Theologians refer to the Church on earth as the Church Militant, and believers who have gone to heaven as the Church Triumphant. Too many American Christians are neither militant nor triumphant. I can only think to call them either the Church Impotent or the Church Complacent.
Why do we lack power with God and man? Is it that we, like the hypocrites of Christ's day, have replaced obedience to God with our church programs and religious observances--or worse yet, have we replaced obedience with worldly pursuits?
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Matthew 23:23
Jesus did not criticize their carefulness to observe the smallest religious details (paying tithes of even their spices), but He condemned their gross neglect of what is truly important--justice, mercy, and faith.Justice.
When was the last time you heard a sermon on seeking justice? I spoke with a pastor a few months ago about the response of Christians to abortion, and I said that we need to fight evil. He said it isn't the job of the Church to fight evil. Perhaps he was making a distinction between the church as a corporate body and individual Christians. But Jesus said we need to do justice. God hates the shedding of innocent blood, and so should His people. Father, deliver us from our silence about injustice.Mercy.
We think of mercy as the opposite of justice. Biblical mercy is not. When the Bible speaks of mercy, we could usually substitute the word compassion
. A good example is found after the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) where Jesus asks the lawyer which of the three passersby was a neighbor to the injured man. The lawyer correctly responded, "He that showed mercy." So when Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," He wasn't telling us to feel bad when criminals are justly punished. He wants us to demonstrate compassion toward those in need. The criteria for judgment of the "sheep" and the "goats" in Matthew 25:31-46
is primarily about how we have demonstrated mercy to the "least of these."Faith.
How much do we really believe God? Do we believe that all authority in heaven and earth belongs to Jesus, or not? Do we believe that He wants to give us good gifts? If we know God's will about evil (He hates it), why don't we pray that it would cease? We have not because we ask not, or we waste our time asking for nice things for ourselves, rather than for the triumph of God's kingdom. The promises on prayer in Scripture are astounding. Why don't we dare to test them? Because we lack the faith.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.
If we would be obedient to our Lord and have the power we need to advance His kingdom and bring glory to His name, let us pursue justice for the evildoers, show compassion to those in need, and pray to God for all things with confidence in Christ.
Applying justice to abortion, let us seek to end the legality of abortion, drive abortionists out of business, dissuade those who seek abortions (or pressure others into abortions), and make abortion unthinkable to our society.
Mercy compels us to show compassion to the babies whose lives are at risk, to the mothers who are contemplating abortion, and to the women who have been wounded by abortion. Let's not fail to show compassion to the abortionists either as we pray for their conversion and that they may turn from their killing and find God's forgiveness before they stand before Him in the judgment.
Finally, let us resolve to seek God in prayer. Let's pray for justice. Let's pray with compassion. But above all, let us pray with an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ.
--Wesley Wilson is the President of Let Her Live, a nonprofit dedicated to saving babies by showing the beauty and value of life to women considering abortion. Please learn more about the Let Her Live pro-life billboard campaign. Donations are tax deductible.
Labels: abortion, Christ's Kingdom, Church, faith, justice, mercy, prayer