heartless calculating brutality and cruelty slays unborn life that is made in the image of God! And I believe that decision of our own highest courts and our own highest halls of legislation--most of you know the thing to which I refer--I fear that more than anything else that has happened in our national life in a long time. I say, O God, how long, how long? This is the generation that is trying to rub the conscience of the world raw because of Dachau and Buchenwald and all the rest, where they say six million Jews were killed over a period of those years. We've long sense exceeded that number in the slaying of unborn life in the life support system of a mother's womb.
What is God's word to our nation? I say without any reservation on the basis of the Word of God, it is a word of rebuke, a word of condemnation. It is a word that summons us to repent of this sin of unrequited blood.
Do you know how God describes Himself in the 9th Psalm? This passage is so appropriate to our subject. Verses 7-8: "But the LORD shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment. And He shall judge the world [not just the nation of Israel] in righteousness." This is the very passage Paul quotes in Acts 17:30-31. Now notice verse 12: "When He maketh inquisition for blood, He remembereth them: He forgetteth not the cry of the humble." God is described as an inquisitor and an avenger of blood. He makes inquisition for blood. When He sees blood spilt, He becomes the great inquisitor. God becomes the heavenly sleuth to track down who is guilty of this blood. And having tracked him down, He will requite it with His hand.
But now someone says to me, "But Pastor Martin, is it not contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. Are you not talking as a man whose thinking and spirit is too much affected with the overtones of Sinai and not enough permeated with the glories of the full revelation of God's grace in Jesus Christ?" My friend, turn with me to Revelation 6. We shall here see a description of the disposition of saints who have joined the company of just men made perfect. Every departed spirit of every believer joins the company of the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12). That is not glorification. Glorification awaits the resurrection of the body. From the time the spirit leaves the body and looks on the face of Jesus with bliss by the mighty work of the Spirit begun in regeneration, God purges from the human soul every last remains of sin and makes it totally conformed to the image of Christ and confirmed in that righteousness forever. Now how do glorified spirits view unrequited blood? Revelation 6:9-11:
"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held [here are the souls of martyred saints murdered at the hands of ungodly and unprincipled and unrighteous men]: and they cried with a loud voice [and remember, this is a cry coming from souls made perfectly holy], saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."
Glorified spirits long for God to avenge innocent blood. And listen to me, Christian, if you were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy; if you were predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, no little part of true inward conformity to Jesus Christ is an entering into His own holy passion that innocent blood should be requited in the way of God's appointment.
Am I saying that a murderer can find no forgiveness? No, Paul says, "Who before was a murderer and a blasphemer." Am I saying, if I'm speaking to a woman who had an abortion, that you've committed the unpardonable sin and ought to be stoned? No, I am saying no such thing. I am not giving a detailed exposition of the ethical implications of the past sin of a believer with regards to such matters as an abortion. What I'm saying is that God's word to our nation of which you and I are a part it this: it is a word of denunciation; it is a word of rebuke and exposure for this great mountain peak of iniquity, our sordid, our putrid moral degeneracy of which perhaps non is greater than the unrequited blood of the multitudes of the murdered.
And what does this say to you and to me who are Christians? It says you better take this doctrine of the Word of God seriously. You better begin to think of your land as a land stained with blood. Don't look upon it after the seeing of the eyes of the flesh.
When I was out running this beautiful day on a back country road and saw beautiful waving grains of wheat and corn that stood far higher than knee high on the day after 4th of July (quiet, peaceful, beautiful fields), I said, "O God, they are not what they appear to be. They appear verdant with the blessing of heaven (and in one sense they are), but those very fields and lands are stained with blood. And they cry to heaven for vengeance.
You and I better begin to cry to heaven as those who believe it's true. We had better begin to plea with God to pour out His Holy Spirit upon every preacher of the Gospel, that he will dare to hurl this truth into the conscience of his community; that God might be pleased to raise up men, whether saved or unsaved, who have some Biblical convictions about the doctrine of unrequited blood, men who will dare to face those who sit on the Supreme Court, and who sit in the seats of congress, and dare to speak to them the Word of the living God. Let's cry to God for our president in whom we have some reason to believe there may be at least the seeds of sympathy for these Biblical truths. Only God knows his heart. But we're commanded to pray for him in 1 Timothy 2. And whatever else we pray for, let's pray that God will somehow get into his ears this Biblical doctrine of unrequited blood until the president sees as a far greater dread, the unrequited blood of the murdered multitudes than the silos and the missiles and the submarines that are set against us. I do not fear all the military might of a thousand nations that are set against us. I fear the God who in righteousness will requite innocent blood upon every land that is stained with that blood.
Dear child of God, it's time you stop playing. The hours you spend frittering away in front of your boob tube, the hours you spend sitting around licking your wounds and feeding your hurts--you need to begin to give those hours to crying to God, writing letters to your elected officials, seeking to band together with other believers, and cry to God, "Purge our land of unrequited blood." And above all, cry that the Spirit of God would be poured out upon our churches, and that once again, we would see multitudes brought to true evangelical conviction and repentance and faith and submission to the Word of God. And out of such a mass of people turning to Christ, God would then raise up men of stature who would once again enunciate these principles in the key places of our national life.
I had hoped to go on to that second part of that first mountain, but frankly, dear people, I've come with a constraint upon my spirit. And I must say, not in a nasty way, I don't know when I've cared less about a conference program. And I've never done this before in all my years speaking at a conference. I've always stuck diligently to the subject assigned. But I feel like a man possessed. Our time may be much shorter than we realize. What is God's word to our nation? Righteousness exalts a nation, the righteousness that requites the blood of the innocent slain, the righteousness that protects the helpless blood of unborn infants. But sin, the sin of unrequited blood, is a reproach to any people. Frankly, that's why I'm a loyal patriot. I believe I would give my life's blood, if necessary, to defend the liberties I know for the sake of my children and unborn grandchildren. But I have to say with Ezra, I blush. I am ashamed. I cannot look up. What's your posture? May God bring us to a season of holy blushing that will lead to earnest prayer; that will lead to sanctified, spirit-directed, Scripturally governed conduct, that the church may indeed be salt and light with respect to the sin that is our national reproach.
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