Every word Mr. Ian Hamilton writes below pertaining to the United Kingdom, current events, Christians and God also applies to America. We may not have “Brexit” but we have our 3 ring circus called Washington, D.C. and our politicians, institutions, government, schools and churches in disarray, decline and decay very similar to what is taking place in the United Kingdom at the same time. Evil is at work equally in both nations. So is the reactions, passivity, worldliness and falling away of many professing to call themselves Christians.
Every word of Mr. Hamilton’s below can be applied to America and every person, every Christian here as well.
When he writes:
“No right-thinking man or woman would doubt, far less deny, that as a nation the United Kingdom is passing through difficult times. Uncertainty about “Brexit” has dominated political and national life for over three years.“
Those words could easily read…no right-thinking man or woman would doubt, far less deny, that as a nation the United States of America is passing through difficult times. Uncertainty about our very foundaitons, the destructive and vain arguments over the 2016 election still raging on, now impeachment, and constant attacks on our form of government has dominated political and national life for over three years…”
Please read the words of Mr. Ian Hamilton below. They aren’t about politics. They are about the Biblical times we live in. About being a Christian. About the dark times we live in but nothing is too much for our Lord. God is Almighty. God is always working. Do not fear. Do not lose heart — and we all need to repent!
ACP — A Crooked Path
Friday, October 4th, 2019
“RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION”
By Ian Hamilton, Editor
The Banner of Truth magazine
No right-thinking man or woman would doubt, far less deny, that as a nation the United Kingdom is passing through difficult times. Uncertainty about “Brexit” has dominated political and national life for over three years. At the time of writing, we are no clearer as to “the way ahead” than we were at this time last year. Added to this uncertainty is the confusion reigning within the two major political parties as to how the present impasse should be resolved. The phrase applied to the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century, “The Sick Man of Europe”, could with some justification be applied to the United Kingdom today.
For Christians, the present confusion and uncertainty is multiplied by the moral and spiritual downgrade that has overtaken the nation in recent years. The United Kingdom Parliament has vigorously promoted and then legislated for almost unlimited abortion, the enshrining in law of same-sex “marriage”, transgenderism, and other perversions of God’s creation-wisdom and order. The rapidity with which these open-eyed and wilfully deliberate defiances of God’s holy law have become imbedded in society has been staggering.
The question Christians must address is, What can we do in the face of this national calamity? Indeed, how are we to respond to the confusion and chaos, to the moral and spiritual darkness that covers the face of the nation?
First, we must not lose heart. Jesus said, “My Father is always working” (John 5:17). It would be only too easy to lose heart, to retreat into a mindset of passivity, and expect little if anything to change. “My Father is always working.” God is neither passively indifferent nor effetely helpless. He is God Almighty, the Sovereign Lord of the cosmos. In his sovereign purpose and wise good pleasure he ordains all that comes to pass, even the present national tragedy. No doubt we are being humbled because of our sin and wickedness. We are reaping what we have sown, and discovering that “sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). This is true both for the nation and, more tragically, for the church.
History, with its dark uncertainties and apparently uncontrolled wickedness, is nonetheless overseen and sinlessly directed by our sovereign God. Christians have every cause to be undaunted. Yes, we should be humbled by the moral and spiritual tragedies that cover the face of the land (not least our own sins), but “Our God reigns,”
This was something Nebuchadnezzar, the arrogant and godless king of Babylon, was brought to acknowledge and confess. When the Lord restored him to his throne, Nebuchadnezzar
praised and honoured him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
So, we do not lose heart. “The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!” (Psalm 99:1).
Secondly, we Christians must repent. It would be only too easy to see and bemoan the sins of the nation and not weep over the sins of the church. God’s condemnation of his wayward church is one of the recurring features of the Bible. The opening chapter of Isaiah is a searing indictment of the church’s hypocrisy, worldliness, and complacency (read Isaiah 1:10-18). The concluding words of the paragraph are addressed to a wayward church, not to unbelieving pagans: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (1:18).
If ever the professing church needed to take to heart the challenge and promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 it is today: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Thirdly, we must pray. We pray, but do we really “pray”? Do we pray with the absolute conviction that “nothing is too hard for the Lord”? Do we (do I) pray like the “importunate widow”, relentlessly beseeching God (read Luke 18:1-8)? The history of our nation in times of great trial witnesses to the power of prayer. Should we not then, with the psalmist, cry, “How long, O LORD?” (see Psalm 13:1-2). The Lord is able to save by many or by few (read 1 Samuel 14:6). We read in James 4:2, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Is this the indictment that stands over the church of Jesus Christ in these dark and darkening times?
It almost seems that corporate prayer is the “Cinderella” of church life, tragically also of evangelical church life. John Bunyan’s oft-quoted statement, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed”, needs to find its way afresh into the life-blood of evangelical Christianity.
Fourthly, we must be courageous. The present trajectory of public discourse in this nation, and throughout Western society in general, will increasingly excoriate and marginalize faithful, Bible-believing Christians. Not only is everyone expected to acquiesce in the (im)moral transformation of society, we are expected to embrace the transformation with delight. Disagreement is shouted down at best and condemned and criminalized at worst (think of the prosecutions for “hate crimes” that a number of Christian open-air preachers have been subjected to). It is no easy thing to stand against the tide of public opinion, not least when your livelihood is threatened. I read only recently of a Christian doctor who lost his job because he refused to use the “Transgender pronouns”. Faithful discipleship may well prove very costly, and increasingly so.
There was a time in this nation when faithful Christians were imprisoned and executed for speaking God’s truth and refusing to acquiesce in the societal consensus. Perhaps you are thinking I am being somewhat melodramatic. “Such barbarism could not happen here, in Great Britain,” No? Perhaps. It may be that the penalty will not be the stake or the executioner’s sword (we are too “civilized” for that). The penalty may be losing your job or having your children taken from you (the Scottish Parliament recently voted to begin the process that would ban the smacking of children and criminalize parents who did so). We may not, yet, have plumbed the depths of Soviet-style indoctrination of children. But if the so-called LGBTQI community has its way, children in nursery school will be taught about lifestyle choices that the word of God abominates and condemns — and woe to you if you demur or stand up to oppose.
It will take courage to stand and to continue standing in these evil times (read Ephesians 6:10-12). But our confidence is that the Lord has promised never to fail us or forsake us. He has promised his grace to help us in our times of need.
Surely, however, our greatest need is to recover confidence in the gospel as the power of God for salvation. We do not need to make the gospel relevant, it is natively relevant. The gospel lays bare our hearts and sets before us God’s loving and merciful provision of a gracious Saviour. Nothing would better serve the good of our nation at this time than a recovery in the church of the apostolic conviction. “We preach Christ and him crucified.” But alongside that conviction, we need a deep, felt sense of our need of the Holy Spirit. Our confidence must never be in our plans and programmes but in the quickening, energizing, supernatural power of God the Holy Spirit.
We live in dark times, but nothing is too hard for the Lord!