Friday, February 3, 2012

Politics and the sovereignty of God

As God can protect his people under the greatest despotism, so the utmost civil liberty is no safety to them without the immediate protection of his Almighty arm. I fear that Christians in this country have too great a confidence in political institutions . . . [rather] than of the government of God.

Bridges goes on to say:
Government bodies at all levels are increasingly telling us what we must or must not do . . . sometimes they are good decisions, at least from our point of view; sometimes they are bad decisions.  At all times, those decisions, apparent or not, good or not, are under the control of our sovereign God.  We should put our trust in God, not in the decision-making powers of politicians, governments officials, and even Supreme Courts.
As the American government retreats from its previous high esteem and respect for religion, American Christians should be encouraged by this reminder that the sovereign God who preserved Israel through slavery in Egypt and exile in Babylon is just as sovereign over our current political situation.  If He wants to protect His people from suffering, He can and will do just that.  As we face the increased threat of negative consequences for speaking the truth about sin and salvation, this knowledge is a great comfort.  Even if abortion continues unabated, even if the law tries to silence those who would share the gospel, we trust that no hardship or suffering will fall on us that is not part of God's sovereign will. And by and large, we do a decent enough job of believing this--of trusting that God is sovereign over seemingly negative circumstances.  If worst comes to worst, we know God is in control.

However, just as prosperity can be more damaging to faith than adversity, I think perceived political success can distract us from trusting God.  If we succeed in out efforts to outlaw the mass slaughter of the unborn, if we defend the sanctity of marriage, if we get the bible back in schools, if we protect religious liberty--whatever our own 'Christian' political goal, we (or I) tend to believe that if we are successful, then prosperity and blessing will follow.   While pursuing justice and protecting the rights of Christians are worthy goals, the simple fact is that our security does not come from rulers or powers of principalities.  The best government in the world is no protection if the Lord sees fit to allow (or cause) seemingly negative circumstances.  Even if we succeed in every possible 'Christian' political endeavor, we will still suffer.  Jesus assured us we would.  Our security does not come from good laws any more than we are doomed by bad laws.  Again, striving for just laws is good.  But we should not delude ourselves into thinking that good laws will eliminate suffering.  We endure suffering or enjoy blessing when God sees fit to bring it into our lives, regardless of the kind of laws we live under.

Our hope in adversity and in prosperity, under unjust and unjust law, must still be the sovereign and holy God.

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