Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gospel or Government

Ok folks, you've had your little weep, now it's time to think.  I'm fed up with the moan and groan of statists.  Limited government wonks have become as preoccupied with elections and politics as the most ardent communist.  Do we believe that government should have less influence in our lives or not?

Several of my Christian brethren have chosen one of three routes to discuss this election.  Some see the election as the judgment of God on the United States.  Some find solace in the sovereignty of God.  Others use the election as further evidence of the need for revival.  I assert that we ought adopt none of these.  Determining that the election indicates God's judgment on the United States requires an understanding of the secret counsels of God.  Since this is not afforded us, we ought not follow in this trend.  While finding solace in the sovereignty of God seems appropriate, it does not give us much encouragement.  It tends to make us fatalistic.  Since we cannot tell whether the plan of God mean good or evil to our country, how should we anticipate the future?

Allow me to spend some time on the topic of revival.  Certainly, the nation needs revival.  Strike that!  Certainly, the church needs revival.  Revival starts with believers within the church.  Many believer sense the need and burden of revival, but none seems in the off.  Why?  I would argue that the lack of revival with so many people talking about it draws from the wrong motivation for revival.  When attaching the need for revival to the election, we have indicated that we want revival for political or social change.  Does God bring revival for the sake of political or social change?  No.  Revival comes when people start to pray out of a burden for the souls of people.  Revival starts when Christian, out of a true sense of their sin and recognition of the grace in the gospel, (not only in their salvation, but also in their sanctification) seriously come before God pleading for their own growth and the salvation of those around them.  Revival is not for the edification of the nation, but for the glory of God through the edification of the church.  As the church expands and matures, God receives the glory of His kingdom. This is the purpose of revival.  Any other purpose denigrates the centrality of God's glory.

Beloved, you have a choice today.  Shall you find your identity in the gospel or in government?  Those who choose the latter will live in fear and discouragement.  The election becomes a referendum on religious faith.  Government becomes the object of our hope in the future.  The next four years will look either bleak or blessed according to whether your man has won.  Let this not be your story!

The gospel alone encourages our heart regardless of elections.  The next four years depends not on the occupant of the White House, but the occupant of the right hand of the Father.  This is the necessary corollary to sovereignty.  It is not merely that God is sovereign.  It is that God is redemptively sovereign.  God's plan is not an unknown imposition upon us.  God redeems His people.  God's plan is our perfection.

The gospel defines our identity.  Who I am does not depend on the government.  It depends on the one who saved me.  What care I of the occupant of the White House when my advocate sits at God's right hand interceding for me?  What need I fear when nothing separates me from the love that is in Christ Jesus?  When God works all things together for my good, what does it matter that fifty million people disagree with me?

Even in disappointment, I do not dispair.  After all, have you not considered that if God can sovereignly drag your sorry carcass out of the sludge of sin, He can do the same with all those politicians?  The almighty saves His own.  They do not save themselves.  As He drug us by His Spirit to faith, He can do so with others.  Why do we not pray for those in opposition to God that they may be converted?  After all, is that not the start of revival?  If God saves sinners like us, can He not save those within the "halls of power" just as easily? The God who gains glory through our salvation, may He not choose to extend His glory through the salvation of those in government?

Christian, there is no reason for discouragement.  We may be disappointed by the election, but ought not be discouraged.  You may not have considered yourself to have put your trust in government, but if you suffer discouragement at an election or if you long for revival for political or social reasons, your faith rests in DC.  Let the gospel reign in your hearts.  See yourself, not in term of your national identity, but in who you are in Christ.

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." Psalm 42:11

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