In all the Christian vocabulary there is scarcely a word more cherished that the word forgiven. It is basic to all our hope. We stand before God accused, guilty, and owing a debt greater than we could ever pay. But resting our case on Jesus Christ who in the place of sinners paid that debt in full we are released from it, judicially pardoned, and accepted as God’s children.
Jesus’ instruction on forgiveness (Matt. 18:15–20) and parable of the two debtors (Matt. 18:21–35) brims with significance on multiple levels. Here we will highlight only a few. First, we learn something about the nature of forgiveness. This is only implicit in the passage, but it is difficult to miss. The two debtors—one with an insurmountable debt, the other with a perhaps manageable debt—were both forgiven. The king released them from obligation to pay. They were frankly and fully forgiven. What we must not miss is that in so doing, the king absorbed the loss himself. He, in effect, paid the debt for them. Their forgiveness demanded a substitutional payment which, in this case, was paid by the king himself.
So it is with us. God forgives us absolutely; he releases us from our sin-debt. But he does not forgive by divine fiat merely. He forgives on just grounds: the God against whom we have sinned has himself, in the person of his Son, paid the debt for us. This is the very meaning of the cross and the glad announcement of the gospel. Jesus Christ took the curse of our sin to himself, and we are released from it. The lesson is clear: forgiveness demands substitutional payment.
The leading point of the parable, however, concerns us who have been forgiven. Focus lands on the debtor who was forgiven that insurmountable debt, who afterwards exacted full payment of one who owed him a manageable sum and sold him and his family into servitude to even the score. To him the king says, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (vv. 32–33).
The point here painfully obvious: forgiveness demands forgiveness, and this is what our Lord presses. When a brother sins against us and then repents, we are obliged to forgive—and this without limit, even “seventy times seven” (vv. 21–22). We ourselves have been forgiven an insurmountable debt, and thus we are implicitly obliged to forgive others. It’s the gospel way.
Your brother slanders you, harms your reputation, and then comes in repentance. He may seek to repair the damage as he is able, but damage is done. To forgive him you must absorb the loss. You accept the consequences of his sin against you. We cannot say, “That is the last straw!” or “I’ll never forget this!” Recalling the infinite debt that we have been forgiven we resist the urge to get even or even hold grudge. We forgive because we ourselves have been forgiven a much greater debt.
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By Tiago Santos — 5 months ago
It can be an inglorious task to say anything about the current generation. Some concepts that would have been considered “conventional wisdom” a few years ago and wouldn’t require a lot of explanation are now under scrutiny and being reframed in an impressive and frightening exercise of deconstructing ideas that we see today.
I want to reflect on something that seemed like commonplace knowledge not so long ago, but is now under this sort of re-signification, which is the respect for the elderly.
It seems that we live in a time when the elderly represent a way of thinking and doing things that no longer works in our society (and, to our astonishment, in some churches) and therefore it is necessary to distance oneself from them (or from us). My subject is brief and I want to deal with it in the context of the Christian faith, for my concern is with the state of the church, I mean, the state of those who professes faith in Jesus Christ.
A huge number of young people from the “Z” generation, that is, people born from 1995 and on, seem to be leading a relentless patrol to everything that stands in the way of the new ethics that the so-called “woke” movement established as the immutable clause of our society. This new ethics is comprehensive and incorporates practically all the ideas that have emerged from the progressive narratives of the last 25 years that give new guidelines on what it means to live well in society. The escalation of change in core values was very fast, and, it seems it started to be implemented even more aggressively after the 2020 pandemic. From areas related to the environment to complex issues in medicine, science, politics, sexuality, psychology and religion, in short, for everything there is a new norm that does not accept any discussion. Its imposition becomes violent, whether due to the cancellation culture, very strong in the press and social media environment, or, even more dangerous, as we see in Western governments, due to the creation of new bills and jurisprudence that criminalize public opinion and the discussion of ideas. Thinking in an old-fashioned way in the 2023 can be very dangerous and even get one arrested.
It is curious, however, that the method of this new ethics takes place through the fragmentation of truth, through the end of empiricism and common wisdom and through the use of broken narratives, disconnected of a metanarrative in favor of a broad pluralism. This has been called post-truth and means that each person or social group has its own truth and values, which can never be questioned.
