“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1–7)
Dear New Life in Christ Church Family,
Christians are called to live outside the “spirit of the age“ (Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Ephesians 6:10-20). The Bible says there are spiritual powers that lead people away from Christ. It leads people to love the world and put their hopes in men rather than God. The world tempts us with this always, and the temptations seem to be escalating.
On the one side, there’s a spirit of rebellion that was highlighted in the events of the Capitol, not just last week, but over the course of the last two months. There is a kind of false Christianity that puts its hope in a person, that makes false prophecies about the future, and that peddles a spirit of anger, violence and even bloodshed. The language is intemperate and ungodly, even if the people profess to be Christians. These voices may be few, but they are loud and they are attracting a lot of attention.
On the other side, there’s a rebellion that demonstrates itself by shutting down opposing voices, and particularly voices of Christian conviction. While people have been rightly arrested for their actions, and face criminal consequences, we also see the woke cancel-culture seeking to shut down voices that are not consistent with the spirit of our age. Another reason to grieve the events at the Capitol is that the reaction to those events will likely be greater suppression of speech. Truly the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God (James 1:20).
What is it that we do then? The Christian call is described in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)
Notice, we are called to pray. I believe this instruction comes because the Christians at that time may have been considering their own angry response to local problems. We are called to worship. We must repent of unrighteous anger. We must forsake violence. We are called to pray.
And as we pray, we must trust God. We trust that our Constitutional system is good and that there are checks and balances throughout. We know that man is sinful, and we hope those inclinations have already been accommodated for in our governing system, or, if they have not, hopefully they will be fixed in the future. We pray and speak for truth and justice.
We must continue to gather and worship. I know that gathering is hard for some, and if you are especially vulnerable we understand that you may watch online, but it is more imperative to gather than it has ever been before. There is a false kind of Christianity held forth which is disconnected from the real expression found in local faithful churches. You will not find a true expression on the extremes set forth in mainstream media. Nor will you find it in the expression of partisan politics. The more isolated we are, and our children are, the more susceptible we are to false and extreme views. We need to be grounded in what is true, and one way we do it is by being with Christians in their genuine expression, as we find in the church, focused on God’s Word.
“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Our small groups are critical as we rehearse truth together and strengthen each other in the gospel.
And we continue to go to work (1 Thess 4:11), to raise our children, to share the gospel, and we always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We do not compromise on the truth. We do not amplify the lies of the spirit of the age, no matter what side they come from. We refuse to indulge conspiracy theories. We recognize that God has called and placed other intelligent, competent, and good people to political and health vocations; and we still examine all things closely (1 Thess 5:21).
Those are some ways we trust God in this process. Things may not go the way we want them to go, but History is God’s work, so we pray. Pray and worship. Pray and gather.