The Passion of The Christ -- Will It Bring the U.S.A. to the "Fork in the Road?"

The Passion of The Christ -- Will It Bring the U.S.A. to the
"Fork in the Road?"

"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days..."
Deuteronomy 30:19,20a NKJV

February 24, 2004 -- Tomorrow a movie will officially open in the theaters across the United States. Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of The Christ," has been the topic of discussion and comment for months. Controversy has often swirled around Gibson and the making of the film. High profile media people just had to jump into the "pool" of commenting and, if possible, land an interview with Gibson himself. To say the least, this film is capturing attention unlike any other -- even making "Titanic" fade into the background!

And most decidedly unlike any other, could this film be one which brings United States society to a "fork in the road" -- that is, the forcing of the kind of very wise decisions on the part of a majority of citizens which will then take us down the road of healing, health, blessing, protection, and prosperity? OR will the majority decisions be such that the doom of the U.S. will be sealed and the wrath of an angry God will be poured out on a culture steeped in idolatry and rebellion which exhibits a dominant spirit that brazenly cries out daily, "No! We will NOT repent of our sins!"

Stop and think for a moment -- there has not been an event of this kind ever in the history of the republic -- an event where millions of us citizens all across the land will be graphically confronted with the shocking truth that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, voluntarily died a brutal death on a Roman cross for our sins! And in making such a sacrifice and rising from the dead three days later He has made forgiveness and reconciliation with God available to every human being on planet earth.

If indeed the vast majority choose the path of repentance which leads to unprecedented blessings, what might be expected? Here are some shocking possibilities:

Another critical matter is the question of how the church, which claims to follow Jesus Christ, will be impacted by this graphic witness of the final hours of Jesus on this earth. If the right choices are made, it will mean:

    Remorse and a change of heart for even daring to suggest that the revelation of God given to us through the Scriptures is not trustworthy coupled with raw unbelief concerning what God has done in the past, what He is doing now, and what He plans to do in the future in all of His interaction with the members of the human race!

    Remorse and a change of heart concerning our practice of being "tolerant" not only of immorality but in accepting just about any religious "twist" anyone wants to give to most anything, since we have promoted ourselves as being in the position to set any "agenda" that suits our fancy!

    Remorse and a change of heart concerning our lukewarmness in playing the game of religion at our convenience. Our lack of discipline so that for most of us the vital experiences of intense exploration of God's Word and communicating with God in prayer are extremely limited -- the result is spiritual poverty! If we ate and drank for the nourishment of our physical bodies to the same degree that we eat and drink spiritually for the nourishment of our spirits, our faces would reflect sunken glazed eyeballs and our bodies would be nothing more than skin covered bones!

    Remorse and a change of heart concerning our pride in our "accomplishments" as we heap to ourselves our impressive temples of worship, our financial gains, and increased numbers of "members" -- shades of Laodicea! (Revelation 3).

    Remorse and a change of heart concerning our indifference to Jesus' parting command to take the message of Himself and the salvation He offers to all humans into the entire world with no exceptions -- we have too often bought into the heresy that it is not our business to invade other cultures and disrupt their way of life with the radical claims and call of Jesus Christ Who died for the sins of the entire human race!

Will it happen? If it does, we will witness the greatest change in United States society since the republic was established in the latter years of the 18th Century! We citizens will indeed love one another, treat one another fairly and honestly in all dealings and transactions, and will seek the will of God in all activities and relationships. Not only will this occur on a personal and individual basis, but on all corporate levels as well!

But if the wrong fork in the road is taken by the majority -- if the response is identical to the frequent responses exhibited in the ancient Roman Coliseum --

a "thumbs down" defiantly and boldly displayed in response to God's call to repent and believe on His Son as Savior and Lord, then look out -- we will know for the first time the harsh reality of what the expression, "All hell is breaking loose!" is all about!

"Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!"
Ezekiel 18:29-32 NKJV

February 24, 2004
by Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
W. PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of
Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gipsy PA

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