It is very disconcerting to realize that this trend has infiltrated the Christian church as well. Many among God’s people are strongly influenced by this new post-truth ethics and begin to confuse Christian ethics with the new (and suffocating) ideas that regulate the life of Western society in this 21st century. Alisa Childers, American Christian author, addressed this issue in her moving testimony published in book form under the title Another Gospel? A response to progressive Christianity, and also in here more recent title, Live your Truth.
But I digress. Let me get back to the point. Elders are being canceled left and right and it is happening in the church too, right under our nose. So, let me first bring the biblical principle to tackle this issue.
The fifth commandment of the Decalogue, written by God’s own hand (and spoken before His people in the Sinai) says: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you”.
In this commandment, God’s people are called to love and obey their parents. A first and important element that must be highlighted is that the commandment is not addressed to children only, but to all who have living parents (Proverbs 19:26; 23:22). This commandment, in distinction from most commandments in the Decalogue, is put in positive terms and, furthermore, is bound up with a promise. The promise has to do with the effects of obedience. As we see in the wisdom books of the Bible, taking good advice from our parents, listening to and respecting our elders, dealing respectfully with authorities are generally attitudes that will prolong one’s days and make life easier. Add to this the fact that God himself promises to bless those who seek to keep the fifth commandment and preserve its spirit.
The expression “honor” comes from the Hebrew kabod and has a sense of weight, importance, glory and prestige. It is the respect that an inferior offers to a superior. The Westminster Larger Catechism, in question 126, proposes that the scope of the fifth commandment is the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors or equals.
The Reformers went even further and expanded the understanding of this commandment to all who are in authority over us—primarily and immediately our parents, but also the elderly, the magistrate, educators, and spiritual fathers. French reformer John Calvin, commenting on the fifth commandment, highlighted three expressions of honor—“reverence, obedience, and recognition”—and demonstrates how the principle of honoring parents can extend to all in position of authority: magistrates, elders, fathers in faith, pedagogues. In his elaboration, Calvin will condition this obedience to obedience “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6.1).
A very important point of the commandment is that honor, respect and consideration begin in the heart. Reverence for our parents and other authority figures should be a reflection and evidence of our honor and reverence for God in the first place.
Reverence for our parents and other authority figures should be a reflection and evidence of our honor and reverence for God in the first place.
We also read in Leviticus 19:32: “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Proverbs 16:31 and 20:29 reinforce the teaching of Scripture that elders should be honored. This principle is there because normally the elderly are associated with maturity, experience, wisdom, and the accumulation of knowledge and a better sense of realism of life. In the Bible, the elderly are treated as a reservoir of tradition, of family history, as the living archive of a society that lives through oral tradition.
The influence of the Christian faith in the world did a good job of carrying this principle of life forward. Societies that preserve the value of respecting their elders are usually prosperous and very well organized.
It must be said, however, that not every elderly person is wise and a model for others. We have examples of old men in Scripture who were involved in awful sins, and it is possible that some old men and women hold very immature standards or find themselves involved in ugly sins. Therefore, associating maturity with age can be a mistake. Nineteenth-century Austrian author Hugo Hoffmanstall, in his book The Book of Friends, said: “Precocious children and immature old men there are plenty in certain states in which the world sometimes finds itself.” The Portuguese poet Antero de Quental made a harsh comment to a foe of his, an already old man, saying: “I get up when Your Excellency’s white hair pass before me. But the mischievous brain that is underneath and the garish little things that come out of it, I confess, do not deserve my admiration….Futility in an old man disgusts me as much as injudiciousness in a child. Your Excellency needs fifty years less age or, then, more fifty years of reflection.”
But I perceive with concern a certain anti-elder movement in our days, and our evangelical camps are not immune to this attitude, on the contrary. The desire to remove the most experienced from the center of ideas and discussions is becoming stronger each day. The Internet is the space where this is most strongly manifested. Such an attitude is sometimes veiled, sometimes explicit; sometimes unnoticed, sometimes intentional; but it’s real.
Some, like Dr. John McArthur Jr., for example, have lived long enough to become subject of controversy, vicious attacks and harsh criticism from people within the Christian church. Men like R. C. Sproul, J. I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Voddie Bauchan to name a few of the “international” gospel ministers who have blessed the Christian church in their own country and whose influence reached thousands upon thousands in Brazil and elsewhere, are now under enormous scrutiny, suspicion and attacks of all kinds, some even targeting their character.
I guess, on the other hand, the older generation might acknowledge that at some point we might have lost the ability to speak up to this younger generation, reaching out to them with patience and grace. But this is another matter for a future article.
