by Mike LiconaNovember 7th, 2012 25 Comments
Today, Romney supporters are very disappointed with the election results. Where is our nation headed and what lies ahead? The West has been headed slowly on a certain course. In terms of politics, it’s becoming more liberal and socialistic. In terms of religion, it’s becoming more secular. Europe is leading the way, followed by Canada. And it’s now clear that the U.S. is more than toying with the idea. It has made the decision to follow. Last night we saw a majority of Americans, albeit a slight one but still a majority, vote to stay on this path. Construction of the road toward the socialization of the U.S. has been approved by its citizens and work will continue. The legalization of same-sex marriage has gained a momentum that may now be unstoppable. There are hints that the loss of freedom of speech in religious matters may be just around the corner. For those of us who are committed Christians, where does this leave us?
In the first century, the Roman Empire was, for most people, a brutal place to live. Rome ruled with an iron fist and crushed everyone who challenged it and even many who didn’t. An overwhelming majority of those under Roman rule lived below the poverty level.
And then Jesus showed up. He criticized the Roman rulers but reserved his harshest remarks for the religious Jewish authorities. He didn’t try to replace them or Roman rule through rebellions. He didn’t speak of political reforms. Rome was not a democracy. But more importantly, Jesus knew that real change, the kind God is interested in, is not brought about by a man or a particular government. That kind of change occurs in an individual.
Granted, good leaders can improve the lives of their citizens and bring about a degree of happiness. But God is more interested in the holiness of His children than their happiness. We must admit that the Church in the West has become soft. It is not nearly as vibrant as we find in countries where it is persecuted. In fact, since the second century it has been reported that the blood of the martyrs becomes seed for the growth of the Church. In many places, the more Christians were persecuted, the faster the Church grew. This principal remains in place today in countries such as Iran, the Sudan, and China just to name a few.
Perhaps persecution is what the Western Church needs in order to grow stronger and larger. As Western culture becomes increasingly hostile toward Christians, we may need to shift in our thinking. While the U.S. becomes more secular, let’s not speak of God’s resulting judgment as some will be inclined. There is nothing in the Bible that speaks of God responding in such a manner. Moreover, the U.S. is not ancient Israel, which was a theocracy. It was never designed to be. As patriotic as many of us are, we must keep in mind that “our [primary] citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). We should care about that primary citizenship more than what we have here. After all, God is far more interested in the health of His Church than in the health of a nation. Nations rise and fall. But God’s Church will survive victoriously and the gates of hell will not prevail against its forward progress (Matthew 16:18).
God loves each and every one of us. But His plans go beyond the individual. He wants change in us–major change. He wants to redeem others–lots of others. So, let’s think beyond ourselves. Let’s be kingdom minded. To alter the words of JFK, “Ask not what God can do for you. Ask what you can do for God and His kingdom.”
- Blomberg’s “Underused Argument for the Resurrection of Christ”
- Scot McKnight on why he is not Catholic or Orthodox
- Part II: The Other Reason All Conversions are Not Equal
- Textual Criticism in a Nutshell
- Christianity in a Nutshell