Not that we could forget, but tomorrow is Election Day here in the United States. Like most of you, I am going to be glad for it to be over so that we can move on and talk and think about other things. For today, however, I would like to take the opportunity to shed some Biblical light on a topic that so many seem obsessed and anxious about.
Recently, I was reading Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Chapter 3 verses 7-11 is the text I would like to look at today:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul counts all things to be loss when compared to what he gains by knowing Christ as Lord. He suffered the loss of all things, and counted them rubbish, so as to gain Christ! We all read these verses and nod our heads, understanding that Christ is far more valuable than anything in this life. But do we truly comprehend it? I’m not sure we do, and I include myself in that assertion. The Church has enjoyed unprecedented comfort over the last several hundred years here in the U.S. There have been some good things as a result of that. Primarily, a country that has thrived and enjoyed liberty because it was based on Biblical principles. However. It is my opinion that there has been more of a negative impact on the visible church. We’ve become complacent. We’ve become acclimated to a lifestyle that includes minimal cost for following Christ. And as the perceived threat of the loss of that easy life as a Christian comes to a head around this presidential election, I see many professing Christians panicking. This is unfortunate. What we have enjoyed here for over 250 years in America is not typical for the history of the church. It is an anomaly.
Christianity grows and thrives under persecution. When you look at church history, any time that the Church has been under persecution, it has grown. We’ve been in an extended season of comfortableness and minimal challenge from the unsaved culture that surrounds us. It has produced a fragile church that is swollen with false converts who harm the sheep with the error they bring in, and the atmosphere of tolerating sin that accompanies them. By fragile, I mean a church that is accustomed to little cost for living out their faith. No, I do not think we can truly relate to what Paul was professing about his experience of loss for Christ. Paul understood that he was blessed for having suffered loss for Christ. A blessing that most of us have never experienced and cannot comprehend. I do not relish the thought of enduring persecution. But I do know that persecution, or at least discomfort with the ‘world’ is a normal part of the Christians earthly life. I trust that the Lord will strengthen me and help me to stand, if and when it comes my way. I also believe with all my heart that the loss of comfortable Christianity in America will be a positive thing for the Church. It will drive out those who are not of us, and strengthen the bond of those who remain. It will be a purification process. And we can count on God growing His church just as He has done in the past, when she has been under fire from the culture that surrounds her.
I am certain that God is sovereign over all the earth and all that is in it. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.” (Daniel 2:21) I believe that He is using this downward spiral that the U.S. is in to loosen the tight grip so many in His church have on this world and country. It is time to place our allegiance and hope in its rightful place: Jesus, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Soli Deo Gloria