Devotion: Monday, November 4, 2019
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Bible reading is from Revelation 7:9–12 where the Apostle John recounts this vision of heaven:
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
A FOREVER FREEDOM THAT HOLDS, THAT LASTS!
One of the issues plaguing our country today is the pressure of tribal “identity politics” pulling apart the fragile unity of the American experiment of liberty. Identity politics emphasizes that which divides us, rather than that which unites us. Now you might be a person who thinks that such a political strategy is one whose time has come. I’m not one of those. Why? Because the power grab that comes with emphasizing our differences, the power grab that naively asserts that the coalescing of power in the hands of a few “sinful” people is no big deal, and the view that the government will care for people more than they can care for themselves are to me a recipe for the unraveling of our society, not the solidifying of it. If there is any genius in the American experiment, it is the fact that our Founders created a government that limited federal power in order to set individual, self-disciplined, religiously-motivated citizens free. Such an endeavor was rooted in these two fundamental principles of humanity: 1) the common dignity of all people rooted in their being created by God, and 2) the common depravity and brokenness of all people because of sin. The depravity of man caused them to fear power in the hands of the few because of our tendency to do not what is in the interest of others, but only what is in our interests, which are selfish more often than not. Yet their view of the dignity of all people also created a polity that has been more “freeing” to more people from virtually every corner of the globe than ever before. Well, almost.
Our text for today is talking about the only freedom that really lasts. The picture? The Apostle John proclaims a vision where every tribe and nation is gathered around the throne of God. They are truly unified by faith in the salvation that belongs to God and to the Lamb, Jesus (Revelation 7:10). Only God Himself can ultimately unify what we seem to divide and destroy so easily. Our devotional thought for today then is this: Whatever might happen to the American experiment, there is a greater freedom, a more enduring freedom, a more compelling freedom. It’s the freedom that comes from the person and work of Jesus Christ who overcame sin, death, and the devil on the cross of Calvary so that all might receive eternal life as a gift and eternal freedom as His pledge. It’s the only freedom that holds forever, and it lasts no matter what happens in this world.
America’s gift of temporal freedom is fragile and in constant need of the undergirding of faithful citizens in service to their families, neighbors, and communities. It is a freedom worth celebrating and even worth fighting for. But that earthly freedom needs to be properly seen as a servant of the only freedom that lasts. As we strive to be faithful to God in this culture today, never forget that even the cherished freedoms we have in this country are meant to be put to use so that we might publicly, freely proclaim the eternal salvation that comes from Christ alone. What a privilege is ours today, the privilege of sharing the blessings of the founding of a country that took human dignity seriously for the sake of freedom. But even more vital to our lives now and forever is sharing the message that took our fallen human nature so seriously that God sent Jesus, the Lamb, to be sacrificed for us and for our salvation. We freely proclaim God’s solution on the cross in order that others might also be saved, now and forever!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us all wisdom and courage to put our earthly freedoms to work for the sharing of Your eternal salvation as a gift that only comes by grace through faith. Give us all thankful hearts for the blessings of both! AMEN