The point is that I have seen many young people (and others not so young, but with the very much in-tune with this new approach), seeking their place of speech, their platform and their role in teaching so they can show that they also have a voice, an opinion, an idea that needs to prevail. They want to make the case that they are sensitive to the new causes and demands that society places before the church and that they should be heard; but there is a problem: the old pastors, theologians and professors who have a distinguished position are still alive or, those who have died, still exert an uncomfortable influence. They need to be silenced. I feel in this attitude something similar to the young man who asked his father who was still alive “his share of the inheritance” (Luke 15.12).
Furthermore, it must be said that many of those who seek to occupy the spaces of the elderly still do not have much of a life experience, much church ground, so to say, and really much to offer. All they have is their opinion and their complaints. Their criticism mostly comes with the weight of hammer, seeking for validation and applause in through social media, but it’s all very acidic and very virtual, with little or no fruit.
It is not rare, however, that this tough stance and criticism towards the elderly, generated in the superficial environment of social media have their origin in people who possibly never had the opportunity to exchange a single word with their targets (who become slogans or an idea), never visited their homes, never been to their churches or talked to their church members, and who rarely read more than a few lines of their writings (probably just the excerpts that ended up on the internet) and, worse , their criticism reach people all sorts of people indistinctly, including many neophytes, who in the end will reproduce this procedure, in an endless loop, making everything very public, very ugly.
To mention a few familiar examples, I single out J. I. Packer, Martin Lloyd-Jones and Iain Murray (the latter still alive in his 90s), who rediscovered the Puritans in the 1940s and shed new light on the their teaching. R. C. Sproul defended biblical inerrancy in the 1970s, and vigorously emphasized the biblical teaching on justification by grace through faith alone and the holiness of God. John MacAthur Jr. rescued and defended the doctrine of the lordship of Christ in the Christian life in the 1980s. John Piper taught about the joy of life by faith and fellowship with Christ in the 1990s. Wayne Gruden emphasized the biblical teaching on the dignity both man and woman, bearers God’s image, each one having harmonious and complementary role defined by God in Revelation and in their very physical constitution. Tedd Tripp has helped thousands of people realize the importance of reaching our children’s hearts with the life-changing truth of God’s Word. Men such as Voddie Baucham who have stood up for marriage between a man and a woman and the importance of educating our children in the ways of the Lord. All these men suddenly became targets of cancelation, open criticism and controversy.
Scripture exhorts us to be grateful for God’s gifts in life of the church and to acknowledge the benefits of grace in the lives of those who trod hard paths and broke down stones harder than ours. Our elders in the church are our fathers in the faith and worthy of our honor, that we stand before their gray hairs.
Our elders in the church are our fathers in the faith and worthy of our honor, that we stand before their gray hairs.
Many of our elders have their struggles, it is true, they have their blind spots, their areas of failure and contradictions. But the reality is that we all have them. After all, we are all outside the garden Eden. Our elders may have made mistakes in some of their emphases and even in certain omissions, but what we do is cover their nakedness (Genesis 9.23) and not expose them to public spectacle, cancellation and mockery.
It’s one thing to fight heresy, false teachers, charlatans of faith, impostors – and these are doing a lot of damage. But it is something else to expose men of God who may have failed at some point in their ministry to public reproach and the court of social media. And even the measurement of ministerial failures needs a very honest and judicious judgment, which ideally should happen in the covenantal end godly context of the local community and never in the few characters of social networks.
Brazilian writer Machado de Assis said in his tale “Relíquias da Casa Velha” that “it is not enough to be right, one must know how to be right”. This is wise. It is a good principle that the Lord Jesus and his apostles taught. The purpose of discipline is to win the sinner and not to destroy him (Matt. 18:15). If we have to correct someone, let it be to win the person. If we have to prevent mistakes, let it be through propositional and preventive teaching. Let our exhortations, and admonitions be tempered with respect, consideration, and love, and let them take place within the safe space of the church ground through mature conversation of edification. Otherwise, we won’t have much more than the exposure of partial and sometimes biased opinions, which can stimulate hatred and prejudice to an indistinct public and without any condition to promote healthy changes. That’s not how we do things.
We are all called to honor the gray hairs, to be grateful for God’s gifts to the church, and to sit at the feet of our elders with reverence, respect, and deference, like the fathers in the faith that they are. This will also teach our children, it will teach our churches, it will teach society outside the church how we deal with things: with the principle of grace, respect, forgiveness, redemption and mercy. If these virtues do not guide our zeal, all we will have to offer is resentment, bitterness, vanities and a lot of self-righteousness.
