The Hope of the Nations

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:8-13).

This Thanksgiving is different, if you haven’t noticed. America is different, from even a year ago. America is, in many ways, in a crisis. Like much of the world, we have been impacted by COVID-19. There is what some might call a standoff in the Presidential election. The nation is bitterly divided—shattered, one might even say—along political, racial, social, and religious lines (to name a few). 

So too is the church. Never in her history has the church been so splintered and fractured. And the sad thing is she is fractured in the same ways as America is. This is a sure sign that the world has greatly affected the church. The church needs healing. The church needs unity. The church needs Hope. That’s what this season, starting after Thanksgiving is all about. 

The season starting Sunday is often called Advent. Its focus is the coming of Christ. When God the Father sent His Son into the world, He was sending Hope. Jesus is not only God-incarnate but also Hope-Incarnate.

What is This Thing Called Hope?

What does it mean to hope? The Greek word for hope in the New Testament is elpizō. Its primary meaning is a confident expectation. It’s not mere wishful thinking. In the Bible the main sense of the word  is the firm conviction that because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we can have confidence as we face the future. Not confidence that an event will turn out as we may wish or “hope” it does, but rather a confidence in the goodness and purpose of the One who holds the future in His hand.

In Whom Do We Hope?

Today, we are seeing the removal of hope. The things that people place their hope and trust in are falling. One by one.

Political Parties
The Stock Market

The list could go on and on. Mankind has always had a habit of placing hope in anything other than God. There’s a song by the group Styx that accurately captures this idea. Here are some of the lines. See if they resonate with you:

Every night I say a prayer
In the hopes that there’s a Heaven
And everyday I’m more confused
As the saints turn into sinners

All the heroes and legends
I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay
And I feel this empty place inside
So afraid that I’ve lost my faith
. . . . 
And as I slowly drift to sleep
For a moment dreams are sacred
I close my eyes and know there’s peace
In a world so filled with hatred

That I wake up each morning and turn on the news
To find we’ve so far to go
And I keep on hoping for a sign
So afraid I just won’t know     — “Show Me the Way,” Styx (1990).

These lyrics sound a lot like they could describe many of us today, don’t they? They reveal a fundamental flaw, however, in the human character. Anytime we place hope or trust in someone or something other than God, we risk being let down. It’s a fact of life. 

Jesus: The Hope of Jews and Gentiles

Notice what Paul says about Jesus here: He became a servant (or minister) to the circumcised (the Jews) to show God’s truthfulness (faithfulness), and to confirm the promises given beforehand (v. 8). Then Paul says in effect “He did all this so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for His mercy” (vv. 9-12a). Now we have both Jews and Gentiles praising God for His faithfulness and mercy.

In Scripture, God is referred to as “the hope of Israel” (see Jer. 14:8; 17:13; Acts 28:20)  Here, Paul refers to Jesus as the hope of the Gentiles (v. 12b, “in him will the Gentiles hope”). So, Jesus is the only hope for Jews and Gentiles.

That’s everyone. That’s right. The Bible speaks of only two categories when it comes to people: the Jewish nation and everyone else. And Jesus is the hope–the only hope of both categories. You and I fall into one of those categories. Thus, He is our only hope. 

The Test of Hope

Our hope, like our faith, will be tested (the words are so interconnected, that hope is often used in the same sense as “faith” or trust). How do we know if our hope is in God, and not the things or people of this world? The answer is similar to the old analogy of the jar of honey and jar of vinegar that get knocked over. What was inside comes out.

In the same way, it’s the trials of life that will reveal where I hope lies. We will get knocked over. We will get hurt, rejected, and see hardship. 

When that relationship ends….
When we don’t get the promotion we wanted….
When we don’t get the house we wanted….
When “our” candidate doesn’t win….
When the test reveals dreadful news….
When the pastor lets us down….

