As we approach the midterm elections on Tuesday many are asking themselves, “How did our nation get here? How did we get to the point of denying what a human is or installing a Supreme Court Justice who says she can’t define the word “woman?” Abraham Kuyper tells us how we got here when he said:
In any successful attack on freedom, the state can only be an accomplice. The chief culprit is the citizen who forgets his duty, wastes away his strength in the sleep of sin and sensual pleasure, and so loses the power of his own initiative.
Kuyper reminds us that while it is true that the nation voted itself into our current situation and fixing it will require voting ourselves out of this situation, the chief culprit is not the leaders we have elected. We are not a good nation with wicked leaders. We are not a righteousness people who’ve had a string of bad luck.
No. We, the nation, are in this situation because we, the nation, have sinned our way into this situation. We have not recognized Christ as King and Lord. We have forgotten him, dismissed him, and silenced him. We have not lived according to his commands but instead have become a law unto ourselves.
And this means that while electing good leaders is necessary to get us out of this situation, it is not sufficient. The only sufficient way out is through the cross of Christ. The only way out is to repent of our sin, repent of our worship of man, and receive God’s pardon for sin which can only come through faith in the crucified and risen Christ.
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)
This promise was made to the nation of Israel, but the principle it contains is applicable to us in the church. The only hope for any person or any nation is humility, turning from sin, and turning to the Living God and his Christ.
Almighty God and Father,
Your Word calls us to humble ourselves, to turn from our wicked ways, and to turn to you trusting in your salvation. (2 Chron. 7:14) So, we come agreeing with your Word: we are sinners. We have all turned aside. All we like sheep have gone astray, and each of us has turned to his own way. (Isa. 53:6) You are the fountain of living water, but we have forsaken you and dug out for ourselves broken wells which can hold no water. (Jer. 2:13)
As a nation, we have neglected confession and repentance for so long. In our prosperity, we have said, “We shall never be moved.” (Ps. 30:6) We have encouraged our souls to relax, to eat and drink and be merry as if we had goods laid up for many years when perhaps this night our souls will be required of us. (Luke 12:19-20)
As a nation, we’ve trusted in our vast wealth, our military might, and our own reason and wisdom. We have forgotten that all of these are on loan from you, and you require us to serve you with these gifts. (Deut. 6:12) We confess that we have been given much, and much has been required of us, yet we have forsaken you. (Luke 12:48)
Father, we know that we are accountable to you, and therefore you might justly be angry with us until you consume us. (Rom. 3:19; Ezra 9:14) If you kept a record of sins, we know that we could not stand. But we also know that with you there is forgiveness. (Psalm 130:3, 4)
Father, forgive the sins of our nation, that your kindness might lead us to repentance. (Rom. 2:4) Wash us from all the filth of sin and cleanse us from every stain of evil. Be merciful by convicting us of our sin and showing us our need for forgiveness. Open our eyes that we might see Christ crucified for sinners, full redemption made available to us. Father, blot out our transgressions like a cloud and our sins like a mist. Though our sins have been like scarlet, let them be as white as snow.
We know that if we in the church say “Amen” to this prayer, while still holding onto our sin, this prayer will have no effect, so hear us as we confess our individual sins to you now in silence.
Hear our prayers.
In the strong and mighty name of Jesus, we pray, Amen!
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself (2 Cor 5:17-18)