We do well to remember that God is also referred to in the Word as “Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7.9) and his wisdom is much more ancient than all of us combined.
By Allen S Nelson IV — 2 years ago
In Part 1, we considered 2 Chronicles 34 and King Josiah. We saw how Josiah responded humbly and obediently to God’s Word. It reminds us that the great hope for the Southern Baptist Convention is that we will respond to the Lord in a similar way as King Josiah.
If we hope to retain Biblically conservative institutions, be a faithful missionary enterprise, and continue to see Christ made known among the nations, we, comparable to Josiah, must:
Rediscover the Book – that is, let the Bible again take its place as our highest authority and trust it as wholly sufficient.
Understand Whose Book it Is – this is God’s And since we live in God’s World, we must live and worship according to God’s rules. God defines sin, not us. God defines justice and reconciliation, not us. This is God’s Book.
Be Humble – We must reject the pridefulness of the world and go about our lives in God’s Way.
Repent – Josiah tore his clothes in repentance. As God’s Word confronts us with sin we must be willing to turn from it knowing there is forgiveness in Jesus.
Believe what the Book says – We must be willing to put our hope and trust in God’s Word. We must believe that what God’s Book says is best, even if the culture scorns it.
Teach what the Book says – as Josiah taught the people, so we must teach this Book without apology.
Do What the Book says – it is not enough to “believe” and “teach” the Book. We must build all that we are and all that we do upon the unbreakable Bible (cf. John 10:35). God’s standards must be followed, and it is to our great blessing when we do what the Book says (cf. Psalm 1).
Yet, there is another path Southern Baptists can choose. We could, to our great detriment, reject the pattern of Josiah and decide instead to walk in the ways of his son, Jehoiakim.
2 Chronicles 36 teaches us that Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim, was 25 years old when he began to reign in Judah, having been appointed to the position by Neco, king of Egypt. Jehoiakim did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. This reminds us that ultimately what we want to do is what is right in God’s sight, regardless of what the world might say. What God says is right is right and what God says is evil is evil.
Undoubtedly, one of the major reasons Jehoiakim’s life was evil was because he rejected God’s Word. Jeremiah 36 teaches us that when he was just 29, Jehoiakim had a similar encounter to God’s Word that his father Josiah did, yet with a woefully different outcome.
Deep Cuts the Knife
God worked through the prophet Jeremiah to prepare a scroll to be read before King Jehoiakim. The stage was set again, just like it had been in the time of Josiah. And although the people had been unfaithful once again, the Lord graciously pursued them by persistently sending them His prophets. This is just like God to do. Holy and righteous, but also ready and willing to forgive.
Over 100 years prior, the prophet Jonah saw this first hand as God’s grace poured over the wicked Assyrians leading them to repentance in Nineveh. But that time had long since passed. Jehoiakim’s reign was a new day.
God had not sent the prophet Jeremiah to a foreign land but right to the heart of His people. The Lord, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, was willing to forgive. How would the earthly king of God’s people respond?
Sadly, not like his father. Instead of tearing his clothes, Jehoiakim tore God’s Word. The king took his knife and plunged it time and again into God’s scroll. It was a crime of passion, tearing God’s Word apart piece by piece and casting it into the fire.
John Gill comments that this was “a full evidence of an ungodly mind; a clear proof of the enmity of the heart against God, and of its indignation against his word and servants; and yet a vain attempt to frustrate the divine predictions in it, or avert the judgments threatened; but the ready way to bring them on.”
The Way Before Us
Thus, as we approach a new year, Southern Baptists have a choice before us. When it comes to God’s Word, will we go the way of Josiah or Jehoiakim? When we reject God’s standard, when we fail to submit to His authority as mediated through His Word, when we live as though His Book is not sufficient for all matters of a godly life before Him, we are really revealing a heart at enmity with God Himself.
To reject God’s Word is not merely foolish but also wicked. For to reject the Word of God is to ultimately cast aside the God of the Word. And for those who do that, retribution will come. Ignoring God’s Word will not get anyone out of His coming judgment.