Where is our hope? Notice these statements begin with “when,” and not “if.” It bears repeating: We will get knocked down by life. We will have hardship. Jesus promised that in this life we would have tribulation. But He was quick to point out, “Take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). How do we know where our hope lies?

The one whose hope is in the world–things and/or people–will be crushed. He or she will be angry and hurt. Perhaps angry at himself, most certainly angry at others, and often even angry at God. The focus will be on righting the wrong, so that some sort of peace can be restored to the soul. Little or no thought is given to the purposes of God. Or if His purposes are considered, it’s automatically assumed that they must have been thwarted (which reveals an even bigger problem).

The one whose hope is firmly fixed on Christ, however, will still have the same hardships–and in many cases, even more hardships. (That’s what most people don’t realize about following Christ.) He or she will still be hurt, perhaps even shaken a little. Those things are normal and natural. Even Job cursed the day of his birth. Yet, the one whose eyes and heart is fixed on Christ will quickly return to Him. With doubt, fear, questions–but a deeper hope that the Lord is good and in control. Such a one realizes that the ways and thoughts of man could never compare to the Lord’s ways and thoughts. And he willingly embraces the trial and hardship as one of God’s tools for growth. 

This is the difference. This is how we know where our hope lies. And this is the only real way to know. It’s easy to say, “My hope is in the Lord” when times are good. But the hardships of life reveal our true heart.

Hope in the God of Hope

Paul closes this section with a blessing on the believers–and by extension that includes us. He first references the “God of Hope.” This means at least two things: 1) God is the source and embodiment of hope; and 2) God is the giver of hope. He prays that the believers would be filled by God with “all joy and peace in believing.” 

Why joy and peace and not hope? Because one must have peace and joy in life before that confident expectation arises. The peace that Paul speaks of is the peace that passes all understanding. The peace that exists regardless of circumstances. Joy likewise comes from a place of seeing the goodness of God in the midst of the darkest of seasons. 

Hope is the result of these, and Paul says it comes “by the power of the Spirit.” The only way to have true hope–the hope in Christ–is to have the Spirit of Christ (the Spirit of Hope). The one with this hope has experienced the peace and joy in the midst of hardships, and has found God to be faithful and trustworthy. And knowing that God is sovereign and good, the one with this hope can rest confidently in the Lord’s plan and look to the future with confidence.

As we prepare for the season of Hope, looking forward to the coming of Christ in Advent, let’s pray that the Father would turn our eyes to Him, away from the idols of clay we have built up. Let’s ask Him to fill us with His peace and joy, so that we too may experience the hope that lies in Christ.


The Law of the Lord II (Ps. 119:17-32)

Deal bountifully with your servant,
    that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
    wondrous things out of your law.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
    hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
    for your rules at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
    who wander from your commandments.
Take away from me scorn and contempt,
    for I have kept your testimonies.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
    your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your testimonies are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

My soul clings to the dust;
    give me life according to your word!
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
    teach me your statutes!
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
    and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me
    and graciously teach me your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
    let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
    when you enlarge my heart! — Psalms 119:1-16

When traveling to another country, we often encounter different cultures and social rules. A traveler from America going to France, for example, might be quite confused with the differences in culture. A traveler from Japan visiting America would definitely be shocked at some of our cultural differences. One can even see differences in culture traveling to different parts of the same country.

A Sojourner in Another Country

If one were only visiting for a short time, such things might only become a nuisance. but if one is planning to live in the new country, many problems can arise. This is the situation in which the Psalmist finds himself in this part of Psalm 119. Notice what he writes in verse 19: I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! The word translated sojourner simply means “a guest, visitor, foreigner.” The Psalmist finds himself in a place that is not home but in which he has to live. It’s the same idea employed by the writer of Hebrews when talking of the saints of old: 

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth (Hebrews 11:13, emphasis added).

