John the Baptist and America

John the Baptist and America April 30, 2015

We read in Matthew 3:1-3: “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!’” 

In the Gospel of Luke we see that John was to: “…go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins…” (Luke 1:76-77 NASB).

John was to prepare the hearts of the people for the arrival of Jesus. The Jews were waiting on the promised Savior to come and free them from the oppressive rule of the Roman government. Their idea of salvation was political.

Many Israelites had come to believe that they had a special place in God’s heart simply because they were born Israelites. Therefore, it mattered very little to them whether or not they were truly worshiping God in their hearts. The Israelites believed that, even though they had repeatedly disobeyed God, worshiped other gods, and had become cold in their hearts toward the one true God, they were still under His protection. They believed that they could live as they pleased and still be blessed by God.

John was sent to show them that obedience to God was nothing to take lightly. He was to preach that salvation was not earthly deliverance from political oppression, but deliverance from the penalty and power of sin through repentance. His was not a popular message.

Nor is it a popular message today in America. Many, who call themselves ‘Christian’, think that merely by living in America they are assured of automatic blessings from God, even if they ignore, disobey, reject, and even blaspheme Him. They believe that He will protect and bless them simply because they live in a “Christian” nation. However, God never promised favor to people based on their ethnicity or location of residence. God always requires repentance for one to receive His saving grace (II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; Hebrews 6:1; II Peter 3:9).

John the Baptist brought a message to the Jewish nation about true repentance and salvation that America, even American Christians, would do well to heed:

1. He preached that people do not have a relationship with God just because they are born in a certain land or are descended from a certain lineage. One must have a heart committed to God. 

2. He preached that just knowing about God is not enough. In order to be forgiven of our sin one must know God. There must be an honest love for Him and a desire to honor, worship, obey, and please Him because of who He is. 

3. He preached that a relationship with God does not guarantee the political direction of a nation. The Romans continued to rule over the Israelites even after Jesus had come and died on the cross; even after many Jews believed in Him and became His followers. 

John’s message to the Israelites is the same message that American Christians need to hear and heed today:

Salvation is deliverance from the power and penalty of sin.

Salvation brings us into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Salvation has nothing directly to do with politics.

Salvation means laying your life at the feet of Jesus in complete gratitude for the debt He paid for you.

The temple, which was the center of Jewish worship, was destroyed roughly 35 years after that nation, for the most part, rejected Jesus Christ.

What does the future of America look like if we reject Jesus Christ?

Article by Robert Driskell

*All Scripture is from the New American Standard Bible


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Evangelical
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Rust Cohle

    Salvation cults have been running pretty much the same fear insurance scam for 1000s of years.

    […] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

    Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.
    classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

    • Facebook User

      And atheists have been trying to convince people to choose hell for quite a long time too. Allow me to remind you of what Jesus said (you know, Jesus, God in human flesh, Creator of the universe and everything in it, sustainer of all life and matter): “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42 NASB).

      • Rust Cohle

        LOL Which atheist do you know that is convincing people to choose Norse mythology? That is all Hell is. Hell is the half-dead daughter of Loki, inserted into the Bible as a catch-all for various other myths about death, including the scary underworld of Zeus’ brother Hades, whom Jesus taught to fear.

        • Facebook User

          A wise person would ponder these passages:

          “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts” (II Peter 3:3 NASB).

          “…In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:18-19 NASB).

          “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NASB).

          • Rust Cohle

            A wise person would realize that most of those passages are taken from forgeries.

            “There were a lot of people in the ancient world who thought that lying could serve a greater good,” says Ehrman, an expert on ancient biblical manuscripts.

            Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says
            By John Blake, CNN, May 13th, 2011
            religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/13/half-of-new-testament-forged-bible-scholar-says/

          • Facebook User

            From the same article:
            “Ehrman’s book, like many of his previous ones, is already generating backlash. Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, has written a lengthy online critique of “Forged.”

            Witherington calls Ehrman’s book “Gullible Travels, for it reveals over and over again the willingness of people to believe even outrageous things.”

            All of the New Testament books, with the exception of 2 Peter, can be traced back to a very small group of literate Christians, some of whom were eyewitnesses to the lives of Jesus and Paul, Witherington says.”

            So, there are scholars who say “this is right” and there are scholars who say “this is right”. Once again, we are left in the position where we must choose…I choose to worship God. I think you’ve chosen otherwise. We will each have to live with our decision. (But, as long as one is alive, it’s not too late to choose differently).

          • Rust Cohle

            Ben Witherington, a New Testament scholar, illustrates why Hector Avalos, professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University, “criticizes his colleagues for applying a variety of flawed and specious techniques aimed at maintaining the illusion that the Bible is still relevant in today’s world” and for “being more concerned about its self-preservation than about giving an honest account,” in his text The End of Bible Studies. prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=52

          • Facebook User

            Well, I guess this just illustrates why the discussion continues.

  • Rust Cohle

    Actually, Christianity plagiarized beliefs from a baptizing cult, who still consider Jesus an imposter, and then created a silly account of John being killed off. Pure fiction.

    Mandaeans maintain that Jesus was a mšiha kdaba “false messiah” who changed the teachings given to him by John.
    wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandaeism

    • Facebook User

      Just one of the multitude of sites refuting your claim: http://coldcasechristianity.com/

      • Rust Cohle

        Christian apologist sites don’t refute anything; they just do lame apologetics.

        • Facebook User

          As opposed to the all knowing Wikipedia? Wise up and take some advice from the Bible: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8 NASB).

          • Rust Cohle

            Wise up about Wiki, numbskull. It’s a great place to start to “familiarize yourself with a topic,” as Harvard indicates:

            In fact, some instructors may advise their students to read entries for scientific concepts on Wikipedia as a way to begin understanding those concepts…The fact that Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic research doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to use basic reference materials when you’re trying to familiarize yourself with a topic.

            Harvard Guide to Using Sources
            http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page346376