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America Needs a Resurrection


If America is to rise from the ashes of its spiritual decay it must be renewed and restored by the power of God. This Easter season, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and not the darkness of the world that presses on us on every side, and find in His resurrection the hope of a brighter tomorrow for our nation and for our world.

On Good Friday, 1956, in the heart of New York City, there was a remarkable sight. Amidst the towering skyscrapers that define its iconic skyline, three illuminated crosses stood out against the night sky, casting a solemn yet powerful reminder of the nation’s Christian heritage.

This display was not only a tribute to the Easter weekend but also a powerful symbol of the Christian faith that once defined America. It was a visual testament to the importance of Christianity and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection — that once permeated the fabric of American society.

As pictures of that glorious display circulate on social media today, almost 70 years later, it’s hard to believe it ever happened. If we didn’t have the pictures, you might not believe it. To call it “nostalgic” doesn’t quite cut it. The idea of such a prominent, positive display of Christianity in New York City, of all places, is almost unimaginable. It’s often said that “the past is a foreign country.” Today, it seems like that past is from a different planet.

What do we get on Good Friday in 2024? Not crosses, but a proclamation of “Transgender Day of Visibility” issued from the White House.

The Christian faith once celebrated in our nation is now increasingly forgotten or even outright opposed in a culture now marked by sin, secularism, decline, and the celebration of immorality.

But the 1956 display of crosses in New York City serves as a historical, poignant, and melancholy reminder of the profound transformation that has swept across America in the decades since. Not long after that picture was taken, the sexual revolution of the 1960s began, ushering in an era of unprecedented social upheaval and destroying traditional (that is, Christian) moral values and norms. The sanctity of marriage, life, and sexuality were all called into question and ultimately discarded. A rotten tidal wave of secularism, feminism, and paganism swept across the nation, leaving a trail of brokenness and moral decay in its wake.

Today, the consequences of the cultural revolution and the rejection of Christianity are evident in every corner of American society. From the breakdown of the family unit to the epidemic of substance abuse and addiction, from the prevalence of pornography to the normalization of promiscuity, the moral fabric of the nation has been torn asunder. In the pursuit of personal autonomy and self-gratification, many have forsaken the timeless truths of the Gospel, exchanging the pursuit of holiness and civic virtue for the fleeting pleasures — and disasters — of sin.

On the first Good Friday, Jesus was placed in a grave because He willingly went to the cross and died for our sins.

On this Good Friday, we are reminded that America is also in the grave. We slouched into the Gomorrah of this dark tomb not as an act of self-sacrifice, not in power, and not out of love for the lost, but because we love our sins. And sin always leads to death.

But after darkness, light. After death, resurrection hope. On this Good Friday, as we somberly reflect on the death and burial of Christ, we do so with a keen eye on the horizon of the third day. Death won a battle, but Christ won the war: “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).

The Easter story, encapsulated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stands as a powerful reminder of the redemptive power of God’s love. Just as Jesus emerged victorious from the grave on the third day, so too can America find hope for revival and renewal in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The cross and the grave, symbols of suffering and death, do not have the final word — not in the lives of individuals, nor in the destiny of nations. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find the ultimate victory over sin and death, the promise of forgiveness and redemption for all who turn to Him in faith.

If America desires to grab hold of this resurrection hope — and experience a rebirth of moral integrity, spiritual vitality, and national unity — it must first heed the call to repentance. As the prophet Joel declared, “Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:13). National repentance begins with individual hearts turning back to God, acknowledging our need for His forgiveness and grace.

Now I don’t know if this will happen or not. I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to claim to know, with any certainty, what God’s plan for America will be. We might continue down this ever-accelerating slippery slope of debauchery and hurl off the cliff, crashing at the bottom into irreversible national ruin. God would certainly be just to treat us according to our iniquities.

But what I am saying is that if there is any hope — and there is because the tomb is empty — it begins with revival. It begins by admitting that we are dead in our sins and trespasses, and so we need a resurrection.

As one of the preeminent Baptist theologians of the 20th century, Carl F. H. Henry, put it:

“If modern culture is to escape the oblivion that has engulfed the earlier civilizations of man, the recovery of the will of the self-revealed God in the realm of justice and law is crucially imperative…either we return to the God of the Bible or we perish in the pit of lawlessness.”

The path out of the pit of lawlessness begins at the foot of the cross, leads us to the empty tomb, and brings our eyes up to the resurrected King of the Universe, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If America is to rise from the ashes of its spiritual decay it must be renewed and restored by the power of God.

This Easter season, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and not the darkness of the world that presses on us on every side, and find in His resurrection the hope of a brighter tomorrow for our nation and our world.

This is what America needs now, more than ever: A resurrection. We need resurrection hope. It only took 70 fast years to go from New York City crosses to White House proclamations on transgender visibility, but that doesn’t matter — God changed the entire course of human history in three days.

Yes, it’s Friday. A day on which the world went dark and the Son of God was slain for us.

But Sunday is coming.

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