For the Sake of the Elect(ion)
This week is election week in the United States. Does that make you nervous? Excited? Relieved? Are you anticipating good things, bad things, or something else entirely? It’s unusual for any nation’s election cycle to receive as much attention as this one has and its results will most likely have tremendous emotional consequences for millions of people tomorrow, aside from any potential policy decisions which come from it later on.
Wherever you live, whatever nation you call home, whatever political party you currently view as being more advantageous, we all face a challenge tomorrow. How will we respond, how will we be agents of revival, how will we be ministers of reconciliation?
This will be our response:
- Remember who we are.
- Remember who God is.
- Step out.
- Be salt and light.
Remember Who You Are
Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36
We are citizens of heaven, you see, and we’re eagerly waiting for the saviour, the Lord, King Jesus, who is going to come from there. Our present body is a shabby old thing, but he’s going to transform it so that it’s just like his glorious body. And he’s going to do this by the power which makes him able to bring everything into line under his authority. Philippians 3:20,21
As for me, God forbid that I should boast – except in the cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. Circumcision, you see, is nothing; neither is uncircumcision! What matters is new creation. Peace and mercy on everyone who lines up by that standard – yes, on God’s Israel. Galatians 6:14–16
We, followers of Jesus, are the light of the world. We are a city set on a hilltop, meant to shine God’s ways out to the world, showcasing a different way of living. We long for a city “who’s builder and maker is God,” the “heavenly Jerusalem.” What matters—what truly matters—is new creation.
The great story of time and space is the Creator has always been and will continue to move us forward to a resurrection of all things. To new creation. You and I are meant to tell and re-tell that story, calling others into God’s plotline. Whether a political leader persecutes that story or aligns with it matters not because it’s written by God and lived-out by citizens of His Kingdom.
Remember Who God Is
We know, in fact, that God works all things together for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:8–10
You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:7–10
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 1 John 1:5
God is good. God is sovereign. God loves you. Yahweh looks like Jesus. God has always looked like Jesus. We didn’t always know this but now we do. No matter what does or does not happen around you, God remains. Whether you’re persecuted or in a position of power, God’s Kingdom advances, God‘s light continues to overcome darkness (see John 1).
This is why Hebrews 10 describes Jesus’ followers as those who can “joyfully accept the plundering of their property.” When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we forget about our rights, our possessions, our lives. God is just that good.
Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16–20
From this moment on, therefore, we don’t regard anybody from a merely human point of view. Even if we once regarded the Messiah that way, we don’t do so any longer. Thus, if anyone is in the Messiah, there is a new creation! Old things have gone, and look – everything has become new! It all comes from God. He reconciled us to himself through the Messiah, and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation. This is how it came about: God was reconciling the world to himself in the Messiah, not counting their transgressions against them, and entrusting us with the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors, speaking on behalf of the Messiah, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore people on the Messiah’s behalf to be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:16–20
The Great Commission is still our prime directive. As agents of God’s new creation, we preach reconciliation. As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, we are each sent out in His power to announce His victory over the powers of darkness and to demonstrate His love to the lost. You have a task today that you can handle. All you have to do is be filled afresh with the Spirit of God and go be salt and light.
Be Salt and Light
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34,35
I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have put their faith in God may take care to be energetic in good works. Such things are good and profitable for people. But stay well clear of foolish disputes, genealogies, quarrels and squabbles about the law; they serve no purpose, and are worthless. If someone is causing divisions, give them a first warning, then a second, and then avoid them. You know that a person like that is twisted, sinful and self-condemned. Titus 3:8–11
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:3–16
Fill your eyes with Jesus and fill your arms with provision for those around you. Make peace, be merciful, love one another. Fear no evil, let yourself be defrauded in the cause of love (1 Corinthians 6:7), lay down your life. Seek the good of the city you’re in (Jeremiah 29:7), don’t just think about your own interests but look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Put aside divisiveness, course speech, anger — as James 1 says, “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
We proclaim a singular message: the life of the Age to Come, the fullness of God’s original design, has broken into the here-and-now. Whatever your need, Jesus has made the way to step into new creation today. Through ministering physical healing, emotional healing, deliverance from demons, by embodying the fruit of the Spirit and operating in the gifts of the Spirit, we declare the good news of our King and his Kingdom.
Believe the best about others. Assume the best. Be hopeful about yourself, about other people, about the USA and the rest of the world. Never give up. Be patient with people. Be kind. Be great-hearted (1 Corinthians 13). Pray earnestly for your leaders. In sum, remember who you are, remember who God is, step out among the hurting, and be salt and light.