Where Indeed Is Our Hope?

You may not agree with what I am about to say and that is OK. The reason it is OK is because I know that there is absolutely nothing that I can directly do about what you either agree or disagree with. In essence, I am not asking you to agree, what I am asking you to do is earnestly and prayerfully consider the contents of this post.

The thoughts in this post has been mulling around in my mind, heart and spirit for days. And the contents have not all come together at once, but rather in pieces, because the individual pieces are important to be seen and understood for what they truly are. These pieces are battles of cause and effect, being raged everywhere and each of them, individually, may appear to be justified battles in themselves, but they are indicators of conflicting ideologies and kingdoms and there are crossed purposes that are being ignored, which cloud what we see, and especially how we react. And when I say we, I am talking to those who call upon the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I’m pretty sure that most of us agree that God’s Word is truth. The problem is not with God’s truth (His Word), but rather how we interpret God’s truth (His Word). Each of us have our own perception or understanding of how God’s Word applies specifically to us and also to others. That is why our understanding of God’s Word can and frequently does, differ between one another. All of us do not have the same level of understanding in God’s Word at the same time. We are all growing and growing takes time and the rate of our growth is not the same for everyone. But even with this variance in growth, there are major truths that are not optional to orthodox Christianity and one of them has to do with the Kingdom of God.

Jesus told us categorically that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). And according to what I read in God’s Word, this world that we do live in, is governed by ‘the god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4), and because of this, its worldly systems of governance are not in conformity with heavenly principles and concepts. However, we are also told that “greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and “but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  We, as Christians, can try to make our worldly systems of governance more in line with God’s principles and concepts but they are going to fall short because we live in a society where many citizens do not share our faith in Jesus and consequently do not adhere to God’s principles and concepts, not to mention, as fallen creatures, even being reborn with God’s Holy Spirit within us, we can and infrequently (and I am being kind) become susceptible to fleshly leanings. The short story is that there is not one of us, within ourselves, that is perfect, not one.

There are many truths within God’s Word and all of God’s truths are equally important but there are also truths that throw light on how other truths in God’s Word are to be considered. When we ignore the reality of where God’s kingdom resides and who still has power in this world, we do so at our own peril.

During the recent US Presidential election some have experienced relief at the projected outcome and some have felt dismay. Relief, that perhaps some of the discord and lack of unified purpose would dissipate, and dismay that personal freedoms and God’s principles and concepts would fall even more to the wayside. All of these concerns are valid. 

The thing is, this world that we live in is Babylon. It doesn’t matter if we are looking at the United States, Canada, Great Britain or Egypt, all of the world falls into this category according to God’s Word. Revelation 18:4-5 NASB reads as follows: “ I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive any of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her offenses.”

All of you are familiar with the Scripture verses where we are admonished to be in the world but not of the world, to remember that we are citizens of God’s Kingdom, that we are to be a holy nation unto God. 

When we put our hope in the person of another human being, regardless of how “good” they may or may not be, when we put our hope in our own nation, versus God’s Kingdom, we enter into crossed purposes and whether we realize it or not, we enter into idolatry. There is only one Saviour and that is Jesus Christ. There is only one kingdom and that is the Kingdom of God. And equally important, political persuasion cannot produce a changed heart. Only the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can produce such fruit. One could easily surmise that Jesus already knew this and that was the reasoning behind Him giving us our primary mission to complete in the first place.

I don’t know who wrote the article at gotquestions.org on “How should a Christian view politics?” but it is really an excellent overview and I would strongly encourage everyone to take a good hard look at it.

And in pursuing our crossed purposes, we have, whether intentional or not, become the very opposite of what God’s Word instructs us to be. Are we Christians known for our love towards one another? Are we known for being different from the rest of the world? Do we actively love our enemies and bless those who curse us? Do we place the welfare of others over ourselves? Do our interactions with others on social media demonstrate that we are ambassadors for Jesus Christ and as such we do not exchange insult for insult? Have we taken to heart the Great Commission of Christ that He gave us and placed His priority above all other priorities? You and I both know the answers to all of these questions. 

I don’t know about you but I see what has transpired as a call to repentance because collectively we have placed our hope where it ought not to be. 