So, the Psalmist, like the other Old Testament saints is acknowledging that he too is in a place other than home, a place through which he is passing. Notice what he says after that acknowledgment: don’t hide your commandments from me! Translation? “I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place, a place in which I don’t know how to live. Tell me how to live here!”In fact, this part of the Psalm opens with a plea for grace: Deal bountifully with your servant . . . open my eyes . . . (vv. 17-18). He continues to ask God for mercy and grace to understand His ways. 

He wants to know the Lord’s ways for living so intensely that his “soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (v. 20). He knows that the Lord rebukes and disciplines “the insolent, accursed ones who wander from your commandments” (v. 21). He reminds the Lord that he longs to know and obey the Lord’s ways, to avoid that scorn and contempt. Indeed, he doesn’t care if the power people of the land sit plotting against him; the Psalmist’s mind will be on the Lord’s ways (vv. 23-24).

Difficulties on the Journey

The Psalmist’s journey is hard, he says. Notice the two examples he gives:

My soul clings to the dust . . . 
My soul melts away for sorrow . . . 

What does he say each time?

Give me life according to your word!
Give me strength according to your word!

The Psalmist says the Lord’s word is what he needs. Can’t you hear him say to the Lord, “When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes” (v. 26)? Not only did he tell the Lord how difficult his way has been but this also has the idea of confession–wandering from the path. Again, he implores the Lord to teach him. 

As the Lord teaches him, the Psalmist changes his position, so to speak. At first his soul was clinging to the dust, now he says, “I cling to your testimonies, O Lord” (v. 31). He has begun to walk in the ways of the Lord, holding fast to His statues and testimonies.

A Word for Today

Like the Psalmist and the saints of the Old (and New) Testament, we are also sojourners, aliens and strangers on this earth. Though we are fallen (and redeemed), we were not created for the fallen world we live in. Thus, we need the Lord to show us how to live in this world. The Psalmist reminds us to cling to the Lord and His Word–not only referring to the written Word, also to the ultimate Word, Christ.

As we do cling to His precepts and testimonies, an amazing thing begins to happen. Notice the last thing the Psalmist says. He is now not walking but running “in the way of your commandments” (v. 32). Though the ESV translates it as “when you enlarge my heart,” it may also be translated as “when you set my heart free.” This is perhaps a preferable translation, and that is exactly what the Lord does for us at salvation. He frees us to know, live in, walk in, and eventually run in His ways.

The Law of the Lord I (Psa. 119:1-16)

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, 
    who walk in the law of the LORD! 
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, 
    who seek him with their whole heart, 
who also do no wrong, 
    but walk in his ways! 
You have commanded your precepts 
    to be kept diligently. 
Oh that my ways may be steadfast 
    in keeping your statutes! 
Then I shall not be put to shame, 
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 
I will praise you with an upright heart, 
    when I learn your righteous rules. 
I will keep your statutes; 
    do not utterly forsake me!  

How can a young man keep his way pure? 
     By guarding it according to your word. 
 With my whole heart I seek you; 
     let me not wander from your commandments! 
 I have stored up your word in my heart, 
     that I might not sin against you. 
 Blessed are you, O Lord; 
     teach me your statutes! 
 With my lips I declare 
     all the rules of your mouth. 
 In the way of your testimonies I delight 
     as much as in all riches. 
 I will meditate on your precepts 
     and fix my eyes on your ways. 
 I will delight in your statutes; 
     I will not forget your word (Psa. 119:1-16)

With this post we begin a series on Psalm 119—the longest chapter in the Bible. It is, however, also one of the most foundational chapters when it comes to dealing with the subject of God’s standards. Because Psalm 119 is such a long chapter, we won’t be dealing with every single verse, and these posts will likely be longer than the average. We will, however, seek to draw out some important truths from the text. 

Psalm 119 is an acrostic. Each stanza starts with the same letter in the Hebrew alphabet, for a total of 22 stanzas. The entire Psalm focuses on “God’s law, statutes, and decrees.” For the Psalmist, this primarily is expressed in the law as given to Moses. More universally, the phrases refer to God’s ways and standards that reflect His character and will. 

