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God saves people individually. Each of us from Adam’s race need personally redeemed from our sins. Modern Evangelicalism has been keen on preaching a Gospel that needs to be individually appropriated. The old saying that God has no grandchildren is true in this regard. We see this individual aspect in today’s reading in Luke 18:9-17 where Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Each had to stand on their own before God – just like you and I will. And by what means we’ll be justified before Him is of cosmic and eternal importance.
Then we encounter passages like Hebrews 9 where ramifications of Christ’s High Priestly work are teased out in larger proportions. Christ has been offered but once to bear the sins of many – and will return to save all those who are eagerly waiting for Him.
Proverbs 22 brings us back to individual applications of wisdom. And then Isaiah 12-14 opens up the door to understanding that God deals with nations too – and not just individuals. And it is this global reality I’d like to spend a minute on today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
From the time of the Reformation until today, there has been a great recovery of understanding how personal faith in the atoning work of Christ is essential. No one else’s faith saves me. Some years ago I heard a young woman state at her mother’s funeral that she knew she would be OK with God, because her Mom walked with the Lord and prayed for her. Another time I conversed with someone who was sure that because she had several immediate family members who were priests and nuns that she too would find special favor with God. Both were bereft of a Biblical understanding of salvation and what it entails. It is a superstitious understanding and sort of the inverse of guilt by association – righteousness by association. We forget that even Jesus’ own brothers were lost until they finally came to believe in Him.
But back to Isaiah. For one of the prominent features of that amazing book is how it addresses any number of nations AS as nations, and depicts God dealing with them for national and collective sins.
Today’s section mentions the Babylonian empire and how God intended to punish it by bringing another empire on the scene to conquer it. And backing up to chapter 9 we see God stirring up Assyria to punish Israel for its sin, and then how God will decimate that empire because it acted against Israel out of its own viciousness.
Now the point I want to get to is simply this: For Christians, as we look at the World today and the nearly 250 countries which exist on our planet, none of them are operating apart from the sovereign oversight and plan of God. Global geo-political activities are not somehow conducted out of God’s sight or void of His superintendence. From the technically smallest nation – Vatican City at 0.2 square miles to the 6.6 million square miles of Russia. The declaration of Rev. 1:5 that Jesus is the ruler of kings on earth is not hyperbole. No nation makes its laws, carries out its policies, governs its people, or interacts with other nations minus God’s awareness and acting hand.
For blessing or for cursing.
This is true for our nation as well.
No more, and no less than any other.
Something to be well considered in the upcoming election. Whether we receive leadership for blessing or for judgment – God is at work.
But make no mistake, our nation is being judged as are all others. And God is at work, as in all others.
How given to prayer then ought we to be, that we might be a nation which serves and does not spurn our God.
Consider that today Christian.
God willing, we’ll be back Monday.