If you, like me, believe last night’s election results constitute the sovereign chastening of God’s people in this nation for employing idolatry in opposition to the calling of evil good, you are, like me, poking under the hood this morning to diagnose “the problem.” I have already succumbed to the temptation to Wednesday morning quarterbacking. But it is both too soon and too late for that. If, like me, you are a pastor or otherwise a leader of God’s people in a church, we have an opportunity now to steel ourselves and renew our zeal to our primary responsibility.

Brothers, repent with me of the impulse to propagandize and prognosticate. Let’s feed the sheep. Let’s not go about our weekly sermon preparation and personal discipleship in sackcloth and ashes. Let’s get into the vineyard of God’s word, get some holy sweat worked up, whistling while we work, lifting our hearts in worship. Let’s get into the kitchen of study and prep and start putting together the banquet. And come Sunday let’s spread the feast out rich and sumptuous, beckoning our people to taste and see that the Lord is good. They don’t need our doomsdaying or dimbulbing. Still less do they need our shallow pick-me-ups and spitpolished legalism. Like our brother Wesley, let us set ourselves on fire with gospel truth that our church families might come watch us burn.

And when we gather Sunday with the saints, let us shepherd them to repentance and sincerity, reminding them of the holy God who welcomes them with sin-forgetting forgiveness. When we enter the worship gathering, let us not look back to the ruins lest we all become the wrong kind of salt. Let us look forward to the new Jerusalem, where our citizenship is secured even today and evermore. Let’s get our wits about us and take heart together, for our Lord has overcome the world. Yesterday, today, Sunday, and forever. Let us frighten the kings of the world and shake the kingdom of the devil with how resolute we are in abandoning ourselves to the mighty God.

Our churches don’t need our political laments. They need our deep, abiding, all-conquering, sin-despairing gospel joy. This and this alone is the hope of the world.

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13 thoughts on “What We Need Now (and Evermore)”

  1. Manders says:

    I’m thinking, too, of something John Piper said that I dig a lot: When God does one thing, He’s doing a thousand things at the same time. Chastening? Sure. But also calling, and reforming, and moving to action. The nation needs the gospel–but the gospel in both word and deed.

    I skew perhaps slightly more left than a lot of my brothers and sisters that’ll read this–mostly on matters of immigration and education and maybe taxes–but I’ve been really pleased to see a lot of graciousness and gospel-centrality during this election cycle on both sides, especially at times when I’ve been notably lacking in those qualities and need repentance. There are hard times ahead, folks, no matter what your persuasion is. We’ve got to have hard conversations and do this together. But: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” :) No.

  2. phuff says:

    Do we honestly believe that God placed Mr. Obama in office as a way to chasten or “wake” up the church in America? I find “American Christianity” slightly narrow minded in that everything has to do with you. What about the rest of the world? Did Hitler, and no I am in no way comparing Hitler and Obama, rise to power to punish people? Is Evo Morales the president of Bolivia because God is angry with “his people”. We, myself included, need to look past our own noses and borders. Are the Christians who are being persecuted in China being punished for being immoral? I agree that we should not be in morning and that we should be pushing people to be more Christ like, but let us not kid ourselves that Obama is president because God is chastening us. Would you say that to a poor person in a third world country who has nothing because their government oppresses them? “God is chastening you, so repent?” Almost sounds like prosperity teaching……..just my thoughts

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Phuff, those are great questions, and I thank you for the opportunity to clarify. This part was not the main point of my post, but it’s a provocative one, so it’s worth explaining. I don’t mean by “chastening” that God is punishing us in that sense you mean. The answer to most of your questions — about Hitler’s rise as God’s punishment on Jews or governmental oppression about punishment on the persecuted, etc. — is “No,” that’s not what is happening and not what I would say. Victims are always innocent of the crimes against them, by definition. I am talking about the reaping/sowing concept. When a culture sows narcissism, egocentrism, materialism, or idolatries of all kinds, it will reap systemic injustice. This is not God “punishing” in a one-to-one sense but God “giving us over” to the sinful system we’ve created. Letting us have the punishment of the consequences, is one way to put it. There is plenty in the Scriptures speaking to this concept, Romans 1 being but one example. Isaiah 10 is another.

      For whatever it’s worth, I am not one of those who believes storms and sicknesses and whatever other disasters natural or political or what-have-you are God’s punitive actions for homosexuality, pornography, or whatever other sins. There is plenty enough in the New Testament (Jesus’ words about the man born blind or the Tower of Siloam’s falling) to contradict such (as you well put it) prosperity-type teaching.

      Thanks again.

      1. phuff says:

        Jared, thanks for the response. Being an outsider, non American, looking in I do find it both humours and sad how much politics and religion polarize people in the States. Found it interesting when Billy Graham removed Mormonism from the list of “cults”, why was it there to begin with? It is interesting that “christians” “need to or should” vote republican. While I am pro-life, I am also pro-life once they are born. Not only protecting them in the womb but also in the school, lack of real homes, and so forth. I believe a Christian can vote for either party with a clean conscience and I also believe that a Christian can vote for either party with a dirty conscience.

  3. Tara says:

    Great response, great song.

    Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord. The earth is Yours. May I remember this in the upcoming days!

  4. Flyaway says:

    Pray for revival!

  5. The Believer says:

    I understand your point, Ptr.Jared, and I agree that we should not be sidetracked with the turn of events and focus on our mission, for whether it’s Obama or Romney, God remains God seated on His throne, and we have a mission to continue to carry on until Christ’s return. While of course this should not defer us from expressing our Biblical views and stands against the controversial views of Obama on several very important issues such as gay marriage and abortion, for we cannot afford to be silent and allow the president’s socialist views to advance, still we should never lose our focus on what’s most important, and that is our mandate to win souls for Christ.

  6. seth says:

    Hey. really appreciate your insight here. I will certainly quote you on some of the thoughts, and have already retweeted your tweet. However, I was doing some research on the Wesley quote that you mentioned. I am wondering about the validity of the ‘fire’ quote based on things like: http://vitalpiety.com/2010/09/06/wesley-didnt-say-it-set-myself-on-fire-watch-me-burn/

    Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ and His cross.

  7. David Axberg says:

    Amen and amen brother

  8. Flyaway says:

    How do we pray for evangelicals who think disarming America of nukes, feeding the poor, and other social justice issues are more important than preventing unborn babies being ripped limb from limb in the womb and more important than the deception of homosexuality being forced on society?

    Romans 1:18-27
    Unbelief and Its Consequences
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions ; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural , 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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