We often hear the message, “America needs to turn to God, or back to God.” That is not going to happen because nations can no longer turn collectively to God as Israel did, or did not do, in the Old Testament.
Repentance in the New Testament has a completely and compelling difference under the New Covenant. W.E. Vine addresses it, “In the New Testament the subject of repentance chiefly has reference to “repentance” from sin, and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God. The parable of the Prodigal Son is an outstanding illustration of this. Christ began His ministry with a call to “repentance,” but the call is addressed, not as in the Old Testament to the nation, but to the individual.”
It is now an individual act of repentance, not national. To insist on the nation turning back to God is almost a cop out on our individual responsibility and on our message that must go from one to another. A church cannot repent, or a group or ministry, or a business, etc., because like a nation they are inanimate objects/formations that are lifeless and cannot repent. Calling ‘America back to God’ is more a platitude than it is a reality… it may sound good to some but it means nothing. Only individuals can repent.
I do not doubt our ability to know the difference between nations and individuals… I am concerned only with the distinctions we often make in conversation trying to ‘call America back to God’ instead of calling each other back to God.
“I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Jesus