Why is the OneCry movement calling Christ’s followers to turn, pray, and unite? Why is OneCry “A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening”?
In part, the answer is because of the growing spiritual darkness of our nation and of the church, and the fact that we believe the only solution to our personal and national problems (sin) is a nationwide revival and awakening.
But the other part of the equation is that we are a nation under judgment. Not just a nation under judgment, but a church under discipline and judgment.
Dr. Greg Frizzell, in his book Iceberg Dead Ahead: The Urgency of “God-Seeking Repentance”, wrote:
I am convinced we are faced with imminent disaster unless there is a major, sustained repentance. Even if God sent no judgment whatsoever, the mere cumulative consequences of societal sin are easily enough to devastate our land! But make no mistake—a holy God must eventually bring judgment upon blatant ongoing sin and severe abomination (Jeremiah 5:7-9; Galatians 6:9). His holy nature requires Him to respond to continuing rebellion. . . . Through God’s grace, there may yet indeed be hope of a great awakening if we embrace very specific steps of biblical repentance. While it is likely too late to avoid all serious consequences, there is perhaps hope to avert total disaster (pp. 5–7).
The above quote is not meant to be discouraging, but it is meant to remind us of the urgency before us. Yes, we want revival and awakening because it would be spiritually refreshing and awesome. But we cry out for mercy, revival, and awakening because we have evoked God’s judgment.
Romans 1 makes it clear that God’s wrath is poured out against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18 NASB).
It’s true that there is “no condemnation” in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:1), and as children of God, we are saved from ultimate wrath and judgment. But let’s not forget how Paul rebuked the Corinthians for specific sins:
A man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Corinthians 11:28-32).
We may rightly make a distinction between condemnation toward those who don’t know Christ and discipline for those who do, but judgment is painful and often devastating to both.
In his introduction to When a Nation Forgets God, Dr. Erwin Lutzer wrote,
God is humbling us. The political solutions that we thought would rescue our nation from its moral and spiritual free fall have had scant effect. We are learning that the problem is deeper than we thought, thus the solution itself must be deeper also. In sum, we must realize that only God can save us from those trends that have already evoked His judgment.
It’s easy to read Romans 1 and consider all the sins of the nation and people around us. But Romans 2 is a warning and reminder to us, as it was to the church in Rome. Consider what Paul wrote in 2:1-11. Here is the first three verses:
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
And what things did he just mention at the end of the first chapter? He goes into length about homosexuality, but also lists things like greed, envy, strife, deceit, gossip, arrogance, boasting, lack of love, disobedience to parents, etc.
In Romans 1:32, Paul rebukes not only those who practice such things, but also those who give approval to those who practice them. All of the sins listed are not only in the nation, but also in the church, and maybe in your life.
Even if a particular sin is not in your life, have you in some way given approval to it? For example, there is a huge percentage of those in the church (and the numbers are growing) who say that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.
Have we also been blind to and given approval to our arrogance, deception, envy, gossip, lack of love for our spouse, or disobedience to our parents? Let us not “think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience,” forgetting that the kindness of God leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
Peter wrote, “It is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17). Both the church and the nation are in trouble; thus we must turn, pray, and unite, with urgency.