God has blessed us with one of the greatest nations in the history of the world. We have freedoms that many in the past could only dream of. We have the right to the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of the press, and the right to keep and bear arms. These are liberties many take for granted. We also enjoy a form of government in which we are able to elect those who represent us in government. In human history filled with totalitarian regimes and dictatorships this is a wonderful blessing.
This past Tuesday we went through the process of electing our next president. Regardless of what one might think of Donald Trump, he has been lawfully elected. He went through the primary process and prevailed over a field of sixteen candidates, winning the nomination of the Republican Party. On Tuesday, in a lawful electoral process, he was elected to be the next president of the United States.
Since the election there have been numerous protests across the nation, many which have turned into violent riots. While we have the right to lawful (peaceful) assembly, these protests are wrong. Because your candidate doesn't win an election doesn't justify mass protests (temper tantrums). God gives us two duties regarding our leaders: (1) Once our leaders are duly elected we must submit to their authority. Romans 13:1 - "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (2) We must pray for those placed in leadership over us. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 - "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."
I find the hypocrisy in all of this fascinating. In our generation we often hear the word "tolerance." But it is a one-sided tolerance. For those protesting, tolerance means all must accept their positions. Any other point of view must be rejected, even violently. What they are protesting is any infringement upon their autonomy. They want absolute liberty; the right to absolute self-determination. Such liberty does not exist with men. Only God has absolute autonomy. God has absolute authority; His dominion is absolute. What we are seeing in these protests is the continuing rebellion of human beings against God's rule. God declares the definition of marriage. God declares the proper expression of human sexuality. God declares the right to life, etc. What they are protesting is God's right to rule, but they will not prevail.
Psalm 2:1-4 - "Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!" He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them."
God's charge to this lawlessness is clear:
Psalm 2:11-12 - "Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!"
Monday, June 27, 2016
Romans 1:16 (NASB) - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
In this verse Paul describes the Gospel as “the power of God for salvation.” Oh that this would burn into our hearts. Paul had great confidence in the Gospel of Christ. It is God’s only way of saving men from their sins. How does a Christian demonstrate that he is ashamed of the Gospel? One way is obvious. We do not declare it to others. By our actions we declare we don’t really believe its power. But there is another much more subtle way we demonstrate we don’t believe the power of the Gospel--when direct all of our focus towards the Law without the Gospel. We bewail all of the evil in our nation. We talk about Roe v. Wade and the great wickedness of abortion. We cry against homosexuality and same-sex marriage and transgender restrooms. Every generation has had particular sins to focus upon. In the 19th century it was slavery. In the 1920’s it was alcohol and the prohibition. In the 1960s it was the drug culture, sexual promiscuity and the removal of prayer from schools.
On one hand, we must always speak clearly on moral issues. All sin is an assault against the holiness of God. But we must never preach morality apart from the Gospel. The Bible never tells us to go into the world and cry against sin apart from the Gospel. If it were possible to get every man to begin living a moral life he would still die and go to hell. The truth is, this world will never be made righteous. It will remain an evil age until Christ returns and creation is renewed. The Gospel, however, declares that Jesus "gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age" (Gal. 1:4).
As you speak against the evils of our age never forget that evil actions are merely the fruit of a sinful heart. Only the Gospel of Christ can deliver us from sin. May we be careful not to speak loudly against sin but then become silent regarding the Gospel. We must always speak about sin in the context of Christ Jesus our Savior. He alone can deliver men from their sin. The Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation. May we never lose our confidence in the Gospel.