Many believers in Jesus, if not most, mistakenly apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to the body of Christ, God's people on earth today. They create campaigns, have conferences, hold prayer rallies, and preach sermons calling on the church to repent by humbling themselves, praying, seeking God's face, and turning from their wicked ways, believing that God will hear them from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land, meaning the country they reside in. But is this God's will for us today?
2 Chronicles 7:14 says:
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land."
Remember, this is an old covenant verse given directly to the nation of Israel under the Mosaic Law. It was a call for the nation of Israel to return to God in repentance, then God would hear and forgive them, and heal their land.
This verse is not for the new covenant church or the United States, or any other country. The law was fulfilled by Jesus. It has now been abolished through the cross (Ephesians 2:14-22). In abolishing the law, with its commandments and regulations, God has created "one new man" or one new nation out of the Jewish and Gentile nations through the cross of Jesus in which God lives by his Spirit. God did this through grace (Ephesians 1-3).
When people place their faith in Jesus, they become a part of God's family of grace. God comes to live in them individually and collectively. Together, they make up the family of God on earth. God is the loving Father of this family of grace. (Ephesians 3:14-15). God is not up in heaven to hear us, our hearts have become his home.
As loved members of his family, our sins have been forgiven through the grace he freely and abundantly lavished upon us through Jesus with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:6-8).
In prayer, we approach him in freedom and confidence (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12). This privilege of freedom and confidence comes from knowing "he remembers our sins no more" (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).
Our role as the church is not to carry out 2 Chronicles 7:14. That verse is not for the "new man". It is not for the church, which is God's spiritual family of grace made up of Jews and Gentiles from nations all over the world. Our role on earth is that his manifold wisdom should be made known (Ephesians 3:10). And what is his manifold wisdom? It is the grace he has freely and abundantly lavished upon us through Jesus (Ephesians 1:6-10). It is this grace we are to make known to the world.
We now live in the age of grace where the message for today is that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed (Acts 13:38). There is no "if and then" connected to grace. The message is that through Jesus, God is not counting our sins against us (2 Corinthians 5:19). Healing and forgiveness no longer comes through a nation humbling themselves, praying, seeking, and turning...but by his grace flowing into the hearts of people through faith in Jesus alone.
The "my people" in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is Israel under the law. The "land" is the land of Israel. It is not the United States or any other country, other than Israel under the old covenant of Mosaic Law.
We, the church - God's spiritual family on earth, consisting of people in nations all over the earth - are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6, Galatians). Our privilege today is to be ambassadors of the greatest message ever:
"All this is from God who reconciled us to himself in Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sin against them. He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God's fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain (hear about all God did or us in Christ, but not combine it with faith)...Now is the time of God's favor (grace). Now is the time of salvation" (2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2).
This is the message of God for today. We are ambassadors of this message, as if God himself were declaring this message to the world through us. Just think what would happen if believers all over the world would share this wonderful message, rather than seek to fulfill 2 Chronicles 7:14. What if we shared 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2 instead?
As we, God's spiritual nation on earth...his nation of grace, communicate the good news of God's grace to people all around the world, we will see healing come to families, to communities, to regions, to countries. Healing and forgiveness is now in the person of Jesus and the grace God has freely provided for us all through him. God's heart is for the church to make this message known to the people of the world.
But what does the church do? What do the leaders of the church do? They continue to seek to apply the old covenant of law meant for Israel, rather than the new covenant of grace for the church. They continue to have campaigns, conferences, prayer rallies, and church services centered around 2 Chronicles 7:14, crying out to God to give them what he has already freely given us in Jesus. So rather than proclaim the good news of God's grace, forgiveness, freedom, and confidence to the people of the world, the church is in bondage to a law they were never under, hoping to get God to hear them from heaven and trying to get forgiveness and healing from God when he has already freely given it to us by grace in Jesus.
So how will the people and nations of the world ever find forgiveness and healing if the church doesn't even know about the forgiveness and healing God has freely given us in Jesus through grace? How will they ever hear about it, if the church doesn't even know about it?
This was the message of grace the ascended Jesus gave to Paul by revelation to make known in his generation (Ephesians 3). It is a message of the height, depth, width, and length of the love of Christ. It is a message of the spiritual blessings from God the Father freely given to us in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It is a message of one family of grace...one body...one Spirit...one hope...one Lord...one baptism...one God and Father of all nations, of all people (Ephesians 4:-6).
God can do immeasurably more through the church, his family of grace on earth, as we embrace by faith what he has already freely and gracefully done for us through Jesus. God can do more in the church than anything we could possibly ask or imagine in our generation as we allow by faith the power of his grace, flowing from Jesus to us, to dwell in our hearts and then flow from our hearts to the world (Ephesians 3:20-21).
It is a message of grace, faith, hope, forgiveness, healing, and love the people of the world desperately need to hear.
So no more campaigns, conferences, prayer rallies, or church services centered around 2 Chronicles 7:14. From this point on, we need more ambassadors of the message of God's grace sharing the good news of God's grace freely given us in Jesus. We need more of God's people who are citizens of his spiritual nation of grace taking the good news of his grace to people in their nations. As this message of grace rings forth from the church all over the world, people will hear God saying I love you. I have forgiven you. I want to heal you. Welcome to my family of grace!
I encourage the reader of this blog to study Paul's letter to the Ephesians. As you read, ask the Spirit to give you wisdom and revelation in understanding this letter. You may also visit my YouTube Channel or Website Page for video teachings I have done on Ephesians. My YouTube Channel contains a few more teachings on Ephesians than my Website Page. To visit either page, click here: Website Page YouTube Page
A book I would recommend on understanding the old and new covenants is Jesus Changes Everything by Bob George. For information on Bob's book, click here: Jesus Changes Everything.