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

33 comments

  1. Bruce, I agree 100% “political persuasion cannot produce a changed heart.” No social welfare program (or lack their of) will produce a repentant and changed heart. Papa Bruce, I will confess. I am struggling. I am a citizen of Heaven, I love Jesus and my hope is in Him not in man. Papa Bruce I will be completely raw, open and transparent. I am grieving the confusion of the LGBT agenda that is going to be forced on children/families (and on this world if Chuck Schumer has his way). Jesus has VERY harsh words for people who harm, confuse and mislead children. God is NOT the Author of confusion! I pray people will remember that! I am understanding more and more when Jesus says it will be difficult for people in the last days to be saved. Papa Bruce, I respect and echo your call for us to be Kingdom minded citizens seeking Jesus, living for Jesus our Resurrected, Overcoming, Soon Returning King (Hallelujah! Worthy is the Lamb!). Regardless of who won being Christian in the USA was/is going to become more costly. I grieve for the children who will not hear about Christ. I grieve because children are no longer able to have a degree of innocence, to learn, ask questions, explore/grow into their bodies, make mistakes, think for themselves etc. Not to drone on, I know where my hope lies. I also know I would be a liar and remiss (and ultimately disqualified from writing on my blog) if I didn’t admit that I am concerned about how the new administration’s LGBT agenda will effect/affect children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not alone Mandy, what with the transgender rights and other LGBTQ agenda concerns and abortion rights, it is not going to be easy. Hopefully prayer and the church collectively voicing our concerns, will persuade them to reconsider. Blessings!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a very thought provoking post. I can’t disagree with anything you said. But I am having a little trouble reconciling all of this with Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Can you comment on this? Thanks Bruce. Blessings!

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  3. We had one of our grandchildren over today so I didn’t really have the time to spend on responding to you that I would have really liked to spend on it ….. so . . . here is part two. The comment about Hitler had nothing to do with this subject. No one said anything about not serving your country or not voting in our democracy. In this particular case what we are talking about is being mindful that this physical world is not all that there is and our life in Christ does not depend on who is in the White House. Is it important, sure it is, but there are also things of greater importance that Jesus told us to focus on, one of which is that this world will pass away but we who believe and trust in Jesus will not. When I run into this, and I do, I just give them room because all that ends up happening is a verbal snow ball fight, which serves no useful purpose. Try to end the conversation on a positive note, lift them up in your prayers and leave that type of heavy lifting up to Jesus. Just doing that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Blessing Linda Lee.

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  4. Good post, Bruce! I know a politically-minded believer who is absolutely ECSTATIC over Biden’s victory over Trump. I’m definitely NOT a fan of Donald Trump, but it’s also clear to me that a strong identification with the Democratic Party and its platform should be very problematic for a Bible believer.
    As you mention, both political parties are part of the fallen world system and are imperfect. As you also mention, when we trusted in Jesus Christ we became citizens of Heaven. We are ambassadors and sojourners in this temporal world. Our focus should be on Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, not on temporal politics and prideful nationalism. Christians living in America have been brainwashed from the pulpits into believing that the country is in a covenant relationship with God as was ancient Israel. Faith and intense patriotism have been combined for 244 years leading to all kinds misguided attitudes and abuses. When we get to Heaven, our temporal citizenship won’t matter one iota, and yet it is one of the most cherished affiliations in the minds and hearts of most Christians living in America.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Tom, thanks for commenting. I agree, I’m not waving any flags for either political side and I’m not looking forward to the transitional bantering either. One can understand the extremes from outside the Church but what I am seeing from within is truly sad. Pretty sure the Apostle Paul would be pulling an all nighter if he were here. Blessings!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks, Bruce.

        RE: Apostle Paul
        Yes, it’s impossible to find anything suggesting the conflation of church and state or the prideful nationalism typical of Christians living in America in any of the thirteen Pauline epistles or in any of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.

        Liked by 2 people

    • That largely depends on what you mean by “survive”. Live out your days in this life, yes you can, live eternally in the presence of God after this body dies, not so much. Jesus rose from the dead to show us that He is the way, the truth and the life. And while Christianity is called a religion, in truth it is a relationship with God, here and now, made possible through His Son, Jesus. Blessings to you and yours.

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  5. A slight pushback, more of adding than subtracting to what you are saying. In other words I’m not canceling what you are saying as my intent. Before I go further that I do want to say I agree politics shouldn’t be our idol.

    1. I think I’ve seen more Christians who voted Republican admit Trump is flawed and pointed that out willingly more than any other time I’ve observed in past elections. I don’t see as much idolatry per se this time than say during the time of Bush, but then again I’m also limited to my circles and its not always easy to tell one’s own idol and the idols of one’s camp, which I readily admit.

