I have missed posting upon this topic for the past several weeks because God has put something important on my heart to share. I believe it is so important that I have been cautious to jump at writing about it too soon. The fact is, the subject is so compelling and all-inclusive, that I wasn’t quite sure how to put it all in an easy-to-understand format on my blog. That was until I heard a recent message from Chuck Swindoll. His great, Godly words included a que that bridges the gap between the two parts of the message I was planning to share.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The recent popularity of the followers of Christ coming together in political interest groups for the sake of American patriotism is, in part, a troubling trend for the church. Not because love for country is bad, but because the priority of country is growing in priority over the precedence of Christ.
In recent memory hardly a single month has gone by in which there is some popular, public rally for one political cause or another. Hundreds if not thousands of fervent patriots gather together with signs and megaphones demanding that the government of their State or Nation recognize their rights to this or to that. In many of these instances, the speakers of these rallies summon the spiritual roots of these said rights. They (rightfully) claim the proper source of our rights and freedoms.
What usually follows is where many of these well intentioned speeches go awry. The freedoms granted by our Creator are made plain, but then demands are placed against our government to recognize these things our Founding Fathers preserved in the Declaration of Independence. Why is this a troubling deviation for the Christian?
Where the trouble enters in, is that a growing number of people are petitioning their government for these freedoms, but the number of people petitioning God for the same privileges is ever shrinking. The focus has appeared to shift from our Creator to our government as the source of our freedoms and liberty. This is a symptom of the followers of Christ having forgotten their first love and instead placing demands upon a source not entitled or empowered to make these things attainable.
Christian, government can act in ways that appear to restrict your freedoms, but it is Jesus Christ who came that we should “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). While this freedom is liberty from sin, is it not also a call towards a shift in trust from man-made institutions to a life fulfilled through faith in Jesus Christ?
Are we to live as slaves to a government, making demands and forsaking the time God has given us here on earth to spread His good news? Or are we to take advantage of our God-given freedoms and live at peace, expecting persecution, yet trusting in God’s provision?
To acknowledge that our governmental institutions do no longer provide protection of the Christian journey is a hard thing. It would be much easier to have a faith-friendly government which enables and encourages us to express our beliefs in every corner of daily life. Unfortunately we are no longer under the leadership of such a government and it is time we realize it.
This is not to say that we are to live lives in open rebellion as it is God himself who has placed these institutions over us. There is a point though at which we must seek God’s hand in matters of liberty and freedom through prayer and fasting and that should be done long before any petitions are made against any government agency.
We would do well to study the scriptures and see how those who have gone before us maneuvered through daily life under a repressive regime. Those are the examples we should follow and we should take note of the freedoms they enjoyed. To follow any other gospel is indeed a distortion of the gospel of Christ.