It’s both amazing and sad to see what twenty years of Satan’s impact on the world has accomplished (all within the sovereignty of God of course). Things are clearly not getting any better, but should this be important or concerning to Christians? When I say better, I mean that men and women are not going toward a greater moral state without a change in their hearts. So why am I suggesting the moral pulse of our culture is not important to Christians? Because the primary mission of the Church is to tell the world about The Light that shines in the darkness, Jesus Christ–not to change the culture around them. Let me explain…
First, look at the downward spiral of morality in Romans 1:18-32. This passage illuminates the path that men will naturally take. They will reject the truth of God and refuse to honor their Creator and they will come up with their own speculations about their Origin, their Condition, their means of Salvation, and their Eternal Destiny. Men will suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and practice evil, and encourage others to do likewise. Natural man rejects the light given to them because they love the darkness (John 3:19). Because of this rejection, God’s judgment upon them is to give them over to an ever increasing depraved mind. This is what we see when we look around us–more and more people being given over to the depths of their depravity.
Why is this important to Christians today? With each passing day, Bible believing Christians are becoming less acceptable to a world that has rejected the truth of God. As the culture falls further and further away from God (as we see in Romans 1), but believers are not, and the gulf between us grows at an alarming rate. The longer that Christ tarries, the more and more we shall look like aliens and sojourners in the midst of a pagan culture.
Let’s look at 1 Peter 1. The believers receiving this letter were scattered throughout present day Turkey. They were a distinct minority in the midst of a pagan culture. They faced hardship, ridicule, oppression, financial ruin, ostracism, disdain, and persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Peter, of course, did not implore them to work for societal change, nor did he tell them to get involved in the political process or start a revolution in order to achieve a regime change.
He challenged these believers to remember what God had done for them and to do their duty as Christians in the midst of a hostile pagan society. He implored them to focus on the living hope and future inheritance guaranteed through their New Birth (1 Peter 1:3).
Your Living Hope is More Important than the Culture
The believers that Peter wrote to were facing tough times. They lived in a Godless culture that did not understand why they refused to engage in the fleshly things around them (1 Peter 4:4). Sounds familiar? The great temptation for believers in America is to place their hope in the things around them–things that are temporary and can be defiled, that can fade over time, and will ultimately perish.
Many Christians mistakenly look for their hope to be fulfilled in the political arena. When this hope is not fulfilled, and the nation continues on as it has, hopelessness follows, and then despair. There is little joy in misplaced hope. This is not what Christ called us to, for we have a hope and inheritance that champions anything this world has to offer. When we trust in the government, or a political candidate, or a movement to fulfill our hope, we are forgetting the most important thing that we have, our salvation.
For the believer, there is only one hope that cannot be assailed, changed, or lost. It is our salvation in Christ. Peter makes this case in 1 Peter 1:3-5. He says that it is through the great mercy God manifested in the Resurrection of Christ that we have a living HOPE. This is a living hope in contrast to the dead things of this world. The futile speculations of philosophers, pagan religions, and political activists are all without hope. For the Romans and Greeks, hope was dead. In stark contrast, the believers hope is a living hope because Christ lives, and the present reality of the believer’s hope is everlasting because Christ is everlasting.
Focusing on what God has done for you will naturally lead to a proper hope. When a believer focuses on salvation he will be reminded of the true origin of his hope. When he thinks of his hope in the future he will be reminded of his current salvation from the power of sin and the future salvation from the presence of sin. This kind of thinking is what Peter is focusing on in the first chapter of his letter.
How can Peter call these believers to live holy as God is holy? Because they have fixed their hope on their salvation that is ready to be revealed at the last time (1 Peter 1:5).
How can Peter tell these believers to submit to government authority even if it is unjust? Because they have fixed their hope on the salvation of their souls (1 Peter 1:9)
How can Peter tell these believers that it is the will of God for them to suffer as Christ suffered? Because they have fixed their hope on the salvation that awaits them at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).
This is the question you must ask yourself: “Where is my hope?”
Your Future Hope is More Important than the Culture
The second quality of our New Birth (1 Peter 1:3) is the believer’s inheritance. This inheritance is imperishable, unstained, unfading, and reserved in heaven. It is an inheritance that is not touched by time or circumstance.
Why is this inheritance so special to the believer? It is our possession as a born-again child of God. It is our salvation not only from the wrath of God that we so richly deserve, but it is salvation from the sin and corruption that permeates every aspect of this world.
This is a world that lies in the power of the Evil One (1 John 5:18). To put it another way, our salvation is deliverance from the current power of sin, and the future presence of sin. Why would we ever place our trust in the corrupt and evil things around us when we have a future inheritance that God reserved for us? Why would one forgo a table reserved at Chez Platypus and settle for a dinner at McDonalds?
Yet, for so many believers this is exactly what has happened. The things of this world have become of such importance that they crowd out our eternal hope and blessing. Our salvation is an inheritance that is not temporal, but eternal. It is imperishable, not able to spoil or be corrupted in any way. It is unstained in that it is without any evil. It is unfading in that its glory will not lessen or disappear!
If you want to know where and how God is moving in this world it is through His Church (Matt 16:18). It is not through the political arena. Remember, when you give your time, energy, money, and mind-share to those things that are temporal in an effort to change this country, you are doing so in spite of where the Bible tells you your focus should be.
WE are told to make disciples of Jesus Christ, not disciples of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or [insert political candidate here]. Believers must remember that the only way to change the direction of a nation is through the proclamation of the Word of God, calling men and women to repent of their sins and come to faith in the Lord Jesus.
Nineveh was spared the judgment of God, not because of a change in political leadership, but through the repentance of the people upon hearing the proclamation of the Word of God. Brethren, do not trust in a political candidate or in temporal things. They are all corruptible, defiled, and will fade over time. Trust instead in the inheritance that awaits you, ready to be revealed in the last time.
I bring all of this to your attention today as a way of reminder. It is easy to become focused on all the turmoil around us and lose track of what really matters for us as Believers in Christ. Where is your hope and trust? Is it fixed on the glory of your future salvation and inheritance in Christ?
What a person desires to talk about the most is a good indicator of where they place their hope and trust. Do you desire to talk about the Lord and His kingdom, or have you focused your hope on a political goal?
We have entered a political election season in the US and we must be cautious. Is our zeal for (or against) a political candidate really helpful to the building of the Kingdom of God? Are we trying to build an earthly kingdom for the Lord or a spiritual one? Promoting a candidate or speaking out against another does nothing to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Imagine if that same zeal and energy were properly focused on living holy lives and sharing the gospel.
I am not saying that we should not vote. I have voted in every election that I was able to since I was 18 years old. The real question is where does your hope and trust really lie? Is it in the things of this world that can be corrupted, fade away, or change right before your eyes, or in the living hope and inheritance that comes from the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ?
My challenge for you: don’t be known to others as a”republican;” but rather be known as a “Christian.” You have a Living Hope and an eternal Inheritance that far outweigh anything that this earth could offer.