Stanza #1: Aleph (vv. 1-8) 

The Psalmist starts off by pronouncing a blessing on a certain group of people. In the Bible, a blessing was said in the name of the Lord, and for those walking with Him, was given with His authority. Who are these people on whom the Psalmist pronounces a blessing? They are people 

  • whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord.  
  • those who keep His testimonies, who seek after him with their whole heart.  
  • who do no wrong, but walk in His ways.  

Do I have to be perfect? 

We need to first look at that word translated “blameless.” What does it mean? Does it mean morally perfect, without sin? The Hebrew word is תָּמִים (tamiym). It has the primary meaning of “complete, whole, entire, sound.” Though it can be translated as “perfect” in the sense of without blemish, that is generally only applied to animals used for sacrifice in the Old Testament (they had to be without blemish or spot, not injured, but perfect—complete). 

This idea is reinforced in v. 2, where the Psalmist writes, “Blessed are those who . . . seek Him with their whole heart.” This idea is also why Jesus could say, as the Divine Lawgiver, that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all that we are—heart, mind, soul, strength (Mark 12:30). 

One who is blameless, then, is walking with God in completeness. For Abraham and the OT saints, that mean keeping His entire covenant—including the sacrifices for sin (which is why we can say that blameless does not mean morally perfect). For those of us under the New Covenant, where the sacrifice has been made once-for-all, this means we walk with the Lord as best we know, keeping our hearts pure with regular confession to Him, walking in the light (1 John 1:5-10).  

A Prayer for Help 

The Psalmist then moves from the general (“blessed are those”) to himself. He reminds the Lord, “You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently” (v. 4), and immediately cries out in v. 5, “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!” This at first may seem like just an exclamation, but it’s really a prayer. The word rendered “steadfast” by the ESV is more properly rendered “established.” So, the Psalmist is asking the Lord to establish his way, in order that he may keep the Lord’s statutes and precepts. 

Then, he writes, he will not be put to shame (before the Lord and others). Why will he not be put to shame? Because his eyes are “fixed on all your commandments” (v. 6). Not only will the Psalmist not be put to shame, but also his heart will be made upright. He reminds the Lord, “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules” (v. 7). The sense of the verse is that, “My heart is crooked (deceitful, evil) and I do not know how to praise you. But when I learn and apply your statues, then my heart is changed, becoming straightened, upright.” 

Finally, the Psalmist ends with another cry for helps. “I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!” The picture one might get from this is, “Father I’m learning to ride this bike, but I can’t do it on my own! Don’t leave me!” The Psalmist longs to obey the Lord and walk in His ways, but realizes that His own motivations and willpower fall far short of what’s needed to do so. 

Stanza #2: Beth (vv. 9-16) 

Verse 9 starts the second stanza, and the Psalmist begins it by asking an important question: How can a young man [or woman] keep his way pure?  

The first thing to look at is the idea of “keeping his way pure.” The phrase rendered “keep his way pure” is a translation of the Hebrew זכה (zakah). It simply means “to be morally pure.” So, the question may rightly be translated, “How can one be morally pure before God?” 

How can we stay pure before a holy God? The Psalmist recognizes that this world is full of sin and opportunities to deviate from God’s path—and he has already admitted his own weaknesses with his cries for help. No doubt his heart is in the right place, longing to stay pure before God. At the same time, he could echo Paul’s words:  

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. . . . So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand (Rom. 7:18-19, 21). 

The Psalmist then answers his own question: By guarding it according to your word. (The NIV translates it as “living according to your word.”) The word here is the Hebrew שָׁמַר (shamar). It generally means “to keep, tend, watch over.” Taken together, this gives the sense of “Watch over your ways, let nothing cause you to stumble on the path, be careful to live according to God’s Word.” 

