A Rallying Cry
As I sit in front of the TV watching the election coverage, a range of thoughts and emotions are running through my mind, as I’m sure they are for many Americans. It’s been a more contentious election season than many I can remember (which isn’t too many, since I’m not THAT old), and many are just ready for it all to be over, so we can move on with our lives.
There are many things we, as Christians, can say, no matter who wins tonight. I’ve seen many words of exhortation from passages like Matthew 6:34, telling us not to be anxious, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Anxiety seems to be the norm for most regarding this election!
Others instead look for encouragement from the Scriptures. Hope is a major theme throughout both Testaments, and we don’t need to look far before finding encouragement through what we have in Christ. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” 2 Cor 3:12. We are told in Proverbs 10:28 that “The hope of the righteous brings joy.” This certainly resonates no matter what an election brings.
I, however, would like to take somewhat of a different approach, which applies no matter who wins. I want to be realistic about the state of our country, and sometimes encouragement and exhortation can only go so far, especially in such a season where so many feel that their voices won’t be heard.
We are blessed to live in a country where we the people decide who leads us. This is a relatively new system of government compared with the rest of history, and we should feel honored to live in such a time. On the other side, we see the state of our country and the choices that are before us, and we might wonder where it all went wrong. The choices that the American people have made seem to leave most without a clear choice, and yet one of these two people will be president for at least the next four years.
So, regardless of who we wake up to as president of our Country, I would instead like to issue a rallying cry to the Church. In Matthew 16, Christ announces that He will build His Church, with Peter as the rock. To the Church, Christ has given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
While this passage’s meaning has been debated in the past, at the least the Church, with Peter as her starting rock, has been given immense power to declare what will be bound and loosed, drawing a tight connection between her decisions here on earth, and what happens in heaven. Because Christ is the head of the Church, we can know that the kingdom of heaven is in perfect hands, and even if the Church is still being perfected, we should not be afraid of taking up those keys and using them for the Glory of God.
This picture of the Church is much different than what we see today. The Church as a whole is cowering before the “might” of the world and of Satan, even to the point that she is compromising what God requires of her in many different arenas. My goal here is not to go into those areas, but I would like to give a picture of what the Church should be doing, instead of what she has done in recent years.
I suggest that we should look to the man who came before Christ to prepare the way for His ministry on earth. John the Baptist was directly involved in the world of his day. We read in Matthew 14 that John had told Herod (the leader of the then-world) that his behavior was unlawful, by taking his brother’s wife as his own. This can be taken in a few different ways:
- Even the leaders of countries are accountable to God for their obedience to God’s law.
If John the Baptist were to do the same thing now, many Christians would probably say that either the law no longer applies to people, or that we should not be judgmental to others. John the Baptist certainly held a different view. The Church should take note of John’s actions.
- We are responsible for rebuking our leaders when they are in sin.
Because the Church has been given the keys to the kingdom, along with the authority to bind and loose in heaven and on earth, wouldn’t this mean that a formal rebuke of sin in our leaders is warranted? Christ is Lord over all kingdoms; his death and resurrection has seen to that, and he is sitting at God’s right hand until all things are placed in subjection to Him. If we have that kind of power behind us, we should be ashamed at not trusting in that power and acting accordingly
- It will not be easy, or painless.
God never promised us that our lives in this world would be easy, and this is no exception. Notice John’s fate after he confronted Herod.
Spoilers: He got beheaded.
The Church will certainly face persecution as she has many times before in the past.
As Americans, we have lived in relative comfort, free to practice our religion like no other Christians in history can claim. However, like Israel, many of us have grown content and forgotten the Lord or God, who carried us out of the slavery of sin and death. We should certainly repent for our laziness, and then tomorrow, no matter who our leader is, exhort the next President to acknowledge Christ as Lord (as He truly is) and uphold His laws and His justice.
As a sidenote, I realize there is a lot here that requires further explanation or discussion. For further reading, I would recommend By This Standard by Greg Bahnsen. A lot of insight into this topic is packed into this book, and it is a clear and concise primer into the relevance of God’s Law today. Click here.