    2. I think the relationship of passion and idolatry is fascinating. Obviously if we are idolatrous of say a political candidate obviously we would be passionate. But I don’t want to say all passion is idolatrous; I think there’s also passion that is driven by conviction, and some convictions are biblical, right, etc (of course some are midguided, wrong, or an issue of liberty, etc). I was thinking this point this past week since most of my social media friends on FB are left wing and I live in a left wing part of America than even left leaning individuals in other parts of the US have said my city and state is far left. Some of these far left individuals I have as friends on social media kept on blasting Trump supporters as idolatrous with pictures of them praying for the US, waving the flag, etc. I think there are some excessive Trump train guys we’ve talked about that in the past with guys from NAR, prosperity gospel preachers, QAnonn, etc, which frankly I have issues with. But come this weekend I saw these same friends do the same things they make of Trump voters as doing: They gather in the midst of a virus without social distancing, they get jubilant, they cuss about the other side, they take pictures and declare victory and invoke God is on their side. I scratched my head and felt the same metrics they used to point out political idolatry of the Right is equally applicable to them, if we want to play that game. I myself thing some of them can be idolatrous but I’m not willing to say all of them and here I think I’m much more charitable and nuanced than they would be, since I do make a distinction between idolatry and being passionate. This doesn’t negate your post brother since we need the constant heart check and the Lord knows he’s used your post Bruce.

    3. Building from part 2 I think its safe to say that the Democrats platform does have some unbiblical concerns that others have rehearsed here in the comments. I think pointing out the problems and concerns has its place.

    4. I see if Christians are pointing out the problems of Biden it is because the world and culture massively supports him and Biden too is no saint, something I see the mainstream airbrush. Even by the standard of the Left, he’s horrible.

    5. None of this should be taken than I’m a blind follower of Trump. First off I myself genuinely have a hard time with Trump’s personality, I’ve expressed that both in public and in private which some of those commenting on here can attest from one on one discussion offline from the blogging eyes. Secondly I think Trump’s rhetoric’s does give his enemies fuel for the fire and I wonder why offer it to them to attack so easily. To be fair I don’t think Republicans is perfect either, but a party that generally emphasize smaller government is less slower to enable government to go against the Family, Church, Christians, etc. I am by the way as a Veteran and Christian critical of NeoCons within the GOP who are addicted to needless war which surprisingly to some Trump hasn’t been a fan of these guys and their policies en toto.

    6.As much as this seems heated among Christians the division among non-Christians about partisan politics is worst since for believers there’s still something holding them back, with the Spirit convicting them, the fruit of the Spirit, their conscience renewed by God, being in the Word, Christ dwelling in them, a greater hope in the Gospel, etc). The idolatry is even more rampant. God help us. We need to preach the Gospel.

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    • I have a couple of questions for you Jim. Do you think that ALL OF US have been programmed to tolerate and accept that which most of us would consider as intolerable or unacceptable a little over four years ago? I know there are always extremes but from my perspective, that which was the general norm is now the exception and that which was the exception is now almost the norm. And I know there are undoubtedly a number of factors that have moved us in that direction but there doesn’t seem to be any general standard of decency anymore.

      Name calling is standard, demeaning inferences about one’s intelligence, nationality, demonizing, unchallenged lies etc, actually quite a long list could be itemized here, even using Twitter as a means of our leadership actually communicating policy and intent to the people, would hardly have been viewed as Presidential, four or five years ago. But LOWERED standards have become OUR STANDARDS and from where I sit, EVERYONE has been affected by it, some more, some less . And when I said there are a number of factors, I also think of extreme nationalism, far right, far left, deliberate misinformation and disinformation and the ever popular “fake news”, some of which I would think has and is being actively fed into the USA by foreign powers, and of course, the never ending stream of conspiracies. We’ve always had the conservative spin and the liberal spin but never at this unrestrained level in my recollection.

      And what is mind boggling is that a lot of Christians say it is OK because the end justifies the means. And what is that end? Is it God’s Kingdom or our reasonable facsimile of what we can control and accept in His name? And that is exactly what we get when we mingle political zeal with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has led us into this unholy concoction, a message about issues, lacking any focus on the call to salvation—the central message of the New Testament. The Church’s mission is the Great Commission and we have put that down, to regain lost ground by achieving our own goals and our own objectives. And on top of that, we think God actually blesses it. Take a good hard look at the 7 things that are an abomination to God and tell me what you think when you apply those 7 things that God hates, all of which are being done, by many, in the furtherance of Christianity. Do we really think we are fooling anyone, most of all God?

      So I think you are right, idolatry for some, is a real possibility and if ever there was a time to demonstrate and preach the Gospel, it is now. The thing is, we have done so much harm to the message of Christ by what we have done. The New Testament writers did not have this political problem because they were focused on one thing. The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their kingdom was not of this world.