The Whole Person 

The Psalmist wants to remember, however, that outward actions aren’t enough. In the rest of this stanza, the writer returns to a familiar concept: wholeness. Earlier (v. 2), the idea of seeking the Lord with the whole heart was introduced. In v. 10, that idea is repeated: 

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (emphasis added) 

 Here, however, the writer expands the idea to the whole person. Notice what the Psalmist says: 

  • The heart:  I have stored up your word in my heart (v. 11a). The one who would be pure must start from the inside, at the heart. 
  • The lips: With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth (v. 13). The Psalmist speaks out or confesses the Word of the Lord. The more we speak the Word, the more it becomes part of us. 
  • The emotions: In the way of your testimonies I delight (v. 14, see also v. 16). Here the Psalmist tells us that as the heart is changed, he beings to delight in God’s law. He praises God for His just and right decrees (v. 7).  
  • The mind/will: I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (v. 15). Meditation is done in the mind, as the Psalmist thinks on the ways and laws of the Lord. Paul gives a similar command when he speaks of renewing the mind in Rom. 12:2.  

How then are we to remain pure before the Lord? The Psalmist tells us that to do so requires that we give all of ourselves to Him, that we seek Him, not with just the heart or the mind or the will, but with our whole self. As we do that, we can be sure, as the Psalmist is sure, that the Lord walks with us, helping us stay on His path, as we know His character, ways, and His laws. 

Politics and the Gospel: A Special Message

Two years ago I posted a blog (We Interrupt This Program…., 11/5/18) “on the eve of one of the most watched elections in US history, at a time when the country is more divided than ever” On the eve of the US Presidential election, those words seem even more accurate–and more ominous. What is most disconcerting, however, is this simple fact:

Not only is the country divided, but the church is more divided than she has ever been since the time of the American Civil War.

That might seem a shocking statement. But, if one just looks around at the manner in which Christians speak to each other about the election (and about each other, if they happen to hold opposing views), and the truth of that statement becomes undeniable. One look at social media, whether it be Twitter or Facebook will also corroborate the truth of that statement. 

What is the problem here? Is it that some are in error and have misunderstood biblical teachings? Certainly that is part of the problem. Is it that we have given into the flesh to the extent that we think we are right even at the expense of losing our moral compass? That too is a contributor. There are likely others. But those are only the symptoms of a bigger issue.

The church in America has forgotten her identity and her mission.

That again may sound like a shocking statement–and one that most churches and believers would deny. But think about it. Some have the idea that we are what we do. But that’s not true. We do what we are. A sinner can’t help but sin. A saint, one saved and bought by Christ, can’t help but grow. Unless he forgets his identity. Our thoughts and behaviors spring from two things: our perception of who we are (identity) and what we want to accomplish (goals).

So, we must ask ourselves, what is the identity of the church? Who are we as disciples? Looking at the behavior of many who claim the name of Christ, one would be justified in thinking that they view themselves simply as agents of change–and for many of them, any means are justified.

The Mission of the Church

Jesus gave one command to the disciples before His ascension. Most of us know it well:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

We often hear this called the Great Commission. It’s similar to a couple of other commands that Jesus identified for the disciples:

“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”’ The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

Wouldn’t you agree that those make up the top three commandments for the Christian?

Love God with everything you are.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Go out and make disciples.

Is this what we are seeing in the American church today? By and large, no. Many segments of “conservative Christianity” have become nothing more than another political action group. It’s common on social media to see more about the election and politics from Christians than messages about the gospel and encouraging other believers.

Some might object that we are supposed to go out and be the light, and be productive members of society, responsible citizens, etc. Yet, Jesus didn’t say “go out and be the light.” Here are His words:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).

He said disciples are already salt and light. And in this passage, He says nothing about going. The tone of the passage is more, “As you are going and doing what I’ve commanded, let your light shine.” Yes, we should do “good works.” In the context of the times, however, it’s doubtful that Jesus (and later the NT writers) intended that to mean politics. Good works in those days always meant helping others.

