Whatever our feelings and opinions about the upcoming election, certainly we can all affirm that as Christ followers, our hope should not be in politics, nor should it be our ultimate focus. (I recently shared some helpful reflections from Paul David Tripp on my blog about being careful where we put our hope. Don’t miss what he has to say.)
When I was emailing with a friend recently about the issues surrounding the election, she shared the encouragement she has found in Hebrews 12:25-29:
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from Heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
She wrote, “That’s something I’m not seeing a lot of these days: gratitude, and worship with reverence and awe. People are afraid of what’s going to happen if so-and-so gets elected instead of fearing God who is a consuming fire! The storm is coming on us all, but it will reveal what we stand upon and where our hope is built.”
I too love that passage since America is being shaken and the world is being shaken, but we should “be grateful for receiving a kingdom that will cannot be shaken.” Note that it “cannot” be shaken—not just “will not.” The kingdom’s very nature is rooted in our sovereign God of providence and grace, so it is utterly impossible for anything to ever shake it! For those who follow Jesus, that is a win/win situation and truly an eternal extension of the GOOD NEWS of the gospel of Jesus. Such a perspective takes our eyes up above (which is where they should be in the first place!).
Ray Ortlund writes:
Here’s a great thing about the morning of November 4th: Nothing essential to my existence will be diminished, or enhanced, or changed at all. So I plan to wake up that morning and rejoice in the Lord. His eternal kingdom is my eternal home. Reason enough to rejoice!
I wholeheartedly agree. If the reasons for our rejoicing are rooted in Christ, not politics or our circumstances, then no matter what happens, we can find peace, hope, and happiness in Him and in focusing on His eternal kingdom.
E. Stanley Jones said about Hebrews 12:
We have an unshakeable kingdom, the kingdom of God. We have an unchanging Person, Jesus Christ. Then we’ve got the gospel. And it’s a total gospel, for man’s total need.
Modern man is empty, and crying to high heaven for something to fill that emptiness. Nothing can fill that emptiness except the unshakeable kingdom, the unchanging Person, and the total gospel.
Heaven is our country of citizenship (Hebrews 11:16; Philippians 3:20). Christ is our King. We are His ambassadors, representing His agenda and His eternal Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20). While on our brief stay here, we are aliens, strangers, and pilgrims (Hebrews 11:3). Ambassadors, aliens, and pilgrims identify themselves and plan their lives with a focus on their home country. Should they become too engrossed in the alien country where they temporarily reside, they can easily compromise their allegiances to their true King and true country.
Imagine an ambassador who leaves his country to live in another nation, one hostile to his own. Naturally, he will want to learn the language, see the sights, eat the food, become familiar with the people and culture. But suppose he fails to draw the line. Suppose he becomes so engrossed in this country’s customs and philosophies that he gradually assimilates into it. He becomes sympathetic to its policies, buys into its values, begins to regard it as his true home.
His allegiance wavers. He compromises his position as an ambassador. He becomes increasingly ineffective in representing the best interests of his true country. His loyalties drift. Eventually, he may even defect. At best, he becomes incapable of serving his true country. At worst, he may actually betray it.
His fatal mistake is this—just because he lives somewhere, he comes to think of it as his home. As Christians, we live on earth—but this earth, as it is now, is not our home. Heaven is. We forget that to our peril.
How are you doing as an ambassador for Christ? How are you doing representing your true country, Heaven, as you live in a world that’s not your home? Have you adopted values and customs of this culture that are contrary to those of the culture of Heaven? Have you compromised your allegiance to your true country and your true King?
“Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17). “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
No matter what direction our earthly country may be going, it is our never-ending heavenly country we should faithfully represent. The people of the world don’t need our reassurance that America is unshakable, that democracy will prevail, that any one human leader will save us, that our economy will recover, that death and suffering will not touch them. What they need, while living in the wreckage of this sin-stained Earth, is to realize that the world’s main problem is that it’s inhabited by people like us, sinners in need of redemption. These thirsty people need us to reach out our hands and extend to them, as cold water, Christ’s offer of citizenship in another world, a coming eternal home described this way at the Book’s end:
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life’” (Revelation 21:3-6).
For more on God’s coming eternal Kingdom, seen Randy’s book Heaven.