2 Chronicles 7:14

Does it describe the works of a Christian?

 

By Dr. Ken Matto

 

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

A verse that is used quite extensively to bring Christians back to an obedient life is 2 Chronicles 7:14 plus it is used in connection with revival.  Does this verse apply to Christians or does it apply to ancient Israel when they had walked away from the Lord and took up the lifestyle of idolatry? 

 

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.  (Hosea 13:9)  If one goes through the book of Hosea, it will be seen that God was going to judge the northern ten tribes otherwise known as Ephraim.  That judgment came to pass in 721 B.C. when the ten northern tribes went into captivity never again to return to their land.  However, up until that time God had repeatedly told Ephraim that he was their help and only in him  would they be able to find true peace and life.  In Hosea 14:1 God tells Israel to return to him.  O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.  (Hosea 14:1)  Then the LORD promised to heal their backsliding.  I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.  (Hosea 14:4)  Here we would see an application for 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if Ephraim turned from their wicked ways of idolatry, then God would heal their land and their backslidings.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 is located in the section of scripture where Solomon had just finished dedicating the temple.  God had told Solomon that if his people would turn from their wicked ways and seek him then he would hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.  Notice verse 15.  Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.  (2 Chronicles 7:15)  God was giving specific instructions to Solomon about the people of Israel.  Then in verse 15 God states that he would hear the prayers and his eyes would be attentive to the prayers made in the temple.  Verse 14 & 15 cannot be separated because they focus on one major theme and that is obedience to the LORD and prayer in the temple.  2 Chronicles 7:14 is not speaking about the Christian but about ancient Israel.  Solomon started reigning about 970 B.C and reigned to about 931-30 B.C.  Hosea started to prophesy about 800 B.C and prophesied over a period of about 70 years.  So we can see that the ten tribe northern kingdom had become fully apostate in only 130 years after they made an alliance with Tyre and Sidon, both cities which worshipped Baal.  Hosea was sent primarily to the northern kingdom.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 contains the word “wicked.”  The word wicked is used 24 times in the New Testament within 23 verses and not once is the word ever used in conjunction with the true believer.  The word wickedness is used 9 times in 9 verses and is never used in any description of the believer or their actions.

 

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  (Romans 1:29)

 

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  (Colossians 1:21)

 

Notice in these two New Testament verses that being wicked is associated with those who have not become saved.  Wicked or wickedness is never associated with the true Christian but only the unbeliever.

 

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  (Matthew 13:19)

 

In Matthew 13:19, the term wicked is associated with Satan himself, so if a Christian is considered to be wicked, then they are not Christians at all but are still in an unsaved state.  The question remains, can a true Christian commit an act of wickedness?  The answer is yes because we are still in the flesh.  I personally knew a Christian man who committed suicide over a family matter.  Is self-murder wickedness?  It sure is!  I knew this man was a Christian but he allowed himself to be overtaken by the flesh and as a result he murdered himself.

 

The next question that remains is, did this man go to heaven?  He sure did because every sin that a Christian ever committed or will commit is covered by the blood of Christ.  Christians are forgiven people.  When Christ died on the cross, this man’s sins just like mine were all in the future.

 

{13} And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (Colossians 2:13-14)

 

Colossians states plainly that those who are saved have been made alive through Christ and that he has forgiven all our trespasses.  Murder whether it is of someone else or ourselves, is a sin and that has been forgiven according to the Scriptures.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  (Psalm 103:12)

 

Now let us go back to the word “backsliding.”  It must be understood that the term “backsliding” never refers to the Christian because whenever the term is used in the Old Testament it is used in response to the sinning of Israel as a corporate nation.  The term “backsliding” does not occur at all in the New Testament.  It is used  a total of 11 times in the books of Jeremiah and Hosea and nowhere else in the Bible.  The Hebrew word behind “backsliding” carries with it the meaning of “apostasy.”  A true born again Christian will never go into apostasy, that is something only an unbeliever will do.  A born again Christian may adopt a wrong teaching or may sin but that does not equal apostasy.

 

In the New Testament we find the Greek word “apostasia” which translates “rebellion, backsliding, apostasy, or departure.”  The word is only used twice in the entire New Testament:

 

And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.  (Acts 21:21)

 

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

 

As you can see both uses of the word are not associated with the spiritual lives of Christians.  A true Christian cannot fall into apostasy because that would mean they have lost their salvation, something which is impossible for a true Christian.  Even those who hold to the false belief of free will know that Christ is the only way to heaven.  Those Christians who use the modern versions of the Bible also know that Christ is the only way to heaven.  There is an interesting verse found in 1 John 2 which tells us the difference between those who stayed and those who departed, which is one of the meanings of “apostasia.”  

 

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.  (1 John 2:19)

 

Those who are unsaved and join in Christianity will soon show their true commitment by departing from the faith.  They departed simply because they were unsaved and were not true Christians.  John uses the term “us” 5 times meaning there is a difference between the “us” who are the true Christians and those who departed who were not true Christians.

 

Summary

2 Chronicles 7:14 has nothing whatsoever to do with the true Christian.  It speaks of the backsliding of Israel into apostasy which was evident by their rampant idolatry and departure from the true God.  However, we must not discount its warning.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  (1 Corinthians 10:11)  Everything that happened to ancient Israel is to be used as a warning to us and that includes their backsliding.  While the true Christian cannot fall into apostasy because we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can do things out of the flesh which are against the teachings of scripture.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  (Romans 7:18)  If we allow the flesh to overtake the spirit, we will commit sin but if we keep ourselves in check, we will remain on the straight and narrow.  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  (Romans 8:1) 

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