Like a lot of people, I was struck by a comment that bro. John Piper made during a video interview commenting on the then-upcoming election. He listed abortion as one of the complicating factors for him during the election, an issue we all know he cares passionately about and is defining in his voting choices.
But what struck me was the comment in response to the oft heard concern that if we don't end abortion in the U.S. then God will judge the country. Piper replied, "abortion is the judgment of God against the country."
Now, that changes everything, doesn't it?
Romans 1:18 reads, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and the wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...." In verses 24, 26, and 28, Paul states that "God gave them over" to the sinful desires of their hearts, to shameful lusts, and "to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." This wrath is being revealed against all godlessness and wickedness, and this wrath being revealed is the continuation in the wickedness and sin that suppresses the truth; it is God giving the unregenerate and unrepentant over to the very sins in which they delight (v. 32).
If the continuation of abortion in the U.S. and other places is God's righteous wrath being revealed from heaven, the question for me isn't which president or which judges are appointed. Not in the first place. Those things matter. But if I take seriously the truth that God's wrath is being revealed in the practice of abortion itself, the question becomes, "How do we turn back God's wrath?"
Presidential elections and the appointment of judges don't do that. Don't get me wrong. Those are necessary and important strategies in the fight. But they are secondary at best if what needs to be satisfied is the wrath of God.
If we take seriously the idea that God's wrath is being revealed in the continuance of abortion itself (and one might add, as Paul does: idolatry, homosexuality, envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice, people who are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful, disobedient to parents, the senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless), our primary strategy and activity and hopes must be expressed in a faithful ministry of intercession and gospel proclamation.
It seems to me that every time the nation Israel went off the rails, the holy men of old did two things: They prayed and they preached. They prayed and they preached.
Consider how often Moses interceded on behalf of the people when their sin rose up before the Lord (for example, Num. 11:1-2; 12; 14; 16; 21:4-9). Moses deserves to be known as "Moses the Intercessor," and we should make diligent study of his life of intercessory prayer. Or consider Ezra's prayer for the people because of their sinful intermarriage with pagan nations leading to unfaithfulness (Ezra 9). When the people faced God's hot displeasure and wrath, the godly gave themselves to intercession in recognition of the fact that only God can relent of His wrath, and only His satisfaction makes such relenting possible.
Which brings us to preaching. Of all the things we must do, preaching the gospel and sharing the gospel and writing about the gospel and praying the gospel on behalf of those perishing in God's wrath must be primary. The gospel is that message of how God himself satisfies His righteous demands and wrath by the atoning sacrifice of His Son for the sins of men. Christ Jesus propitiates the Father. He satisfies the Father's wrath. And the Father raised Christ from the dead as proof that His satisfaction was met and sacrifice accepted. Now those in Christ Jesus by repentance and faith "wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath" (1 Thes. 1:10).
Indeed, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation"(Rom. 5:9-11).
Never again ought a Christian act as though the appointment of a human official will stay the wrath and judgment of God. Never again ought we to act as though another mediator may turn away the Father's righteous anger toward sin. I don't say that we should abandon the work of appointing officials who will protect life. But have we not in some measure been acting as though some appointments could delay or stay God's wrath against ungodliness and wickedness?
I think we have. And, forgive me for presuming, but I think we need to repent.
And we need to begin the work of broken-hearted intercession and the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ who on Calvary's cross bore the wrath of God for all who will turn to Him in faith, fleeing the coming destruction and running to Christ our Refuge and Strength and Strong Tower and Ark of safety. We haven't nearly begun the Church-wide work of prayer and preaching that is needed to see the worldwide repentance and faith necessary to stay the coming and present wrath of God "against all the godlessness and the wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness."
I've read in a couple places Christians vowing to oppose Obama during his entire presidency. Forgive me, but I think that's misplaced energy. We need the bulk of our energy invested in beseeching the Lord of Glory to relent of His destruction upon the nation and to extend the work of His Spirit in the conversion of wicked men, including all those up to the president who have a hand in supporting this slaughter.
Our work is primarily prayer and preaching, intercession and gospel proclamation. Those alone will turn back the wrath of God. Let's get started.
An Anglican amongst serious Baptists (Lee Gatiss) - This week I've been enjoying the warm and friendly hospitality of THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. It's the biggest semin...
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