God’s Word is sufficient for how we are to know Christ, how we are to reach the lost, how we are to worship, how we are to handle matters of sexual abuse, how we are to order the church, how we are to plant churches and send missionaries, how we are to understand the office and function of pastor, and the list goes on and on. But will we respond to God’s Word in humility like Josiah or will we idiomatically cast it aside into the flames of indifference as we continue to trust the wisdom and ways of the godless culture around us?
Josiah was not a perfect king. But his life points us toward the perfect king we do have in Christ. And at the end of days, we must find ourselves on the side of King Jesus or all hope is lost. And if we want to be found on the side of the King of Glory, we are compelled to bow to His Book. To trust His Book. To stake our very lives, and ministries and the Southern Baptist Convention itself upon all that is contained therein.
If we hope for repentance, reformation, and revival within our own hearts and the beloved SBC, then we must conform to, comply with, and concede all to the Book of God. May we rend our hearts before the King as we kneel to the authority and sufficiency of the Book.
God is holy and righteous. But He is also slow to anger and full of grace. He is most willing to forgive. But the route we will ultimately choose is not yet apparent. Choose wisely.
Trust and obey, brothers and sisters, for there’s no other way.
 John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, vol. 5, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1810), 609.
By Tom Ascol — 10 months ago
Here is a question on which I have been musing for the last 2 years:
If the present generation of Americans were given the opportunity to form a new nation, could they create one equal to or greater than the United States of America?
The answer is an undeniable “no.” The only people who would dare to argue otherwise are those who believe that the USA is a nation that should be torn down or, as President Obama put it, “fundamentally transform[ed].” The problem is that most of the key leaders in this country fit into that category. I’m talking about leaders in the political, educational, cultural, and religious realms.
Establishment politicians have demonstrated their wickedness time after time by their inaction in the face of various moral insurrections led by domestic enemies who want to pursue President Obama’s vision to its logical conclusion of destroying the very foundations on which America is built. Witness the Black Lives Matter riots, covid vaccine mandates, legalization of so-called homosexual “marriage,” and forcing girls not only to share but to celebrate sharing toilets and locker rooms with males. Beyond inaction, too often and with increasing frequency legislative bodies actively aid and abet these domestic enemies by pushing bills and legislation that promote their insurrections. Witness the most recent example of the US Senate’s vote to pass the misnamed “Respect for Marriage Act” by a 62-37 vote. This latest maneuver is especially illustrative of political wickedness because it gives “statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.”
Do you see how they operate? By tying the abomination of homosexual “marriage” to the legitimacy of interracial marriage, the Senators could threaten anyone who voted against it with the career-ending stain of “racism.” By misnaming it the “Respect for Marriage Act,” they simply lied about its attack on genuine marriage so that unthinking & unsuspecting people would think favorably of it and reason that, of course, we should be for respecting marriage! It reminds me of Hitler’s euphemistic “Final Solution.” After all, who doesn’t want problems finally resolved?
Such tactics illustrate Jesus’ words in Luke 16:8, “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.” That’s true not only for our politicians but also for the creators and producers of our entertainment industries and other influential shapers of our culture. From executive producer for Disney Television Animation, Latoya Raveneau’s giddy celebration of her success in pushing Disney to promote her “not-at-all-secret gay agenda,” to Harvard graduates’ open (and, sad to say twenty-five years hence, highly successful) bold strategy to “overhaul straight America,” they have let slip their dogs of war to great effect on the Christian ramparts of this once-great nation.
The educational institutions of this nation, for the most part, serve as fifth columnists for the moral terrorists seeking to destroy the United States. By that I mean that US citizens are financing most of these institutions through forced taxation to further the agendas of those who are working to eliminate every vestige of righteousness from our borders. Parental protests of school boards across the nation over the last few years have exposed corrupt curricula and activist teachers that seek to push the racism of Critical Race Theory and the perversion of LGBTQ+ ideologies. Some even promote (serendipitously at great financial gain) child abuse through “gender-affirming” mutilation.
On April 26, 1983 the National Commission on Excellence in Education filed a report to the US Department of Education on the quality of education in America. The name of the report signals its findings, “A Nation at Risk.” While the commission focused almost exclusively on academic metrics, what they found led to this chilling assessment:
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves….We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.
One can only imagine how those 1983 sensitivities would evaluate the devolution of the American educational complex of 2022. Former failing pedagogy has been supplanted by LGBTQ+ promoting curricula. Listen to some of the teachers who teach that curricula by spending a little time on this site. And then consider that American taxpayers are required to continue financing the insurrection.
