Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Christian Country

Should God’s people be surprised when the world turns against them? The Israelites had been guided down into Egypt by Joseph (Genesis 50:19-21). Now Joseph had been a great benefactor to Egypt by explaining the predictions of coming plenty and famine and telling them how to deal with it (Genesis 41:1-37). But there arose a new Pharaoh, who did not remember Joseph and enslaved the Israelites (Exodus 1:7-14). The Lord Jesus told us we should not be surprised if the world opposes us, because it opposed Him (John 15:18-21; 16:1-4; Matthew 10:24,25). This is important because it is easy to come to expect the world’s respect for being a Christian. And when we do not get it to react in anger. But the hostility is what Jesus led us to expect. 

In the United States it has been claimed that we have benefited from a Christian heritage. Others have tried to deny it. The question arises whether the Founding Fathers were Christians or Deists. The answer to this is yes; some were Christians and some were Deists. But it must be remembered that Deism is watered down Christianity. The American political system can be traced back to the English Puritans. Over time there were those who threw out the Puritan theology but kept the Puritan political theory. But whatever the facts of the matter, we now see the Founding Fathers dismissed as dead white men. We seem to be entering a generation that knows not Joseph. The question is, how do we respond to this?

Unfortunately, many Christians have reacted by feeling they are entitled to respect and have loudly demanded it be given to them. This is not the Scriptural approach. We are commanded to love others (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14). Now this does not mean accepting every kind of behavior. But it does mean correcting people with a spirit of gentleness (2 Timothy 2:24-26; Colossians 4:5,6; 1 Peter 3:15). But a sense of entitlement can encourage us to react with self-righteousness and vitriol, and this is wrong. We need to let go of the past, recognize we are Christians in a pagan society, and rebuild from there. But we need to trust God, whatever happens in the society around us (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 37:3-5). The Israelites were a long time in slavery before God delivered them. I do not claim to know what we might have to face in the future as Christians in the United States. But whether the time is long or short, we need to trust God through it. For He always keeps His promises in His time (Isaiah 40:31; 2 Corinthians 4:17,18; 1 Peter 5:10).

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