Civilian Entanglements

Paul wrote to Timothy these words:

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

What counts as a civilian pursuit? Anything not related to the soldier’s job. What is our job as soldiers of Christ? Referring back to our top three commandments:

Love God with everything you are.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Go out and make disciples.

Somehow those seem to preclude arguing with, bashing, and questioning the salvation of a believer with a different political perspective. We should remember that the Way of Christ is not a political philosophy. It rises far above and beyond any political systems and philosophies. It is not another way of life, whereby I impose my laws onto you. It is the good news that there is a way, through Christ, to have a relationship with God and be partakers of a far better world.

When we get entangled in civilian pursuits, we are divided. We must choose between our pursuits and what Jesus told us to do, which was to spread the gospel. If Paul could counsel Christians to not marry to avoid divided loyalties, isn’t it very likely he would give the same opinion about getting entangled in politics?

Questions and Answers

So, what are we saying here? That Christians shouldn’t vote? That Christians should stay out of politics altogether? As with many issues, there is no hard and fast rule to apply here. That would make things too easy, and not of faith.

First, nothing in this post is meant to suggest that a Christian should not vote as their conscience directs them–or to abstain as their conscience directs them. Voting is a right in America–and many say a responsibility in a republican society; we won’t tackle that thought here.

Here is John Wesley’s advice to voters in 1774:

1. To vote for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side

Looking at the current state of affair, it would seem Christians would do well to remember points 2 and 3.

Second, Christians should consider their level of politics. Contrary to certain political slogans and the still-present “Kingdom Now” theology, this country–and the world–continues to spiral downhill morally. Even with the best, purest motives and intentions, it’s inconceivable that a Christian man or woman can enter politics (either as a candidate or a serious voter) without being changed for the worse. When we consider the increasing hostility toward Christians and the gospel, that becomes even more problematic. But that also leads to another question, one that might trouble Christians, as it should:

Are believers becoming so involved in politics because they a) are scared to preach the gospel and see politics as the way of change; and/or b) do not fully believe the gospel and see politics as the way to effect change?

No doubt there will be strong reactions to this question. Many will reject it outright. Yet, the Bible tells us that, 

  • The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water (Proverbs 20:5). When we look at deep water, we cannot see what lies beneath. Often we act on motives that we ourselves don’t understand.
  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Often we don’t know our own hearts. We must ask the Lord to search us and know us, to see if there be any wicked way in us (Ps. 139:23-24).
  • There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12). Man’s way always leads to division, destruction, and death. The way of the cross, however, leads to life (though there is a death involved, it is death to the flesh).

That question is one that only the individual can answer, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. No one else, no matter how spiritual, can answer it for you. 

What is the solution then? As with all spiritual matters, repentance is the solution. We must change the way we are thinking, and then act accordingly. If, in the political struggles of this election cycle we have injured other brothers and sisters in the faith, then we have a mandate from Christ to go to them and seek to repair those breaches. 

The church must pray. The church must reclaim her identity as the Body of Christ, left here on earth to spread the gospel, both in word and deed. Politics will not have the eternal change that is found in the gospel. The church must pray that she will again be united–not as a massive political organization, but as the one voice of the Lord here on earth to speak His saving truth until He returns. Yes, we must pray for our nation and it’s leaders. We are commanded to do so. But the church must reclaim her identity–or risk losing the very witness that the Lord left her on this earth for.

When the church does these things, then she will be obeying those tope three commands:

Love God with everything you are.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Go out and make disciples.

[Note: For a similar but different perspective, see this wonderful blog that a friend shared while this blog was being prepared: Stepping Away From Un-Christian Politics (8/11/20).]

[For those of you reading this blog outside the US, please pray for the church, as we pray for you. Please also share this post, and see how the truths spoken of here apply to your country.]