One of the greatest disappointments of the last several years has been the failure of so many Christian leaders.
And what have the “sons of light” been doing during this fundamental transformation? For the most part, they have been following feckless leaders who, if not fully complicit in the moral rot and godless degradation of this land have nevertheless facilitated it by their incompetence or cowardice (and in some cases, both). If they were not exhorting us to practice “pronoun hospitality” by participating in the self-deception of those suffering from gender dysphoria they were reassuring us that “God only whispers about sexual immorality.” As it was in the prophet Jeremiah’s day, so it is in our own:
“From prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:13b–14).
One of the greatest disappointments of the last several years has been the failure of so many Christian leaders. In too many cases they have lacked courage and conviction. Simple, God-fearing believers have been repeatedly lectured by our betters to toe the cultural, political, and educational party line during their attack on the moral order over the last few years. We saw erstwhile trusted leaders shut down their churches at the command of civil magistrates while marching in support of Black Lives Matter protests as if the virus magically withdrew from all public virtue signaling. We were told there is no Christian basis for abstaining from the covid vaccine. Indeed, we were shamed by accusations that refusal of the vaccine is a violation of the second great commandment.
As we watched businesses destroyed, livelihoods forever altered, children’s education retarded, and parents and other loved ones suffer and die alone in hospitals, sycophantic Christian leaders continued to scold us with reminders that pastors are not medical doctors and that we must always trust the science™ regardless of how often or flagrantly those championing that “science” refused to abide by it themselves. Failure to do so, we were assured by such leaders, is to buy into wild conspiracy theories. To add insult to injury, as facts have continued to come to light that expose the failures of our leaders, they continue to refuse to admit their failures. This is both strange and revealing for those exalted to lead practitioners of a religion of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. True grace sets Christians free to live in faith and repentance. As Martin Luther put it in the very first of his 95 theses,
When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Matthew 4:17) he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
Is a person who refuses to acknowledge his mistakes even practicing the same religion as Luther?
My love of a nation full of neighbors will not let me feign ignorance or remain quiet in the face of such demonic assaults on them. I want them to know the true God through faith in Jesus Christ.
I write as a Christian and a pastor. But I also write as a patriot. To some, that evokes charges of Christian Nationalism. Honestly? I don’t care. The longer I have lived as a Christian, the more clearly I have come to see that the second great commandment requires at least a modicum of patriotism. How can I love my neighbor as myself if I do not want my neighbor to enjoy the blessings and freedoms that I desire? And if I see those blessings and freedoms being destroyed by frontal assaults as well as by espionage and betrayal, is it loving to do nothing and stay silent?
If I know that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34), then how can I be ambivalent about the legalized slaughter of unborn babies or have my convictions so disconnected from my voting that I approve of a Christian voting for a Democrat candidate (whose party platform guarantees the protection of abortion on demand)? What kind of hatred must govern my affections for the person who is himself caught up in sexual perversion as well as for the children whom he grooms to declare that Drag Queen Story Hour in public libraries is “one of the blessings of liberty?”
My love of a nation full of neighbors will not let me feign ignorance or remain quiet in the face of such demonic assaults on them. I want them to know the true God through faith in Jesus Christ. I want them—and myself—to “live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2b). That is why I will pray for “kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:2a) as the Apostle Paul instructs all Christians to do. And such prayer leads me to action. Because it is insincere to pray for that for which I am not willing to use God-given means to acquire, I will also vote for those civil magistrates who will stand against wickedness and serve the cause of righteousness. And I will encourage all my Christian brothers and sisters to do likewise.
If that’s Christian nationalism, so be it. As Craig Carter so astutely noted recently, “if so, then maybe we could use a little old-fashioned Christian Nationalism.” Because one thing is certain. Our forefathers who founded this nation stood on the foundation of Christian thinking and Christian living that made possible the kind of democratic republic we have enjoyed. Those foundations have been intentionally destroyed by purveyors of wickedness. And the people of God have stood idly by as it happened.
The church of Jesus Christ has been commissioned by our Head to make disciples of all nations. The way that we do that is by teaching and preaching the Word of Christ—all of it, including both law and gospel. It is time that God’s people humble ourselves in the face of the undeniable reality that we have not fulfilled this commission very well in the last few generations of these United States.
May God grant us the grace to repent, to seek His favor and the power of His Spirit, and to give ourselves wholeheartedly to proclaim the lordship of our Christ throughout this nation once again.
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