It is my firm belief that society at large needs to adhere to basic Christian teaching in order to be truly free and prosperous. It becomes particularly important in the public arena. To take one example, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” [Romans 13, verses 8-10]. What a difference to our democracy if politicians and media commentators took this fundamental moral teaching to heart.
But beyond this simple teaching lies the knowledge of God’s existence. That God exists provides a fundamentally different perspective and worldview from the ME centred religion of the atheist.
This is the fundamental difference between the philosophies of Right and Left in the history of the English speaking nations and peoples.
Christianity demands sincerity. It demands that we avoid hypocrisy. It demands that each of us first and foremost look into our own hearts and minds rather than usurp God’s place as Judge in the lives of others.
In that foundational epistle of Christian doctrine, the apostle of the message of grace to the gentiles is clear. In Romans 14, verses 9 to 19 the apostle teaches us what perspective and what attitude to take when we consider what is right and what is wrong.
God requires an attitude of grace and understanding, and he clearly requires that each of us deal first with our own hearts. The priority for every believer is to ensure their own obedience to God and leave the conscience of others to God.
We are, of course, required to adhere to the Truth of Christian doctrine. But both Jesus Christ and the apostles are clear that grace must be effective in our lives in order for us to handle the truth properly – indeed to know it.
How much division and contention would be avoided if believers understood that God looks at the heart in our handling of the truth, and that he expects first and foremost our personal obedience when it comes to our dealings with others.
This becomes particularly important when we have the truth and we believe that others don’t. God preserve us from the Predestination/Free will debate – I know where I stand and God accorded me the grace to come to that understanding; the least I can do is to give to others the same measure which God has measured to me. The truth is not to be weaponised – it is to be lived. [Psalm 25,14]
So where am I going with all this ?
Believers have a personal responsibility to be holy and to live with an attitude of grace to others – it should easy, knowing just how difficult we ourselves find it to be holy !
And if that is true individually, then it is true collectively. And if there is a problem in the nation we live in, then what part does the church have to play ?
First and foremost to live as outlined above, and for the church to preach and teach that.
But collectively, the church is called to PRAY in order to mediate the presence and power of God in our world. Pray for governments, pray for peace and stability, pray for liberty of the gospel message. The apostle is clear about this in his instructions to a young minister in his first epistle to Timothy, and chapter 2.
I have for many years had the deep concern that the church does not know how to be church. But events in recent years, and now this current health issue, bring matters to a head. Get real with God and he gets real with us [again Psalm 25,14]
The specific current health crisis may well end in a few weeks time. But its ramifications will not. And the attack upon our liberties precipitated by this crisis by our own governments should be a wake up call to us all.
There has been unprecedented peace and prosperity in recent decades. There has been a complacency with our situation. The circumstances giving rise to that complacency may well be coming to an end. We now need a miracle to avert disaster.
For decades now, previously Christian countries have been overwhelmed by materialism and its progeny, atheism.
The reaction of governments to the Coronavirus problem is deeply disturbing and problematic for the future. It is the product of decades of the atheistic mindset moving centre stage in our culture, changing our worldview and our mindset.
Governments now therefore think that they have the power and the responsibility which alone belongs to God. They have taken the most drastic actions, narrowly focusing on a health issue without due regard to all the wider issues socially, economically and politically. Instead of calling the nation to prayer as in the darkest days of the Second World War, churches are actually closed, even though the appeal to God saved us back then. See this
Governments failed to contain this problem in the beginning when they had the opportunity; now they play at God !
This problem has been allowed by God – and only God can stay its power or let it ravage us.
Many of you who read this will know the passage referred to by the reference, 2 Chronicles 7,14. It demands humbling and it demands repentance.
For too long, the church of Christ in the western nations has been infiltrated and sapped of strength by the influence of this world’s god – Materialism. It is so bad, that doctrines and practices have entered which have no place in the lives of Christians and in their assemblies.
Our trust is in Methods and money, not God. Anything but Prayer and Holiness. I firmly believe that if believers clean up their act and if the church starts to practise the ways which God has ordained, then the church will again have the impact in the nations it should have – to mediate the kingdom of God in the affairs of mankind.
Only believers and their churches can put right what is wrong: they are called to be salt and light in this world.
By the power of God’s grace they can – and they will !