Don’t Fret, Christian. This is All For You.

God is concerned with the salvation of His elect, for His glory.  That is His whole purpose and will.  I try to remind myself of that constantly, especially when I am feeling discouraged.

When I think of how few there are it seems sometimes that respond to the gospel, I remember that the right way to look at that is that God has infinite resources, and what a wonder that He is willing to lavish such tremendous resources on however many it is He chooses to save!  Just think, Christian, that though the world may not and does not know this, the whole of human history, all of politics, all the rage and thunder of war and strife, all has the purpose of bringing you to salvation and preparing you for the world He intends for you to inhabit in the future!  What a glorious truth.

God doesn’t need me to save people.  If He uses me to contribute to the salvation of a few, then that is a tremendous honor for me, and furthermore contributes to my own sanctification and holiness.  So He uses me, not for His benefit, but for mine.  So who am I to complain or be discouraged if He uses me to benefit many or few?  His will for me is perfect either way, and nothing will prevent Him from bringing home all His people.

So too, if America has decisively turned away from the gospel, that is no cause for us to despair unless we see God’s salvation in earthly terms.  Someone, no friend of Christianity, recently said that he suspects Christians mostly are upset at the recent Supreme Court ruling because of their loss of a dominant position in the culture.  And I think he’s partly right.  If instead we looked at it as just part of God’s sovereign plan to bring about the redemption of His elect, then we would recognize that even in this, we can have comfort.  It might not be fun for a while, but God’s will is nonetheless being done, and it’s all for His elect.  He doesn’t need America to accomplish His plans any more than He needs me.  He has used America to spread and foster the gospel in many ways in the past.  Now He may use America to bring persecution to His people, for the fires of persecution have always refined and purified His church.  When He is done with America, when America has served His purposes with regard to His elect, He will sweep America off the stage of history like a teacher wipes off her chalkboard.  The teacher has plenty of chalk.

This is all for you, Christian, and for me.  It’s all preparatory to what’s coming.  Keep your eyes on things above, not things on the earth.  Be active and busy in promoting good, in taking dominion, in preaching the gospel.  Not because God needs you, and not because you think your work on this earth will endure.  It won’t; it’s all going to be burned with fire, with all its works.  But it matters, because it’s all God’s plan to redeem His people and to prepare them for that glorious future in the new heavens and earth, our true home.

Profound Theology

Question: “Why did God make you and all things?”  Answer: “For His own glory.”

It struck me today, though not for the first time, that this is a truly profound and crucial theological statement.  It’s from our little Children’s Catechism, and kids have been learning this truth for centuries.  But I think if we really knew that truth, really knew it down in our bones, we would avoid a lot of errors.  There is more that needs to be known, for sure- it is not sufficient.  But it is necessary- without this piece of information, you’ll misunderstand and misconstrue everything.  That statement right there cures the Arminian error, I believe.  That’s just one example.

How many times in the Bible do you see God saying something like, “So that you will know that I am God” or “for My holy name’s sake” or something similar?  These are all statements about God’s self-revelation and how fundamental it is to the whole existence of the universe.  This is why everything exists.

Good theology is the reason we don’t have slavery anymore, and is the reason why you have cell phones and cars and democracy.  That’s not to say of course that the company that built your cell phone is Christian, but it is to say that we as a culture and civilization are still reaping from the long trail of benefits from the building of our civilization in northern and western Europe by people who were Christians.  They believed that God had made all people in His own image and that God made the universe orderly and understandable, and made man to understand it.  These ideas led to the scientific revolution, the concept of human rights and all the rest.  That’s not to say they were all perfectly worked out instantly.  Some might cite slavery in the US or Europe as a counterexample.  But the remarkable thing wasn’t that slavery existed.  Slavery has existed everywhere for all of history.  The remarkable thing, the thing that requires explaining, is the push to end slavery, which happened entirely in places with a long Christian heritage. 

Because they knew God.  And they knew that God had created the very universe to reveal Himself.  They wanted to know Him better, and they paid attention.

In a society rapidly rejecting Christianity and the civilization which sprang from it, I expect we’ll be finding out soon whether this thesis is correct, whether a liberal, free, scientific society can long exist without the theological framework which gave rise to that society.