If the outcome of the election for President of the United States of America had been different, it would not have changed the number of those belonging to the “better country” of which we believers are citizens. There are neither more nor less now than there would have been had a different candidate won. As far as affecting things eternal, the election is a very small sidebar on the record of the important history of the world.
Consider that nothing in the election has indicated that the American people as a whole are more God-fearing than they were last week. In fact, the bitterness and invectives expressed on social media indicate that divisiveness and incivility are very much a part of our national landscape. As far as morality goes, the last days of the campaign had one candidate sponsor a very vulgar entertainer whose words were equal to what was once considered “swearing like a sailor.” The response from the national media was largely silence, because America is so accustomed to those kinds of lyrics that to most it seemed like entertainment as usual. After all, they listen to it all the time on their mobile devices or their automobile receivers.
That we had two candidates such as we did is an indictment on the ethical climate of our nation. Though some see the outcome as a great answer to prayer, the prayer for this nation that really counts is that people find forgiveness of their sins and change their citizenship from one that is earthly to one that has a divine origin. In other words, what people need is to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and respond by faith to its call.
But “how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14b). Of course we must do our duty in this country and “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Yet the most important thing is to “render unto God that which is God’s.” And the souls of men are God’s, for He has “bought us with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19). That price is the sacrificial blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, freely offered to pay the ransom for our sins, and “not ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). It is that message that our nation needs to hear. Sadly, it is that message that is largely ignored or distorted by hosts of pulpits around this great nation.
Within the last week I read a headline which indicated that in most Christians’ minds, sin is no big deal. Why should it be when preachers almost universally call all believers sinners? Why should it be when the “once saved always saved” doctrine has gained almost universal sway in American Christianity? Why should it be a big deal when we are reminded by preachers to expect to sin every day in word, thought, and deed? What is the big deal about sin? So professing Christians accept sin as normative and have no conviction when they break God’s laws, or violate the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbor. Many professing Christians accept immorality, change the definition of marriage, accept same-sex relationships, tell lies, break the Sabbath, use vulgar language, speak evil of others, and on the whole have no sense of the fear of God.
The primary reason we need the gospel is to save us from sin. Sin is the scourge of the nation. Worse, it is the scourge of the church. Until people realize that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4), they will not have an urgency to seek God earnestly for the forgiveness of their own sins. We have come to believe that we are all “good people.” If we are really good, then sin is not really that bad. So don’t stress over it.
It is time to preach the gospel, starting with why we need the gospel. Contrary to popular thinking, we are not good people. We are sinners in desperate need of a savior. As young men endeavoring to religiously please God, Whitfield and both Wesley brothers were greatly alarmed about their sins. Each individually and at separate times was in great agony for his soul. Not understanding the doctrine of justification by faith, they went to great lengths to obtain a sense of forgiveness, desperately trying by fasting and prayers and good works to somehow find assurance of pardon. Their workings were very reminiscent of Luther’s, who literally crawled on his knees up the steps of the cathedral trying to find peace. It is interesting that all three of those young men found hope in Luther’s writings about how to be right with God, not by man’s righteousness or works but by the grace freely bestowed by God.
It is time to preach the gospel so that we point not to man but to the Son of Man who came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). Christ is the mediator of the gospel. It is He who died to save us. It is He who is the Promised One spoken of by the prophets.
The gospel centers on the death of the Son of God. In all four written accounts in our New Testament which are titled Gospels, the details of the betrayal, mocking, crucifixion, suffering, and death of Christ are given in gripping detail. They are shocking. They contrast the depravity of man with the purity of the God-Man. They show us that sin is really a big deal. No sin is too insignificant that it was not laid on Jesus. Every lie, every lustful look, every evil-spoken word, every unkindness, every unclean thought or action, every angry outburst, every abusive act, are like laying the whip to the Son of God. Every sin is like driving the spike through His hand. Every evil is like nailing His feet to the cross.
It is time to preach the gospel because without it there is no hope. The Bible speaks of the hope of the resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3). Unless the resurrection of Christ is held out as the power of God (Phil. 3:10) men will languish in sin with no hope of deliverance. But “he was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
It is time to preach the gospel, because without preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, there is no hope for holiness. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12). But when the gospel is preached, we may receive that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” for it was purchased for us by the Holy Son and the promise is in effect for our whole sanctification for “faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it” (1 Thes. 5:24).
This past election may barely make an asterisk in the eternal history of the people of God. But preaching the gospel will produce results that will affect people who believe not only in time by changing them from darkness to light, but for eternity.
It is time to preach the gospel. Without it, our nation will only continue to sink into greater evil, our divisions will grow deeper, sin will dominate the landscape, and people will go quickly to a disastrous eternity without God.
Where shall we preach? Preach it in church. Preach it in your home. Preach it to your neighbors. Preach it to strangers. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15).
It is time to preach the gospel.