Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7:3
God Calls His People to Repentance
God calls us, as his people, to repentance. Many, if not most, Christians today only think of repentance individualistically. Yet, throughout the bible repentance is almost always called corporately rather than individually. In the passage above, Samuel calls on the house of Israel to repent. If they repent then Samuel promises that God will save them from the Philistines. Presumably, Samuel at this point (and we assume many others) have already repented individually. Yet, this is not enough to save Israel. The salvation of God’s people requires the public repentance of God’s people. Why should we expect that the scattered private repentance of individuals of their personal sins should be the deciding factor in the salvation of a nation? The salvation of a nation requires the public repentance of a nation. Christians United! is calling for God’s people in our nation to repent both publicly and corporately of our sins.
Christians must Repent of their Divided Loyalty
Christians regularly repent of their personal sins, but often do not even acknowledge their great public sin: idolatry. Yahweh is a loving God who is ready and willing to forgive our many personal sins if we acknowledge Jesus as Lord. How can we expect God to forgive us if we do not acknowledge him as the one and only God? The one thing God has desired throughout the Old and New Testament is our undivided love and worship. In the passage above, repentance is understood as an end of divided loyalties and a return to a single undivided love and service toward God. Today is no different. How can we expect God to forgive our nation if Christians have divided loyalties? How can we even expect God to forgive our private sins if we are publicly serving another master? Christians today serve two masters: privately we acknowledge Christ as Lord but publicly we deny him. Jesus is not proclaimed king of our nation. Christians do not insist that Christ is lord of our public schools. Jesus is nether lord of our businesses nor even of our families. Christians do not serve Jesus in our public life but we serve a secular State and the “will of the people” that stands behind it.
Pharisees or Followers of Christ?
We have accepted the Enlightenment Compromise that religion should stay out of politics. The state claims to be neutral with respect to religion. What started out as a compromise to keep the peace between Christian denominations has become a tool to exclude Christianity from politics. Yet, the exclusion does not stop there. Jesus warned us that we cannot serve two masters. In the end, we will love one and despise the other. In the last 50 years, the exclusion of Christ out of politics has led to an all-out effort to excluded Christianity from the public realm. Christ has been excluded from schools, businesses and even in the life of our families. This is the great public sin that dwarfs any personal sin from which we regularly repent. Like the Pharisees who prided themselves on their private righteousness, we have focused on the wrong thing. We have told ourselves that God really desires our private piety and is unconcerned with our public loyalty! The Pharisees were privately very pious but they failed to publicly acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, their Christ, their King. They proclaimed that they have no other king but Caesar. Christians must today repent of their divided loyalty and acknowledge that Jesus is the one and only King. The alternative is to continue on the path of the Pharisees.
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