      Liked by 2 people

      • First paragraph I agree with though I think the term program sounds maybe stronger than I want, but yes there’s a general conditioning of accepting and tolerating the unacceptable. The general political climate in the US is becoming increasingly toxic. Bruce I hope you know me long enough or seen enough of my character spill over in my writings that I’m working very hard to be tolerant in the actual meaning of the word and patient in the biblical teaching in the midst of everything going on as I have an obligation to be a Christian through all of this. But the level of doing the unacceptable, the extreme and the intolerable is not equally the same on with every spectrum. There is a side that has enabled riots and destruction and those closer to their ideology won’t condemn it or downplay it or even lie about it not happening. Things sometimes go in a blur and I don’t know if I told you but the second night of rioting lockdown in my area I had to defend my family at one in the morning, I was outnumbered and with the deployment of firearms everyone was fortunately safe and mind you brother I am not one of those guys that glorify dressing up in military gear, put 3 percent patch, and play phony tough that I think we talk about before, I am not a rookie when it comes to violence and believe me I’m not into that stuff. I don’t even like talking about what happened since it can add fuel to the fire but I only bring this up is to say that the present 2020 climate conditioning of what is unacceptable it is true that all spectrums are guilty but Bruce I think this is an important context to know why I’m saying the acceptance of the unacceptable is not equally being actually carried out beyond words and ideology at this time. Those guys who believe in Pizzagate and lizard people are not causing the millions of dollars destruction where I live and other places.

        Concerning your second paragraph I have for years expressed my concerns to those around me my concern for Trump’s tweet. It’s why in 2016 I didn’t vote for any president (though I voted for other offices).

        With foreign powers and fake news, I do believe there is that going on and my view of information warfare is that these state players have as a goal is an easy one, to turn Americans upon Americans, really its an easy goal, they don’t even need Americans to totally believe all of it. But I think also the role of Russia’s involvement with election interference now that we learn more of it in 2020 looking back in 2016 also had streaks of exaggerations and conspiratorial in nature too, ironically as we learn more about it and General Mike Flynn was released (I have a fellow who use to serve under him who adamantly insists to me his innocence all these years and back then I thought he was just biased). By the way the Democrats didn’t play the Russian card for political campaign in 2020.

        I do lament the condition of the church today. There’s a lot of gullibility, there’s a lot of sins. I have to constantly tell Christians hey, be careful of saying this or that, its not true or unsubstantiated. Sometimes I’m the one that shared a source that’s not accurate too, and I drop what is false.

        Concerning last paragraph really I think Biden and Trump is a symptom of larger issues at play. I personally feel your point about accepting the unacceptable didn’t began in 2016; it began in the universities and this year it really blew up what all the crazy ideologies in the universities when I was in school is now spilled out into the streets and social media. Even if it was another president besides Trump I think the leftist ideology has gotten so anti-Christian where to say you want to be political neutral is seen as unacceptable and oppressive since you want to establish the status quo. My years of campus evangelism with the Gospel is probably going to come to an end after COVID since the campuses are increasingly toxic and believe it or not violent towards Christians setting up a table with a question “What is the meaning of life?” attracts a mob versus in yesteryears there was more one on one friendly chat and conversation and I share the Gospel, engage in apologetics and we say hi the next week. The acceptability of college students to cheer others to harm Christians has been happening way too frequently years before Trump. But now those college kids are grown up and are like me adults in our 30s and this outlook and acceptability of intolerance is now applied at a macrosocial level, we have a facing crisis. That’s the greater crisis in my opinion.

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      • Gotta teach Bible study but the end does not justify the means though I think most Christians probably in the US aren’t trying to purposely justify the means with the end as their motivation but more of a dilemma where they are faced with two bad candidates and which will be the lesser evil. Hope none of what I said is seen as an attack on your character brother Bruce

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      • Hi Jim, I think you are in a much better position to understand what has and is going on in the USA than I am and I was using 2016 as more of an obvious reference point rather than a factual commencement point. If I was to summarize the last four years I would say it seems more like the coming together of a “perfect storm” from a variety of destructive and subversive ideologies and what with the lack of Presidential leadership character that personified and expected common respect, the unopposed torrent subsequently surged forward. Or in other words, for far too many, his standard progressively became our standard.

        I held a high level IT security clearance a few years ago, so I was, at that time, relatively conversant with some of the electronic capabilities and tactics deployed. The world is not a nice place regardless of which geographical location you operate from. I am also aware that normally there are many more mitigating factors than meet the eye and these short blurbs that we exchange online with one another are basically simplistic overviews that omit an awful lot.

        I have yet to take offence at anything you have ever said to me Jim and I doubt very much that I ever will. The written word is not an easy way to effectively communicate, when dealing with intricate matters. I thank you for your patience and understanding. As always, may God bless you and yours. – Bruce

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