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America Abandoned by God's Wrath?

Q. I read that there is a point in time when God gives unbelievers and their nations over to the "wrath of abandonment." What is that? It sounds scary. And how would you know when God has "abandoned" a specific country?


Thanks for your question. It's timely because here in America we seem to be caught in disaster after disaster. Does it mean anything?

We especially like John MacArthur's discussion of this subject. What follows primarily comes from his CD called "When God Abandons a Nation" available from:www.gty.org. Your question is especially appropriate because many Americans are wondering if our nation is under some form of discipline or judgment from God.

They Reject God&He Rejects Them

When men repeatedly reject God there is a point in time when He rejects them in return. This is called the "wrath of abandonment." This precept is dramatically portrayed in the Book of Hosea "Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children…" Hos 4:4a.

Debased Minds

Once God has given people over to the "wrath of abandonment" they can no longer think straight. Their minds become darkened and debased and they believe silly, incredible things. This happens when they consistently and deliberately suppress the truth about God's existence no matter how strong the evidence proving God exists.

Many of them are not even willing to look at any of the evidence for God's existence! They would rather believe a lie than to think they may be accountable to the God of the universe.

Romans 1:18-32 provides a good description of what happens when God gives people over to their own desires and beliefs. Let's look at MacArthur's explanation of what God's wrath looks like from this famous biblical passage:

According to MacArthur, God demonstrates various kinds of wrath.

5 Kinds of Wrath:

1. Eternal wrath - or hell.
2. Eschatological wrath - the future Day of the Lord.
3. Cataclysmic wrath - like the flood or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, or a tsunami in modern times.
4. Consequential wrath - the principle of sowing and reaping (such as AIDS or venereal diseases, divorce etc).
5. The wrath of abandonment - removing restraint and letting people go to their sins and suffer the penalties for it.

Atonement for Sin

The most graphic revelation of God's holy wrath and hatred against sin is when He poured out divine judgment on His Son on the cross. Those who have accepted Jesus' atonement for their sins are freed from God's wrath and eternal punishment for sin.

Payback for Christians, too

This does not mean that Christians get off "scott free" for their misbehavior, however. While all true believers go to heaven, they may suffer loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ or discipline in the here and now (Hebrews 12:5-11). 2 Corinthians 5:10 tells us,

"we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad. If anyone's work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved - yet it will be like an escape through fire" (1 Cor. 3:14, HCSB).


Those who are suffering the wrath of abandonment demonstrate ungodliness because they have no respect or devotion to God. Instead, they have a defective relationship to the true Creator.

According to MacArthur "they are unrighteous, which is the result of ungodliness, and do not show conformity in thought, word, and deed to God's character or law."

Truth Supressed

They deliberately suppress the truth even though they know God through their conscience, from the evidence of creation, or from God's Word.

Hardwired to Believe in God

All men are without excuse for rejecting God. One of the most amazing, recent discoveries about the brain is that men have been genetically "hardwired" to believe in God!

Ungodly scientists assume that this hardwiring is part of the evolutionary processes to help mankind cope with meaninglessness in their lives. Christians and Jews, on the other hand, believe that men are "pre programmed" to believe in God - by God Himself. The Bible says it this way:

"they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Romans 2:15, NASB).

What an incredible passage! It describes our godly "hardwiring."

As a result of this passage many of us believe that our lives may be "played back," sort of like videos and tape recorders on the Day of Judgment. Scary thought!

Symptoms of Wrath of Abandonment

There are several symptoms of God's wrath of abandonment upon men.

Becoming Stupid

For one thing, those suffering from God's wrath of abandonment become foolish or stupid in their thinking. They can no longer think or reason clearly.

Romans 1:21 explains …"their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles" (HCSB).

Something Comes from Nothing?

Isn't Romans 1:21-23 a fascinating verse?

Think of it - there is nothing in our experience and scientific knowledge which says that something can come from nothing, or that there can be effects without cause, or that given enough time creatures evolve from lower life forms to higher forms of life. It evades normal scientific laws.

DNA Contradicts Evolution

The discovery of DNA should have put evolutionary theory to bed - permanently. DNA demands that creatures replicate themselves according to their kind. For example, domestic kitties, wild tigers and lions all reproduce after their own DNA or "kind." Domestic dogs through the wild wolves reproduce after their kind. The DNA code does not allow a dog to evolve from a fish, or man to evolve from apes.

Panspermia&Endless Parallel Universes

Yet, in their desperation to deny God many evolutionists came to believe in "panspermia" - that higher beings from outer space sent spores to planet earth to "seed" the planet with life. (Never mind considering where the outer space beings came from).

Furthermore, in order to provide for enough time for life to evolve, they made up the idea of endless parallel universes. In other words, men became unable to think clearly and became stupid!

"The fool says in his heart, God does not exist" (Psalm 14:1&53:1).

God Gave Them Up&Delivered Them Over

Another symptom of God's wrath of abandonment is that He gives unbelievers over to homosexuality. When women, who have natural instincts to raise and protect their children, resort to lesbianism, they have been given over to their own dishonorable passions.

"For even their females exchanged natural sexual intercourse for what is unnatural" (Ro. 1:26).

MacArthur notes that "Paul mentions women first to show the extent of debauchery under the wrath of abandonment, because in most cultures women are the last to be affected by moral collapse."

Then verse 27 goes on to say, "The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another."


The second half of verse 27 plainly says, "Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their perversion."

When the steaming bath houses in San Francisco were first revealed as a "petri dish" for bacteria and AIDS in the early 1980s, society's natural reaction was to demand they be closed. Yet, in spite of the evidence for terrible bacterial onslaught upon the human body through homo-heterosexual perversions, we were and are silent.

This is because it is not "PC" to speak against homosexuality or extra-marital sex. We have been subjected to "gay parades" such as that planned before Hurricane Katrina closed down New Orleans. We have watched them shake their fists in God's eye as they demand gay parades in the heart of Jerusalem. God's "wrath of abandonment" is in full effect - right before our eyes.

I want to point out here that all to often it is easy for Christians to focus on and condem homosexual sin because it does not directly affect them. Extra-marital sex, adultery and the use of hard and soft core pornograhy however hits believers in their homes. The Bible does not isolate homosexuality from other sexual sins. We as Christians need to examine our own hearts before we speak ill of others.

Given Over to Worthless, Useless Minds

Finally, God delivers unbelievers over to worthless, useless minds.

"And because they did not think it worthwhile to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, disputes, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know full well God's just sentence - that those who practice such things deserve to die - they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them" (Ro. 1:28-32, HCSB).

Good Shunned&Evil Exalted

Those who "applaud others who practice evil" in the last verse, may be recognized when the child who is a Christian is rejected by his parents, while his parents love the drug addicted and alcoholic children.

This is when society builds foot-washing basins for terrorists in airports and schools yet deny the Jew or Christian a display of the Ten Commandments in court. The separation of church and state is vigorously applied against Jews and Christians while the Moslem is afforded prayer time in school.

"Go figure!"

To conclude, let's remember Isaiah's impassioned plea:

"Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who substitute darkness
for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter."

(Isaiah 5:20, HCSB).



Holy Bible, Holman CSB. 2005. Nashville, TN: Holman.

MacArthur, John. 2007. When God abandons a nation. Romans 1:18-32. (CD 80-314). Available from:www.gty.org.

The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV. 1997. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. (Study notes, pgs. 1693-1694).

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